Many customers have complained about being overcharged by their plumber after forking out thousands for a simple job such as commercial kitchen fitout. So how can we prevent spending too much next time we need our pipes unblocked?
The majority of plumbers are professional and charge their clients a fair amount, however the highly in-demand nature of the industry has allowed for some shifty people to prey on innocent clients. Here’s how to find a good catch:
Do your research
Word-of-mouth recommendations are arguably the best way to find top quality plumbers, but if you can’t get any, you’ll have to do some online research instead.
Of course, this assumes that you have the time to do so – an overflowing toilet is a pretty urgent situation that may require you to call the closest plumber around. The Institute of Plumbing has a reputable website which provides a directory of registered plumbers; this is a great way to find a plumber near you via postcode. Alternatively, you can look them up using the Yellow Pages.
Once you’ve located a plumber, you’ll want to assess them for quality. You can do this by:
- Asking them how long they have been working for and if you can visit their premises
- Asking them for references
- Asking them if you can see any examples of work they have performed
- Asking them if they have insurance for your property – and your neighbour’s property
- Asking them if they guarantee their work and back this up with insurance; and
- Finding out if they are an official trade body member (e.g. APHC); this requires them to adhere to a code of practice.
No matter how reassuring they are over the phone, it’s important to check that they are appropriately qualified. You can do this by visiting them in person, viewing their past work and checking with trade bodies.
Also make sure that you call several different plumbers to compare – and get different quotes.
How much should you pay?
There are no official guidelines around how much you should be charged by a plumber. This makes it essential to get a number of different quotes, so that you can get an average price; if one charges $2000 for a job and another charges $200, this is a clear sign that you need to do more research.
The APHC suggests avoiding plumbers that require you to pay a large amount of the fee upfront. While a deposit is okay, any more than 50% is too much. Make sure you agree to a price before they start work so you don’t get a rude shock at the end.
Get a written contract
Getting your plumber to give you a written contract before commencing work is an excellent way to establish the price and keep you safe legally if something goes wrong. This contract should include a full description of the work that will be done, the plumber’s agreed upon quote, start and end dates for the work, and information on any guarantees. You might also want to take notes of the work as it goes on.
How to make a complaint
If you have a bad experience and are dissatisfied with the outcome, the best place to start is with your plumber in question. Make a complaint in writing specifying the problem, your desired solution and a time frame, and in most cases they will be happy to help. If this doesn’t help, you can then go through their registered trade organisation’s complaints procedure. If they aren’t a member of any trade bodies you will have to take them to court.
If you’re doing your big day on a small budget, creating your own wedding cards is a great alternative to purchasing expensive cards through a designer.
Planning a marital ceremony can be stressful – it’s important that making your own cards is straightforward and hassle free. Thankfully, there are a number of digital resources that make the process incredibly easy – and also a lot of fun!
You don’t need to be a skilled designer to DIY your wedding invitations; tools like Canva and Adobe Spark allow you to create them with ease, erase your mistakes, try different options and share your designs with friends. Of course, you can make your cards as simple or as complex as you like – it all depends on what you’re after and how much time you have to spend on them.
Figure out your wording
The first step in the design process is to decide what information you’ll be including on your wedding invitations. Open up a Word document and figure out your wording, making sure to include details like request, time and date, names, location and RSVP details.
Sketch (or choose) a design
You’ll then need to decide what you want your design to look like. Online evite sites will generally provide you with a gallery of premade options, or you can start your own from scratch. Get inspired by other designs online and then draw a rough sketch on a piece of paper to get an idea of what you want. Make sure you establish what theme and colour scheme you’ll be using, too.
Select your shape and size
Evite sites offer a number of different shapes and sizes for printing your wedding invitations. You might be content with the traditional 5 x 7 inch rectangle or you might want to be a bit different and opt for a square one. Whatever you desire, you can have!
Choose your images
Choose images that pair well with your theme. If you’re having a romantic fairy-tale affair, flowers will look great. If you’re having a celestial marital ceremony, look for star and moon images. Ensure that you use images that you’re allowed to use – public domain unless you’ve paid for your images.
Select a typography style
Your choice of typefaces will have a huge impact on the overall look of your wedding invitations given the importance of text in this context. Bold or script typefaces generally work best for headings (such as the names of the couple getting hitched), whereas thin, regular and easy-to-read typefaces are ideal for secondary text. Other typography pairings include thick and thin, serif and sans-serif, and regular and italics.
Figure out printing
Working out how to print your wedding invitations properly is often the most stressful part of the process – it’s unfortunately all too easy for a print job to go wrong! First, establish what kind of paper you want to print on. Options include matte, parchment, marble, vellum, glassine, recycled and linen.
Next, decide what printing method you’d like to use – this can potentially be expensive as you may need to hire someone with the appropriate tools. Letterpress presses letter plates into the paper to create a lovely indented look. Engraving allows you to create raised letters on your wedding invitations but is quite costly. Digital or offset printing is the cheapest option, ideal for people who want to print at home.
If you’re printing your cards through a business (and not your home printer), make sure to do so far in advance of your marital ceremony to ensure they arrive on time and look the way you want them to.
Carbon8, your local print shop could very well be shortchanging clients all across the community.
This is an industry that has experienced a high level of innovation whilst remaining true to some key principles over the past three to four decades.
How do you know if they are failing their duty and what are the signs to look out for?
Time to discuss this very subject.
Ability to Manage Client Budget
There are a myriad of costs that are calculated within a single budget when dealing with your local print shop. From the ink and cartridge stocks to the type of paper, the finishing and protection casing to digital copies and more – there are production and labour costs that have to be factored into the bill. Outlets will be shortchanging their customers if they cannot provide tangible measures that meet the client’s budget. Some demands will be unobtainable, but each quote should provide pathways and alternatives to ensure that they are not spending exorbitant amounts of money.
Services That Protect Client’s Private Details
From risking sensitive printing materials that divulge key details about an upcoming project or credit card information that has been processed online or in-store, your local print shop will be shortchanging you if they have low security measures. There is always the risk of unknown third parties attempting to interfere with people’s finances or to leak documents to the press or the web. The best outlets will offer a variety of contingencies to ensure that these payments are processed through safe online or offline methods, spreading the risk and providing safeguards that close many opportunities for hackers to violate those details.
Upgrading and Downgrading Projects
A healthy dose of flexibility should be available when dealing with your local print shop. From providing larger or lower quantities to utilizing green materials that are environmentally friendly or shifting projects to online domains, these projects should venture beyond an initial transaction. Outlets in this industry now have the technology and innovative capabilities to cater to these needs, going above and beyond what was possible at the turn of the century.
Single Project Manager
The local print shop should be able to offer you and the rest of the clientele that personal touch courtesy of a single project manager. This is beneficial on a number of counts. Firstly it is an illustration that the outlet cares on a personal level about the services they are providing for members of the community. Then there is the improved level of communication, bypassing the need to hold onto an order ID number and shift between one representative to another without any sense of consistency. Large brands who continue to shift clients around according to whoever is available are shortchanging their customers.
Accessing print proofs and samples ahead of time is one of the best assets that a local print shop can offer their client. those outlets who complain about added labour or development costs would be better served just adding a small fee for the privilege, bypassing much of the logistical hassle that should be evident by a sample product. This will allow the client to gauge if there are any spelling or grammar errors, formatting problems or stylistic issues they want to bring up for the final result. Especially for clients that are crafting large quantities of brochures, posters or documents, it is always valuable to have a provider who issues a sample first.
If your local print shop falls short of these common standards, that will be an indication that they are shortchanging you. This is an industry that has experienced a great amount of innovation and change as societal demands and behaviours have shifted, but there are still some core requirements that have remained consistent. Check online for positive ratings and speak to individuals who have used their services before to get an accurate gauge over their credibility in the market.
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