Plumbing fixtures are only human. Something is bound to go wrong, (usually on a weekend) that resists your knowledge of plumbing. A plumber is expensive and there's no way around that. But there are a variety of ways to get the best plumber for your job. Most consumers figure that they should hire a "reputable firm" with the lowest rate. Sounds reasonable, but it doesn't alway work out. Here's why The word "reputable" means different things to different people. Many people figure if they hear a company's name a lot, it must have a good rep. It ain't necessarily so, unfortunately. In the plumbing world many of the companies that promote most heavily have the worst track for quality work. Here's another thing to consider when researching hourly rates. How does the plumber count hours. Most plumbers spend a good part of their day on the road, driving between jobs. Somebody's got to pay them for this time. Guess who it will be? Choosing a plumber based on hourly rates can be a challenge. That's why you need to find out how consistently a plumber delivers customer satisfaction. How do you do that? Ask the plumber in question for references, names and numbers of customers (commercial or residential) for whom the plumber has done work. Or ask friends, neighbors or relatives who have had plumbing work done recommend a plumber.