Get Quotes from Top Plumbers in Kansas City, MO
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in Kansas City
Per the Kansas City Water Department, it is estimated that the average residential bill for water services in Kansas City will be approximately $109 by 2022. Unfortunately, with household leaks wasting over 2,700 gallons of water monthly, homeowners may end up paying higher fees due to water wastage from plumbing leaks and other plumbing problems. Therefore, it is recommended that you fix plumbing issues in your home as quickly as possible. Not only does this help the city conserve water, it also helps you save about 10% on your water bills. While you can rely on neighbors, colleagues, and friends for recommendations on good plumbers near you, it is equally essential to find out if your intended plumber is the best pick for you. In this regard, finding answers to the following questions will be helpful:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in Kansas City?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in Kansas City?
- Do You Comply with the Kansas City Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the Kansas City Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in Kansas City?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in Kansas City?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in Kansas City
Before undertaking any plumbing project in Kansas City, plumbers are required to satisfy certain conditions, one of which is obtaining a contractor license. Accordingly, failure to obtain this license is illegal and may result in fines, an imprisonment term, or both a fine and imprisonment term for the unlicensed contractor. While the maximum fine is $500, plumbers must note that each day of unlicensed contracting constitutes a separate offense.
Plumbing licenses in Kansas City are classified into master plumber and journeyman plumber licenses and they issued by the City Planning and Development Department (CPDD). Individuals interested in obtaining a plumbing license are generally required to meet specific requirements, which include nominating a designated supervisor, obtaining the relevant insurance, and making any required cash deposit to the city's Finance Department. Interested individuals can proceed to contact the CPDD at (816) 513-1500 for inquiries on license-related requirements and clarifications. After satisfying necessary requirements, interested individuals can apply for a plumbing contractor license by submitting a license application, along with required documents and licensing fees, to the CPDD. License applications can be submitted online through the CompassKC portal or in person. For in-person submissions, interested individuals can contact the CPDD through the above-mentioned telephone number, request a license application form, and return the completed form. Interested individuals can also consult either the CPDD's online license application guide or its contractor license requirement guide for further information on license requirements and application processes for plumbing contractors.
Residents who desire to confirm their intended plumber's license can do so by utilizing the CPDD contractor search portal or by contacting the Department at (816) 513-1500.
The hourly charges of plumbers in Kansas City largely vary, as these charges are influenced by the nature of the plumbing work and the required materials and labor cost. Nevertheless, comparing estimates from multiple plumbers can help you determine the going rate for your plumbing project and avoid exorbitant charges or unreasonable rates.
A plumber in Kansas City earns an annual average wage of $67,660. Below is a breakdown of the mean hourly wages for plumbers in Kansas City compared with plumbers in other parts of Missouri and other major cities in the country:
Before any plumbing work in Kansas City can be deemed appropriate by city authorities, such plumbing work must conform with the city's Plumbing Code. Effective from June 2020, Kansas City adopted the 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code, with specific amendments, as its local plumbing code. This Code, along with the relevant amendments, regulates the installation, alteration, replacement, maintenance, erection, repair, relocation, and use of plumbing systems and fixtures within Kansas City. These plumbing systems and fixtures include water supply and distribution systems, sanitary drainage systems, vents, water heaters, healthcare and medical gas and vacuum systems, and gas systems.
Generally, the Code dictates standard requirements relevant to plumbing projects and aims to ensure the safety of city residents when using plumbing systems or fixtures and fittings. Any violation of this Code is unlawful, and violators can be fined as high as $500 per violation. Code violators who commit multiple violations may also serve imprisonment terms. For more inquiries on the Kansas City Plumbing Code, its requirements, penalties for violations, and other related matters, residents can contact the Kansas CPDD at (816) 513-1500.
No plumbing work can be performed in Kansas City without a plumbing permit. However, there are a few exempt plumbing works, and they include repairs involving the working parts of a faucet or valve and clearance of stoppages. All other plumbing works require a permit, and permits are issued by the Kansas CPDD.
Generally, only licensed plumbing contractors are eligible to apply for a plumbing permit. However, if the plumbing work will be performed on a single-family dwelling, the relevant homeowner may be eligible to apply for a permit. Permit applications can be made either online through the CompassKC portal or in person. Applicants who prefer to apply online should note that they must first register a user account on this portal or log in to an already registered account before they can submit their permit application. In-person applications are made by obtaining a permit application form at the CPDD's Office and returning the completed form, along with the relevant fees. This office is located at:Kansas City City Hall
414 East 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Applicants should note that they may be required to submit a project description or a building plan together with any permit applications. While a project description suffices for plumbing works on single-family dwellings, two-family dwellings, and minor installations in commercial buildings, most other plumbing works require the submission of building plans. Also, once a permit has been issued, permit applicants must schedule inspections with the CPDD at stipulated stages of the project. Inspections are typically conducted to determine if a plumbing work conforms to the standards of the city's Plumbing Code. Permit applicants can schedule an inspection online through the CompassKC portal, by email, or by calling (816) 513-1500.
You can visit the CPDD Plumbing Permit webpage or contact this Department at (816) 513-1500 for more information and assistance with obtaining a plumbing permit and the city's permitting processes.
Plumbers in Kansas City typically offer a variety of services, ranging from plumbing installations, erections, and additions, to plumbing repairs, replacement, and maintenance. However, some plumbers specialize in offering specific plumbing services, and it is usually ideal to hire such plumbers if their areas of specialization are related to your planned plumbing project. For example, when planning a gas repiping project, it is best to engage a gas repiping plumber rather than a plumber that specializes in installing or repairing fire sprinklers.
Note that a plumber's area of specialization and the nature of your plumbing project largely influence this plumber's charge rate. Nevertheless, here are some common plumbing services in Kansas City and their cost estimates:
Approximately 10,000 gallons of water are wasted yearly in the average household due to seemingly minor household leaks. Similarly, it is estimated that a faulty irrigation system can waste over 6,000 gallons of water monthly in a single home. Bearing this in mind, you should always attend to any faults or defects in your home's plumbing system immediately, as these can lead to significant water wastage, which may unnecessarily increase your monthly water and sewage bills.
Although every fault or defect in your home plumbing system should be fixed as soon as noticed, certain plumbing faults may need even more urgency. Examples include clogged toilets, burst pipes, constantly running irrigation systems, and gas leaks. These plumbing faults can result in potentially dangerous scenarios if left unattended, such as home flooding, explosions, or water contamination. In any case, make sure you engage the services of a skilled and licensed plumber when seeking an emergency plumbing service. You can explore reputable consumer websites like Better Business Bureau and Yelp to find good plumbers near you. Particularly, these websites have search options you can use to find plumbers by location and review pages where you can look through reviews from a plumber's previous clients and assess their professionalism. To ensure your intended plumber is licensed, you can check their licensing status via the CPDD contractor search portal.
According to figures published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 6,000 work-related injuries were recorded among plumbing contractors across the country in 2020. Considering the hazards associated with plumbing works, it is also essential to hire insured plumbers, so you are protected from personal liability for any expenses resulting from a work-related injury during your plumbing project.
Specific categories of contractors in Kansas City are mandated to maintain general liability insurance before operating within the city or renewing their licenses, and this includes plumbing contractors. The minimum aggregate limit for this insurance per occurrence is $1 million, and contractors are further mandated to insure the City of Kansas separately. Accordingly, you should always confirm that the plumber you intend to hire has active general liability insurance, as plumbers with no insurance are likely uninsured or have an expired license. To find out if your plumber is duly insured, you can request that they provide their certificate of insurance and then contact the issuing company. Alternatively, you can contact the CPDD at (816) 513-1500.
Contractor scams are not uncommon in Kansas City, as unscrupulous individuals constantly prey on unsuspecting homeowners by offering to perform home improvement services and then either performing a poor job or absconding with the paid deposit. For example, in May 2021, a home improvement contractor was indicted for defrauding several homeowners in the Jackson and Clay Counties areas. In one of these fraud cases, the contractor promised to perform renovations on a homeowner's residence but requested a huge deposit, made shabby and unnecessary demolitions, and never completed the job. Adding the deposit paid and the cost for fixing the shabby demolitions, this homeowner reportedly lost over $160,000. Similarly, in July 2021, a Kansas City contractor was ordered to pay over $26,000 in restitution after collecting money from several homeowners without performing any work. Also, in August 2021, a Clay County contractor was held on a $700,000 bond after being indicted for a string of fraudulent home improvement schemes across the county.
Considering the spate of contractor and home improvement fraud in and around the Kansas City area, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to safeguard yourself when planning your plumbing project. Some recommended steps include:
- Perform some background checks. Confirm if your intended plumber has been indicted, accused, or convicted of a contractor scam recently. You can do this by contacting the CPDD at (816) 513-1500 or the Missouri Attorney General's (AG) Kansas City Office at (816) 889-5000.
- Be wary of unsolicited bids or contractors. It is better to seek a plumbing contractor for your plumbing needs yourself, as unsolicited contractors usually claim to have a short-term offer or use pressure tactics to make you accept their services.
- Compare estimates from multiple contractors. This way, you can determine the reasonable charge for your plumbing project and avoid excessive rates.
- Verify your plumber's licensing status. You can utilize the CPDD contractor search portal to do this, or contact the Department at (816) 889-5000.
- Have a written contract. Ensure the project details, such as the project description and the project's total cost, are contained in this contract. However, before signing this contract, ensure you understand all the terms and conditions written in it. You can also engage the services of an attorney for legal assistance and contract review.
- Do not make huge advance payments. If your contractor requests a deposit to begin work, pay a small part of the full payment. Anywhere between 10% - 20% of the full payment is recommended. Also, your contractor must justify the requested amount by providing a breakdown of why the requested deposit is necessary. Similarly, do not make full payment for the project until the contractor has satisfactorily completed the job.
- Avoid making cash payments. Rather, making payments by check, credit card, or money order is advisable, as these payment methods typically generate receipts that serve as valid proof of payment in the event of any misunderstandings.
If you believe that you are the victim of a contractor scam, you can file a consumer complaint with the Missouri AG Office. For assistance with filing this complaint or further information, you can contact the Kansas City branch of this Office at (816) 889-5000.
Note that while the AG Office will investigate your complaint, such investigations are primarily in the public's interest, and you may not be compensated for the fraudulent actions you experienced. If you want compensation, you can file a small claims case against the relevant contractor at the Jackson County 16th Circuit Court. Note that small claims cases filed with this court are for disputes that involve a total of $5,000 or less. For assistance on the legal implications of filing a small claims case and an assessment of your claim, it is ideal you contact a qualified attorney before filing your case.