So you are sitting there, mindlessly yet happily wasting away the evening watching The Office on Netflix for the third time this week, when you are unexpectedly awoken from your trance. It’s not the good kind of being woken up – like the pizza delivery person ringing the doorbell, or your secret crush bringing you flowers to confess their undying love and eternal devotion to you – no…it’s probably the opposite of that. It’s your roommate calling you. Yes, the slovenly, inconsiderate housemate has been screaming your name for the better part of ten minutes, but you only just heard them. Hey, we get it; The Office is engaging to a fault. However, your mind is far from the plot of the show, because you hear a hint of desperation in your roommate Lucy’s voice. Usually, she can barely bother to open her mouth a sufficient amount to enunciate her spoken words, so conversing with her takes some attentiveness. This time, it’s clear she’s got some sort of serious problem on her hands. So you go in there to see what on earth could vex this woman who doesn’t care about dirty dishes being left in the sink for weeks (you left them there as a test, and it was 23 days before you broke down and cleaned them — it became a health issue). To get to the point, Lucy has clogged the toilet. At first, you smile — partially because you thought the issue might have been more serious, and partially because you can make Lucy look like an idiot for not knowing how to unclog a toilet. You were raised right; Lucy used an outhouse from ages two to twenty-three…apparently. When The Plunger Just Won’t Cut It You know what you are doing; you warm up your plunger by running some hot water underneath it first. Lucy screams “gross!” because she thought you do it over the laundry room sink. You tell her it’s a brand new plunger to calm her down. It’s not. But you don’t have time, and you’ll disinfect the laundry room sink after you take care of the more pressing issue. You get the solid seal over the exit hole, you give it the old up-and-down stroke, and you even add hot water and dishwasher detergent to the bowl, because the first attempt at unclogging it wasn’t successful. A wry gleam comes Lucy’s black eyes. It matches the color of her heart, so it suits her. But she says something snarky about how the problem really was serious and about how you aren’t as smart as you thought. Lucy. Foiled again. Unfortunately, you’ve exhausted the extent of your plumbing knowledge. Hey, it’s not your fault. You’re a renaissance woman, with other interests besides toilets. What do you do? Do you get your trusty smartphone out and type something like “Gwinnett plumbers near me,” and call the first listing that shows up? Maybe. You could get lucky. After all, it’s just a toilet clog in all likelihood. The fix should be cheap, to your knowledge. But how can you be sure? Are all plumbers trustworthy? Can you trust someone’s claims from their website? Can you trust two online reviews from four years ago? It’s a safe bet that Lucy will shirk her part of the payment, and you can’t afford to be paying hundreds of dollars for a brand new toilet, or whatever the damage turns out to cost. Luckily, you’ve made your way to this eerily-accurate blog that perfectly describes the last 20 minutes of your life. Read on to learn how to choose a good plumber. How To Choose A Good Local Plumber Look, some of these tips you might say “duh” about, while others might appeal to you in unforeseen ways. Either way, when disaster strikes in your home, the knee-jerk reaction can be to find that first “plumber near me,” and give them a call with little to no research. Whether you need a hot water installation or your pipes unclogged, here are a few tips to help guide you in your journey. You Know People — Ask Them! Use your network of family and friends. Unless you are like Lucy and only know mouth-breathers and semi-slugs from the underworld, there’s a safe bet that you know someone who has recently worked with a reliable, local plumber. Word-of-mouth marketing works because if you get led astray by a recommendation, you can go straight to that person who was wrong and shave their head. Those are the rules, and rules are rules. If you are new to the area and the only human whose name you know within a 100-mile radius is your abominable roommate, go across the street and ask your neighbor. No big deal. Check Them Out Online It’s not a great sign if plumbers are without a solid online reputation. It’s not the end of the world by any means, because many a reliable plumber has been so busy providing reliable plumbing services that they haven’t had time to use the internet since American Online stopped being a thing. However, it IS a good sign if a plumber has a solid reputation on platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, Angie’s List, or the Better Business Bureau. We won’t belabor the point since it’s not a complicated one, but do your due-diligence in addition to using your word-of-mouth network. Other Essential Features You want a plumber that is licensed, insured, experienced, and has references. Some plumbers don’t have that information readily available, which is understandable because most plumbers already have all of the aforementioned qualities taken care of. So just ask them when you give them a call. There’s a strong chance they will say yes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when selecting a never-used plumber nearby. Finally, you want a plumber who has experience in the project you have in mind. If it’s something like a broken toilet, such a job is so fundamental to any plumber that expertise becomes less of a factor. If you are getting a tankless water heating system installed in your house, however, get confirmation that your plumber has performed that task on multiple occasions to prove their viability. It might feel slightly awkward, like you are “grilling” a stranger, but hey, welcome to home ownership. Protect your investment and don’t get burned. Choose Keep Smiling Plumbing Luckily, you live in Gwinnett County, so Keep Smiling Plumbing Repair Service popped up on the search engine results page. We encompass all of the previously listed qualities — surprise, surprise! And while we are biased, as we are plumbers ourselves, we want folks in and around Gwinnett County to understand our level of professionalism and friendliness. Clogged toilets are no fun. Evil roommates — who appear more pleased with your lack-of-knowledge than displeased with the standing water on the ground — are even worse. We can help with one of those things. Call Keep Smiling Plumbing today!