Sewer contractors provide a variety of services including sewer line inspection, sewer connections, sewer line repairs, sewer pipe cleaning and sewer drain cleaning. They work in tandem with pipeline contractors in several construction sectors including residential, institutional, commercial, industrial, and public works.
If you have a clogged sewer and or basement flood, contact your public works department to find out if the blocked sewer originates from the municipal sewer system or from the home.
The city will typically inspect, sometimes with a sewer inspection camera, and report on the blockage to determine if they or the resident have to repair whatever is blocking the sewer line.
10 Tips for Hiring a Sewer Contractor
1If time permits try to get more than one estimate that includes a full and detailed description of the scope of work including the services, labor, materials and equipment to be provided by the contractor to complete the job. Contractor’s estimates vary for many reasons; just make sure you are comparing the exact scope of work against each other. It should state when the contractor will start and finish the job.
2Ask the sewer contractors for references and if they have worked in your area and are aware of the codes and permits acquired for your municipality or state. Go see completed jobs, talk to a former customer but be aware that their standards may be different than yours. Check on the business by visiting the Better Business Bureau online. Google the company name to check if there are any negative reviews.
3Request proof of license, bonding, liability insurance policy, workers compensation policy and keep copies. Make sure the contracting company name appears on all the documents and no other company name appears. It is illegal in certain municipalities for contractors to do sewer connections unless they are registered.
4Do not sign a contract that waives your right to change your mind. Under emergency situations you may be paying a premium.
5Request a long-term guarantee on the sewer or water main work in writing.
6Ask the contractor who is responsible for necessary municipal permits for the job - is it the sewer contractor’s or the property owner’s responsibility. Be aware of the costs of the permits and make sure they are included in the overall estimate. Beware - if you put your name on the permits, as opposed to the sewer contractor’s, you will be liable for damages that occur.
7After hours or emergency cost proposals are always higher than regular hours. In most cases you can schedule work during regular hours and you can save a lot of money. Request a quote with regular hour costs.
8Try postponing repairs to save on paying premium prices, your blocked sewer will likely not get any worse in the meantime, especially if you have roots in the sewer line
9If you’re comparing against a neighbor’s installation you may need to factor in the following:
- Is the bid for estimated or actual costs?
- How will the connection be made? Open trench, bored or combination of both?
- Make sure the bid is for connecting “all necessary building drains”.
- Check to see if the sewer contractor has included “all necessary permits” in the bid.
- Does the bid include vacuum truck service pumping and septic tank abandonment?
- Does the bid include all necessary pipe fittings and sewer clean out?
- Is the “stub” deep enough to make all necessary connections via gravity? if not, does the bid include all related costs for installation and connection via a pump?
- Is the sewer contractor responsible for replacing and or repairing any sprinkler systems damaged during the course of the job?
- How, when, and to what extent will the contractor restore all areas that required trenching and excavation or that have been damaged during the course of the job? Will he use a trenching machine that does trenchless sewer repair?
- Does the contractor require a down payment or deposit? Is it nonrefundable?
- The location of your septic system, cesspool, private sewer lines and your building's plumbing.
- Whether your building has a basement, concrete slab or crawlspace.
- Location of concrete, landscaping, other utilities etc.
- The depth of your connection or depth of branch at your property line.
- How close your building is to the front and side property line.
- Can you break your contract for any reason?
10Check for a local financial assistance program to pay for your sewer connection repair and if available you must submit your bids for approval by the program, prior to hiring sewer contractors.
Always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sewer contractors are mostly hard-working and honest people, so just do your homework.