"There may be cheaper plumbers out there but there are no better ones. I'd spend the extra money if you have it, or can sell something quick on Craigslist to raise funding, and hire a competent professional. There's something to be said for peace of mind."
I am giving Tony LaMartina Plumbing Company 5 stars despite having suffered from "sticker shock" when presented with the bill.
Let's take the cost out of the equation and review the facts.
I am just shy of 70 years old - that's 490 dog years. In other words, I have achieved "old codger" status. (to prove it, I can remember when White Castles were 5 cents a piece).
I am fairly handy around the house. In fact, part of the reason my wife married me is that "I'm good with my hands." (Oh no, you didn't just go there!). I figured I would install the new faucet myself, as I had done several times in the past in other houses.
After shutting off the water I successfully removed the old water supply lines. Then I removed the drain stopper closer parts but ran into a snag. Because of the narrow space under this old porcelain sink, I couldn't get any of my wrenches or channel locks around the lock nuts that secured the old faucet.
At that point, I left the house to purchase a plumbers basin wrench and two new flexible water supply lines. I was able to get the new wrench around the nuts but unable to loosen them. One of them had rust around it so I sprayed some WD-40 on it since I didn't have any "Lock-Ease." I gave it a few minutes and tried again. No success.
It was at that point that I hopped on Yelp. After a careful review of the reviews, I called Tony LaMartina. That's such a lyrical name, Tony LaMartina. It kind of reminds me of Al Pacino's character in the movie Scarface - Tony Mantanya. "Say hello to my little wrench."
I was surprised that they had a plumber that could come the same day. I asked, "Do you offer senior discounts?" Alas, they do not, but as my dead Momma used to say, "It doesn't hurt to ask."
I made the appointment and as the nice young lady on the phone informed me, I was texted when Yves was on his way. I also received an email with a brief biography of Yves and his photo. Nice touch. That greatly reduced the odds of a serial killer coming to my house.
Yves arrived about 20 minutes later and when he backed up his large truck onto my driveway two words entered my mind: Cha and Ching!
But I also figured he was sure to have any tool or part needed to finish the job.
I was struck by Yves's professionalism from the moment he entered my home and slipped on two pink "booties" over his shoes, to avoid soiling my carpet or hardwood floors. Any amateur would have used another color, but as you all know, pink is a calming color. Okay, I'm being a little silly with that one.
I led Yves to the basement and explained how I had attempted to do the job myself, and how far I got. I even showed him the wrench I bought.
Yves is originally from Haiti and to make him feel comfortable I put on some Bob Marley and offered him some Ganga mahn, to enjoy while he worked. That part is blatantly untrue. But we did chat briefly about Haiti because years ago I visited Labadee, Haiti.
But I digress.
Yves told me I had purchased the right tool, in fact, he used it to remove the lock nuts that were too tight for a wimpy old senior guy to loosen. Then he proceeded to complete the removal of the old faucet and installed the new faucet and attach the new flexible water lines.
When Yves tested the new faucet only a trickle of water came out. He initially told me that there was probably debris that got loosened in the installation process (my words, not his). However, after he removed the aerator he spent a few minutes extracting two small plastic parts, which I presume were part of the faucet water conservation mechanism. "We don't need no stinken water conservation!" I said to myself. Actually, it's just the two of us, and while I did install water saving shower heads in our two bathrooms, for a basement sink that we don't use that often I didn't think water conservation down there was an issue.
When Yves put the aerator back on without the two plastic parts the water flowed like you would expect, with decent pressure.
It took a little under one hour and when he was done in response to my query, "What's the damage?" he computed the charges on a tablet, then emailed a copy to me.
When he said, "$162," my life flashed before me. My wife was going to kill me. $162 for a basement sink that we only use once in a while? Oy yoy yoy! I could only imagine what the bill would have been if I hadn't done much of the preliminary work and decided to keep the old metal drain, rather than install the plastic one that came with the new faucet.
That being said, you get what you pay for and I got a professional job, and since I wouldn't have known about the water conservation aspect, really needed a pro to finish what I started.
There may be cheaper plumbers out there but there are no better ones. I'd spend the extra money if you have it, or can sell something quick on Craigslist to raise funding, and hire a competent professional. There's something to be said for peace of mind.