Yard Leakin’, Part 4: Yard Dig Day

This is the fourth post in a series about our front-yard water line emergency that occupied much of the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Our plumber returned today with digging and trenching tools.  The yard dig is on!

Here’s what digging for a new water line looks like:


I’m quite satisfied with my choice of plumber –  Top Gun Plumbing located in Bothell, WA is great. I hope people in the Puget Sound area trying to find a good plumber find this post and give them a call.

Here’s why I chose Top Gun:

  • Quick response times over the phone – even if I had to wait for a call back, I never waited more than a few minute.  Also, I was able to get an in person estimate at 9am the next day after calling the previous afternoon
  • The over-phone-estimate was accurate
  • They are minimizing the mess that is inevitable when digging trenches in the yard by using tarps and boards to protect unaffected parts of the lawn
  • They came in $4200 under my highest bidder for the job (YOW!)
  • They got a permit for the work and the job will be inspected when complete – of the three plumbers I contacted, they were the only team to mention permits
  • They had the utilities marked – again, the only plumber to mention utility markings
  • The usual goodies: licenses, bonds, insurances, all the stuff to show they’re pros and not just some random guys with a painted truck
  • Top Gun is one of my favorite movie soundtracks OF ALL TIME (yeah, I grew up in the 80s… :)  )

When choosing a contractor for a big job, always consider the whole package:

  • Are they timely with responses?
  • Are they on time to the job site?
  • Do numbers they quote seem reasonable?
  • Can you actually read what they write on your estimate?  You don’t want ambiguities here.
  • Do they explain stuff?  Ask 1st grader questions – if you’re shelling out thousands of dollars, you get to ask 1st grader questions.
  • If your project requires digging, do they seem eager to “play by the rules” with permits and utility marks?  Waiting on a permit and utility marks did not add wait time to the job, and Top Gun coordinated everything. All I had to do was pay – perfect.

If you’re not sure what’s a reasonable cost, get more estimates and search for your job on Google.  Doing this saved me $4200, do not skip this step!

It takes time to get multiple estimates and explain your problem repeatedly, and I am just as guilty of skipping the “get multiple estimates” step, but on these bigger jobs the grind pays off:  you will get a wide range of professionalism and costs, even among pros with high marks on Yelp and Angie’s List.

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