At some point, every homeowner will likely need to hire a plumber, whether it’s to stop a leaking pipe or fix a washing machine that’s not getting water. But finding a trusted plumber can be difficult. Some customers may prefer hiring a local independent plumber, while others may appreciate the consistency and customer support availability from a larger company or franchise operation.
While the company’s start was manufacturing a unique tool to unclog sewer lines, Roto-Rooter has grown into one of the largest plumbing companies in the country, with over 500 locations in all 50 states. But is it worth hiring this nationwide company to handle a homeowner’s plumbing needs, and is Roto-Rooter even the best option among its competitors? This Roto-Rooter review will unpack everything there is to know about Roto-Rooter, delve into customer reviews, examine the competition, and determine whether hiring Roto-Rooter is worthwhile.
See more of the best plumbing services, best home repair services, and best septic tank cleaning services.
Our Verdict: Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup is a company well known in the plumbing industry and with good reason. Its long history in the business, paired with high standards of technician training and a commitment to customer satisfaction, make this company a solid choice for homeowners seeking plumbing services.
- Service area: 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and Canada
- Scheduling: Online or phone
- Availability: Standard and emergency
- Guarantee: Varies by location
- Customer support: Phone
- Convenient, easy-to-use online scheduling system
- Wide range of plumbing and water damage restoration services available
- Web-based educational information available for homeowners
- Emergency technicians arrive within 2 hours
- Services and guarantees may vary by location
Roto-Rooter Review: Claims
While customers can hire plumbers for various jobs around the home, there are some standard factors to review across the board. Roto-Rooter brands itself as the largest plumbing provider in the United States, but what does that claim actually entail—and does it equal quality service?
The Roto-Rooter company is an established name in the plumbing industry and claims to be the largest plumbing provider in the country. Roto-Rooter plumbing dates back to 1933. The Roto-Rooter tool was a sewer-cleaning machine made out of a washing machine motor, roller- skate wheels, a cable, and blades to cut tree roots out of sewer lines. For those who’ve ever wondered “How do plumbers clear blocked drains?” the Roto-Rooter tool was one of the most innovative ones. The name grew beyond the tool, and in 1935, Roto-Rooter expanded its plumbing services.
Since its inception, Roto-Rooter has grown to over 100 company-owned locations and 400 franchised locations serving over 90 percent of the United States. Roto-Rooter still operates a factory out of West Des Moines, Iowa, where the original Roto-Rooter plumbing and drain cleaning tool is manufactured, along with other sewer and drain cleaning cables and blades.
How It Works
When the DIY solution won’t patch that leak, or one of the best drain snakes can’t resolve that clogged pipe, it’s time to call a plumber. Customers can reach out to Roto-Rooter via an emergency phone number and receive service within 2 hours. Customers seeking less-urgent services, such as a washing machine repair, can schedule an appointment by calling their local branch or using the online scheduling platform.
Roto-Rooter technicians will deliver an estimate once they arrive at the customer’s home and assess the situation. These quotes are not guaranteed and may vary depending on the extent of the work. Most technicians charge hourly, but some jobs may be charged at a flat rate.
Roto-Rooter’s services cover almost any homeowner’s plumbing needs. They include:
- Drain cleaning
- Toilet repair
- Sewer line repair and excavation
- Faucet repair
- Sink repair
- Sump pump installation and repair
- Garbage disposal repair
- Shower repair
- Dishwasher installation
- Leak repair
- Washing machine repair
- Water heater installation and repair
- Water softener and filtration system installation
Roto-Rooter also offers water damage remediation services to clean up homes after significant leaks. Water damage remediation involves removing any water from the site, ventilating the area, and disinfecting to prevent the proliferation of any harmful bacteria. Roto-Rooter can also assist homeowners in mold remediation that may result from water damage.
While most standard plumbing services will be available at all locations, certain services may not be. For example, septic tank cleaning may be available at a location where most of the homes in the area have septic systems. However, if most homes are connected to a sewer system, the local Roto-Rooter branch may not offer septic tank cleaning.
Potential customers may wonder, “Are Roto-Rooter plumbers licensed?” Roto-Rooter prides itself on its technician training and emphasizes the importance of hiring licensed plumbers to do any work.
Roto-Rooter prices will vary by location and the type of work being done. The average hourly rate for a plumber is $45 to $200. Many jobs are charged hourly, but some work may have an up-front flat price. A Roto-Rooter sewer line cleaning cost will naturally be higher than the cost of swapping out a faucet on a bathroom sink.
One way Roto-Rooter benefits customers with affordable prices is through its coupon page. Promotions can include $100 off water heater repair or replacement and free water tests and consultations. Coupons may vary by location, so it’s best for customers to enter their ZIP code into the Roto-Rooter website to ensure the coupon offerings are up to date and accurate. Roto-Rooter financing may also be offered as a promotion, such as 6-month special financing.
Additional fees may apply for Roto-Rooter franchise locations. Roto-Rooter hours may vary, and some franchise locations charge after-hours fees. Customers may also incur travel fees and fees for estimates and will want to contact their local branch to inquire about these possibilities.
Generally, plumbers don’t expect tips, so customers won’t have to factor that into their budgets. But customers can consider tipping plumbers for exceptional work or very difficult jobs.
Scheduling and Getting a Quote
Roto-Rooter allows customers to make appointments online and by phone. Customers enter their ZIP code to find out if there’s a Roto-Rooter branch in the area. Then they can enter their name, email, and phone number before inputting their address, preferred service date and time, and what service they need performed. The appointment is then booked, and customers receive a call or email to confirm the appointment date and time.
If it’s necessary to reschedule or cancel the appointment, customers will need to call the local Roto-Rooter branch. Calling for an appointment by phone is relatively simple, as the website directs customers to their local branch’s direct phone number instead of routing them through a nationwide call center.
Customers may be wondering, “Does Roto-Rooter give free estimates?” Roto-Rooter does not offer quotes online or over the phone, and a Roto-Rooter technician will provide a quote at the time of the appointment. However, customers may be able to call a local branch and find out the technicians’ hourly rates to estimate a rough cost. Customers will also want to consider the additional cost of any materials necessary for repairs or installations. For example, suppose a customer has a new sink installed. In that case, the amount they pay to Roto-Rooter will be greater if the technician has to purchase the sink (as opposed to if the customer purchases the sink before the appointment).
Customer Service and Support
The easiest way to contact Roto-Rooter customer service is by phone. Each Roto-Rooter branch has its own phone number, so customers can call their local branch directly instead of a national Roto-Rooter phone number. There is also a general inquiry form on the website where customers can submit questions and comments and receive a response “in a timely manner.” Customers can contact the special emergency service number if they need a plumber for any urgent issues.
It doesn’t appear that there is a standard Roto-Rooter warranty or guarantee across all of its locations, as the majority of locations are franchises. Some individual branch websites feature their guarantees, such as a 3-month guarantee on all plumbing repairs and drain cleaning. It’s best for customers to reach out to their local Roto-Rooter branch or ask the technician about guarantee terms.
Homeowners looking to learn more about their home’s plumbing system can visit Roto-Rooter’s website. The site has a wealth of information regarding all aspects of home plumbing, from FAQs to tutorial videos. Homeowners asking, “How do I know if my main sewer line is clogged?” “How often should I clean my main sewer line?” and “Does my washing machine drain into the sewer line?” can turn to Roto-Rooter’s resources for answers to these questions and more. These resources can help customers feel more confident in handling their home’s plumbing while also providing a benchmark to know when it’s time to call in a professional.
Roto-Rooter Reviews by Customers
Roto-Rooter’s main Better Business Bureau profile has an average customer review of 1.22 out of 5 stars, but the company remains unrated. While this average rating is low, it’s difficult to verify the accuracy of this average, as many individual Roto-Rooter locations have A or A+ ratings and 5-star customer review averages. There have been over 600 complaints in the last 3 years, but Roto-Rooter maintains a 100 percent response rate. This signals a commitment to resolving customer issues and ensuring satisfaction.
With average customer reviews of 3.6 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs, and a majority of 4-star ratings, Roto-Rooter maintains a high response rate to complaints here as well. Many common Roto-Rooter reviews and complaints revolve around pricing discrepancies between the quote and actual cost. Some customers note that the prices were relatively high, while others remark on the fair pricing, especially for extensive jobs. Positive reviews also note polite and friendly technicians, timely job completion, and high-quality work.
All of the reviews featured on Roto-Rooter’s website are 5 out of 5 stars, which indicates some intentional promotion of positive reviews over any negative ones. It’s wise for customers to get as much information as possible before the job begins and to have all quotes written down before work begins. Luckily, Roto-Rooter’s customer support avenues are active and receptive, so it should be straightforward to resolve any issues (if they arise).
Before hiring Roto-Rooter, customers can check their local branch’s reviews and note any common complaints customers may have lodged. It’s also worth looking at if and how these complaints were resolved.
How Roto-Rooter Stacks Up to the Competition
Customers looking for plumbing services may come across Mr. Rooter and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in addition to Roto-Rooter. Roto-Rooter has a presence in more states than either company (Mr. Rooter is in 46 states and Washington, D.C., and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is in 25 states). All three companies offer scheduling online and by phone, and all can accommodate standard and emergency service calls. However, Roto-Rooter stands out by guaranteeing technician arrival within 2 hours for emergency calls; on the other hand, Mr. Rooter and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing don’t upcharge for service calls after hours or on weekends or holidays.
Should You Hire Roto-Rooter?
Finding a trusted local plumber to handle any repairs or installations can be tiresome. And when dealing with an emergency leak or frozen pipe, homeowners will want the issue resolved quickly and reliably. If they don’t already have a plumber on their contact list, there’s no time to sort through reviews to find the right technician for the job.
Roto-Rooter is a dependable choice for many customers looking to hire a plumbing company. With its easy scheduling, timely service, and trained technicians, there’s not much to discount about the company. It offers almost every plumbing service imaginable, although some more niche services may not be available in all locations.
Before hiring Roto-Rooter, customers can check their local branch’s reviews. As with any service a customer hires, it’s always a good idea to get any quotes in writing before work begins. Customers can maintain an open line of communication with technicians to avoid any unwelcome surprises when the final bill is presented.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that individual experiences with this company may vary.