Posted by Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
July 29, 2019
If you’re a plumbing business owner, we know you’ve got a lot on your plate, whether it’s wrangling your team members, doing payroll, or installing a new vinyl car wrap for advertising purposes. So don’t get in the way of your own success by relying on antiquated estimating practices for jobs!
Let’s say you’ve been called to a job site where a customer has been having plumbing issues—off you go to check out the issue. After you get a sense of the project scope, you can return to HQ and draft up your estimate for the job.
You’ll need to figure out basic expenses like the cost of parts, payment schedules, cleanup requirements, and permit fees—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg you’ll need to consider. If you’re overwhelmed by setting up a plumbing estimate worksheet, don’t worry! We’ve got your back.
Below, we’ll answer some common questions around creating a plumbing estimate worksheet and provide you with a professional plumbing estimate sample you can use for your own business.
When you’re putting together your own spreadsheet, it’s important to consult official resources like the 2019 National Plumbing and HVAC Estimator eBook. There are also tons of online resources you can use to build out your pricing sheets and estimates. You can even check out competitor rates to get the scoop on what “the other guys” are charging for similar services.
Your insurance and license information
Guarantee of work
Now, let’s dive into what those sections actually mean.
Your contact information should be in an obvious, clear place on your plumbing estimate worksheet so customers can easily contact you after they’ve approved the numbers and work outlines. Ideally, you should include your logo and contact information on the header of the estimate in addition to providing a business card. That way, customers can easily refer you to others if they’re pleased with your services.
A project summary is essentially a brief outline of the project. It could be fairly simple (like a sink installation, for example) but some jobs (such as setting up an all-new home plumbing system from scratch) could require a more comprehensive outline along with mechanical drawings.
An accurate estimate is crucial to customer happiness. The costs should include labor, permits, materials, and the schedule for the project. In addition, you’ll need to decide how you want to be paid. It’s not common for plumbers to ask for the full cost up front since you haven’t delivered the service yet. However, it is regular practice to charge partially upfront or based on certain milestones.
Make sure you discuss the options of what you’re installing in the home before making any decisions. Non-cosmetic plumbing materials will be needed to be decided on as well.
Provide your hourly rate in addition to how long you expect the project to take.
This is a cost dependent on the area of the job but in some cases, permits may be required for plumbing work. In the final estimate you supply to your customer, make sure you include any applicable permit costs.
Make sure that your clients know that your work is backed up by the proper education, experience, and certifications. Place your license and insurance information on your estimate so customers have peace of mind knowing they’re (actually) hiring a plumbing professional.
Your customers will appreciate a clear and honest estimate that shows a breakdown of the costs for a project. You should also discuss common and less-common scenarios that may come up during the course of the job. If customers are given comprehensive information, they will likely be better prepared to pay for other costs. Surprise expenses are no fun for anyone but communication is key and customers will appreciate you being upfront about how your plumbing cost estimate could change.
Here are a few costs you may want to iron out before you start tearing out old pipes or otherwise embark on a major repair that differs from the estimate you originally provided:
There is the possibility that a general contractor working on a job has a dumpster on-site you can utilize to dispose of old parts. If not, you could be held responsible for disposing of materials from your project.
You might be working on a property that was never taken care of properly and isn’t up to code. If this is the case, you might have to spend extra money correcting past mistakes from other plumbers or a DIY plumbing job gone wrong.
Did a pipe burst and cause flooding in another part of the home? Who pays for that damage, you or the homeowner?
You may want to consider adding a temporary protection exclusion to your worksheet that clearly defines what areas you’re responsible for.
Working in an older home? You might find older pipework that needs to be replaced with PVC. However, you’ll need to be authorized by the client to do so—make sure you provide an updated price list and labor costs to the client before making the repair.
Backflow prevention devices where needed — this is the homeowner’s responsibility but you should check with your local codes
The time needed to shut down, drain and refill piping
Removal or replacement of walls for plumbing installation purposes (this is usually absorbed by the general contractor for a large project)
This is just your agreement that your work will be completed as outlined in the estimate. You should also include a provision if there’s an issue with the services you provided.
The purpose of a thorough estimate is to protect both you and the customer. It serves as a basic outline for the job, the materials, labor, and other expectations associated with the project. It also provides you with an outline of what you’re not going to do so you can prepare customers for situations when they might pay for additional costs.
Again, it’s always good to discuss the estimate both verbally and documented in writing. Simply relying on a verbal estimate isn’t enough.
We’ve created a basic plumbing estimate worksheet you can use for your own business here. However, if you want an even simpler solution, you can also utilize the Housecall Pro app, the ultimate software to streamline your plumbing business.
With invoice and estimating software for plumbers on your side, you can do more for your business by spending fewer hours on manual paperwork. Instead, you can rely on an app that acts as your virtual company dashboard.
Housecall Pro’s software helps you get your projects done and dusted with intuitive, helpful features and functions that cover the entire timeline of a job.
Before a job starts, you can use the estimate feature to set your line items and send a quote out to customers for approval.
Simply input customer information, add line items, schedule the job timeline, and use relevant job tags for easy organization.
Get subtotal for services and materials
Add any applicable discounts
Get your final total
Create a custom job
Charge by the hour based on your hourly rate
Charge by job
For example: Install Garbage Disposal, Install New Toilet, Install Outdoor Spigot, Install Sink Faucet
After you complete these steps, you can send your customized estimate straight to the customer with the line items clearly laid out for them to see.
If the customer decides to use your company for their plumbing work, you can easily convert the estimate into an invoice. Enjoy the convenience of sending custom invoices right from the field to customers using just one click. You can also allow customers to pay online using Housecall Pro’s secure payment processing options with automated receipts for customer records.
Looking for even more ways to improve your plumbing business? You may want to consider CRM for plumbers to manage customer information and sales data. What’s CRM? It’s a tool to keep tabs on different job opportunities, open estimates, and repeat customers. It’s an excellent way to keep track of information and leads in one place so nothing falls through the cracks.
If you need a better way to manage your team members while they’re out in the field, you can use Housecall Pro’s service tech management software. This feature allows you to dispatch members based on job proximity, send notifications to both team members and customers among other helpful functions. Whatever you need for your plumbing business, Housecall Pro is the answer if you're ready to take your company to the next level.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.