How to Price Plumbing Jobs and Make a Profit

learning how to set a price for a job

Professional plumbers require education and training, skills, experience, and knowledge of code requirements, and more, in addition to various materials and time in order to complete their work, which is generally reflected in their prices. They can also run into plumbing issues that take longer to fix, which is also usually reflected in their price. Therefore, in order to avoid potential arguments with clients and to ensure you get properly paid for your work, it is important to know how to price plumbing jobs.

There are various factors that go into how to price plumbing jobs, which are as follows:

1. What Are the Industry Standards?

When determining how to price plumbing jobs, first research what experienced plumbers in your area charge for standard plumbing jobs. Afterward, use it as a base for considering your prices.

Many plumbers charge by the hour, however, you should inspect the job first to ensure you estimate the right price. Some experienced plumbers also charge a 1-2 hour minimum.

2. What Are Your Needs?

Before setting your prices, consider your needs. For instance, how much salary do you need to make and still remain in business?

When determining your hourly rate, you should also consider charging job supplies separately, since they are an added cost. Simply present clients with simple jobs with a quote for the estimated hours to complete the work. Afterward, provide a separate explanation for job supplies charges.

3. How Much Work Is Needed?

Prior to quoting a price for a job, examine the plumbing system as well as surrounding circumstances to see how difficult or easy it is to access the pipes. For instance, if the plumbing system has corroded fittings or the main shutoff valve is located in a hard to reach location, it could end up taking more time than usual to complete the job, which should be reflected in the price.

4. Is It a Large-Scale Job?

Large-scale plumbing jobs usually require lots of research. This includes studying blueprints for buildings to determine where the plumbing needs to be repaired or installed, which can be time-consuming, so factor this into your costs.

When studying the blueprints, observe the pipes, the routes, the fixtures, and the surrounding mechanical parts. It will give you a general idea of the time and equipment needed so that you can factor it into your charges.

Large-scale plumbing jobs often also require various subcontractors with unique permits. Be sure to contact them for estimates, and then factor it into your costs.

Once you have gathered a list of individual charges, add them up to determine an overall estimate for the entire job. Experienced plumbers also recommend adding an additional 3% to cover any fluctuations that may occur.

5. Does the Job Require Extra Materials?

Some jobs require additional materials, so be sure to tell your clients if extra materials are needed and why.

Once you have determined the added materials needed, do not include them in your hourly rate. Instead, charge them separately just as you would for job supplies.

6. Are There Added Expenses?

When working with abandoned and older properties, you may need to repair existing plumbing to ensure it meets current building codes. Be sure to inform clients, and then factor the required work and added expenses into your costs.

In older homes, rusted metal or galvanized pipes may need to be replaced with new pipes. This can require additional steps, including opening and replacing walls, ceilings, and floors, draining and refilling the water piping, and more, to complete the work. Therefore, it should be reflected in your charges.

Does your plumbing job require on-site removal of debris? If so, you’ll need to supply an on-site dumpster and haul away site matter. This requires extra time and materials, so factor this into your costs.

Lastly, emergency calls can be made at any hour, and different emergencies warrant different repairs, so be sure to take these factors into consideration when determining your emergency repair prices. Some plumbers charge twice the hourly fee for emergency services.

7. Calculating a Basic Quote

plumber shaking hands with client

Figure Your Hourly Wage

Begin with your ideal weekly take-home pay. For instance, say for a 40 hour work week, you would like to take home $900.

Since approximately 12 hours of the week will be spent on driving and other nonbillable activities, that leaves you with a 28 hour billable work week.

Now take your ideal weekly pay, and then divide it by 28 hours. This is the minimum you need to charge per hour to generate your ideal weekly pay. However, since you also need factor in taxes, insurance, and sick pay round that number up by $10-$12 or 3%-4%.

Factor in Your Overhead Expenses

Add up all the costs associated with running your business, such as the cost to keep your electricity on, the cost to keep your truck running, and marketing costs, which should be about another 30%. Now, add this 30% to your ideal hourly wage.

Calculate Your Final Billable Hourly Rate

Now, let’s say your ideal profit is 20% after all costs are paid, then add 20% to your already estimated hourly wage for your net billable hourly rate. It should be a competitive and fair rate for basic plumbing.

Determine Your Quote

To estimate a quote for a job, simply take the exact material costs plus taxes, any subcontractors and required permits, and added expenses and add them up. Next, multiply your hourly rate by the number of labor hours to get a total. Afterward, add this total to the previous total for a total estimation of costs.

Bottom Line

Overall, to be successful at pricing plumbing jobs, just be sure you are justified for your charges. In other words, be upfront about the time and materials required as well as make clients aware of possible complications, which helps establish trust. How to price plumbing jobs also means doing your job right, which also helps establish your reputation as a reliable plumber. If you have tried these tips, or you have experience with how to price plumbing jobs, please do share.

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