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The Importance of Plumbing Estimating

Whether for commercial or residential work, accurate plumbing estimates are crucial to the success of any job. It enables business owners to assess the financial viability of a job and also sets realistic expectations for clients or customers about the scope of work and costs involved.

A good estimate requires careful consideration and research. It’s helpful to use a plumbing estimation template for guidance when creating your own estimate.

Scope of Work

A plumbing scope of work is a document that lists the various tasks involved in completing a plumbing job. It includes a description of the work to be performed, a list of materials needed, and the estimated cost for labor and other expenses. This document also outlines the terms of the project and should be signed by both parties. It is an important tool for plumbers to use when estimating and performing jobs.

In addition to providing a record of the work that needs to be done, a plumbing scope of work can help minimize disputes between clients and plumbers. It can also be used as a reference for future jobs and maintenance visits. In the case of commercial plumbing projects, the scope of work is typically written by a project manager or engineer who is familiar with the building’s plumbing system. The scope of work is then reviewed by the building owner or general contractor.

The length of a plumbing scope of work can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. For smaller jobs, such as repairing a leaky faucet or unclogging a drain, the scope of work can be very short. However, for larger projects, such as installing a new water heater or adding a bathroom to a home, the scope of work may be much longer.

Plumbing business owners who don’t use estimating software often struggle with creating and sharing accurate job estimates. When field technicians have to call or text office staff for information, it can be easy to misunderstand what the customer wants or to overlook necessary details. When this happens, inaccurate bids are likely to be priced in—whether they are too high or too low—which leads to losses for the business.


When estimating plumbing projects, you need to account for the cost of all materials used. This includes pipes, fittings, fixtures, and more. Prices can vary greatly from one supplier to the next, so it’s important to be sure you are using an accurate pricing model for these items. It’s also a good idea to use quality products that will hold up over time so you aren’t paying for repair work down the road.

Another factor to consider when estimating plumbing costs is the type of work being done. For example, commercial plumbing jobs will likely require more costly equipment than residential ones. This can increase the overall project costs significantly, so you’ll want to make sure that you are accounting for these additional expenses.

Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary information for your plumbing estimate, it’s time to start putting together your final draft. Begin by including the customer’s name, contact information, and the scope of the work to be done. Then, list the types and amount of materials needed, along with their price. You should also include the hourly rate of a plumber, as well as any other fees that may apply to the job, such as travel time or a call-out fee.

Finally, don’t forget to include any permits that are required for the project. This is crucial for protecting yourself against lawsuits, complying with building codes, and maintaining your license. Be sure to check with local authorities and online resources to find out exactly what the requirements are for your specific location. Also, don’t forget to add any fees associated with getting a permit, such as administrative charges and processing fees.


A plumbing estimate is an important document that not only attests to a company’s professionalism but also allows customers to prepare for the costs of their project. While many plumbers have a general sense of how much a job should cost, estimating accurately requires thorough research and detailed writing. Luckily, plumbing estimation software makes this process a lot easier and can save you time and money.

A comprehensive plumbing estimate should include a breakdown of all the labor involved in the project, along with a calculation of business overhead and profit. To calculate the overhead rate, add up all the operating expenses for your business — such as office expenses, rent or lease payments, employee wages and benefits, payroll taxes, etc. Then, divide the total costs by the number of employees you have to find out how many hours it takes to cover those expenses.

Another way to determine a project’s overall cost is by dividing the materials by their price per pound. This will give you a rough idea of how much the materials should cost, which can be helpful when working on larger projects. In addition, you can use plumbing estimating software to standardize “assemblies,” groupings of items that are used frequently in each type of job — such as showers, sinks and toilets. Using these templates can help you save time and ensure that the prices you’re using are accurate for each job.

A good plumbing estimator should always take the time to visit the work site if possible and conduct a physical audit. This will allow them to see the scope of the work and assess if any special considerations need to be taken into account. It will also give them an idea of how long it might take to complete the job. This can be an important factor when calculating labor costs because it will help to avoid overcharging clients for extra time that is not needed.


Plumbing systems are essential to maintaining hygiene, comfort, and functionality in residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Regardless of the complexity and scale, plumbing projects require expert knowledge, careful planning, and accurate cost estimation to ensure successful execution and project budgets align with desired outcomes. Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to grow your field service operations, plumbing estimates are the key to landing gigs and keeping clients happy and satisfied.

Before you start writing plumbing estimates, it’s important to understand your worth and set your hourly rate. Then, you can determine the exact amount needed to cover all operating expenses and allow for a profit margin. This includes your tool costs, overhead, advertising fees, and office rent. It’s also good practice to leave a buffer for unexpected expenses.

Depending on how your business handles its revenue and accounting, you may use different methods for recording income. For example, smaller plumbing contractors often record revenue on a cash basis, meaning they recognize their income when they receive payment. However, larger plumbing businesses that have long-term contracts may prefer to record their income using the percentage of completion method. This allows them to recognize their revenue over the course of an entire contract rather than in one lump sum.

It’s also important to include the cost of any necessary permits, if applicable. This can be a significant additional expense for plumbing companies, especially in urban areas where permitting requirements are stricter. It’s a good idea to check with your local government on the specific permit requirements in your area before including them in your estimates. You can also add a line item for any special equipment you need for the job, like water heaters or specialized tools.

Additional Fees

Plumbing estimates are important to both plumbers and their clients. The estimate serves as a record of the terms of the job and can help minimize disputes between parties. A well-written plumbing estimate can also help plumbers win more jobs, build trust with their clients, and grow their business.

To create an effective plumbing estimate, plumbers should consider all aspects of the project, including scope of work, materials, labor, and additional fees. Then, they should calculate all the costs to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the price. Finally, they should include all applicable taxes and add any other necessary charges to arrive at a final total.

If a client has any questions or concerns about the estimate, they should discuss them with the plumber. Then, if a solution is reached, it should be written up and included in the final plumbing estimate for both parties to sign off on.

The cost of any special equipment needed for a particular job should be included in the plumbing estimate. For example, if a plumber needs to rent a high-pressure water hose to clear out a clogged sewer line, the rental fee should be added to the estimate. In addition, any labor costs associated with travel to and from the job site should be included in the estimate.

For recurring jobs, plumbers can save time by using a plumbing estimate template. This can help them keep their prices consistent and accurate for each job, while still giving their clients a personalized experience. Plumbing estimating software can also speed up the process by helping plumbers prepare and send estimates faster. It can also help them track job progress, submit invoices, and get paid quicker.