Menu Close

Plumbing Estimating 101

When performing plumbing installations, it’s important to consider the scope of work. This includes reviewing all notes in the drawings and reading through any special instructions that may be included.

To save time, it’s best to have a pricebook that lists labor, materials and markups. This will help you churn out complex bids faster.

Cost of materials

When writing a plumbing estimate, it is important to take into account the cost of materials. These costs will vary depending on the type of job you are estimating. For example, if the project involves installing a new sewer line or septic system, these costs will be higher than for a simple repair or replacement. These costs include the price of pipes, fixtures, valves, and other parts. In addition, you will also need to calculate labor and overhead costs. Using a professional estimating software can help you accurately determine these costs.

A plumbing estimate should contain a number of key components, including the scope of work and a timeline for completion. It should also include measurements and any special instructions. The estimate should also include material costs, taxes, and additional fees. Finally, it should include a disclaimer to clarify that the estimated costs are only an approximation and could change.

If there are any unexpected additional costs, it is crucial to discuss them with the client. If both parties agree, the additional costs should be included in a revised estimate and signed by both parties. If a dispute arises, it is important to seek legal advice. This will ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities. It will also protect both parties from misunderstandings or disputes in the future.

Labor costs

When creating a plumbing estimate, labor costs should be included in the total cost. These fees should reflect the plumber’s hourly rate and estimated hours to complete the job. You may also need to include additional expenses, such as renting equipment or travel time. For instance, if you don’t own a high-pressure hose for hydro jetting a clogged sewer line, you will have to pay to rent one. In addition, if you are planning to work on a large commercial job site, you will have to cover rental costs for lifts and cranes.

Precise estimates are essential for a contractor to provide quality project results and build long-lasting bonds with satisfied clients. In the competitive plumbing sector, contractors that offer accurate estimates have a significant advantage over those who do not. They have the opportunity to boost client acquisition rates and earn a good reputation for their professionalism and expertise. In addition, accurate estimates help manage the cost and timeline of a project, which can increase contractor efficiency and profitability.


Many plumbing projects require permits to ensure the work is done properly and in compliance with local codes. In general, any residential or commercial plumbing project that requires a permit will require a plan that indicates all the fixtures that need to be installed or altered. The plan will also include information about the building sewers and water service lines. In some cases, the health department may need to approve a plumbing plan before the work can begin.

Most counties have their permitting requirements listed on their website. In order to determine what permits are required for a particular project, simply visit the site and enter your address into the search box. Once you have found the permit information, be sure to review it carefully. There may be additional steps you need to take, such as filling out an application or paying a fee.

The fees associated with obtaining a permit can add up quickly, so it is important to factor these into your estimates. In addition, a permit will help you stay in compliance with local code requirements and avoid fines or penalties.

Plumbing permits are required for most major plumbing jobs, including re-piping. Licensed plumbers know when a permit is needed and will ensure that they obtain one before starting any job. These permits can also help you sell your home in the future because they prove that all plumbing repairs and modifications have been completed in accordance with local laws.


When preparing plumbing estimates, make sure you include all necessary equipment for the job. This includes any tools, vehicles and accessories that may be needed for the project. It’s also important to include the cost of any labor-related expenses, such as overtime. This helps ensure that you’re able to estimate a project within a reasonable timeframe.

Commercial plumbing jobs require a little more equipment than residential ones, so you’ll need to factor that in. For example, if the project requires the use of a lift or crane, you’ll need to rent this equipment. These rental fees should be included in your estimates. Additionally, there might be costs associated with a foreman or a project manager in commercial plumbing projects. These should also be covered in your estimates.

The right plumbing estimating software can help you streamline the process of creating bids. It can be a big benefit to your business because it reduces errors and speeds up the estimating process. It can also provide you with accurate estimates for piping and fixtures. The software also provides a variety of other features, such as digital takeoff, on-screen pricing for quick access to price lists and specifications, and autofitting generation.

Some plumbing estimating software is designed to work with other field service management platforms, such as customer relationship management (CRM) tools and payroll features. It’s a great way to streamline your entire workflow and increase productivity. It can also help you create professional-looking quotes that will help you win more jobs.