If you’re in the plumbing industry, you know that estimates are important. Not only do they help the customer get an idea of what the job will cost, but it’s also a representation of your business that can help you win the job.
Whether you’re a seasoned plumbing pro or just starting out, the art of presenting an estimate to your customer can always be improved. Here are a few tips on what to include in your plumbing estimate to help you win the job.
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Why Estimates Are Important
When you’re meeting with a customer for the first time, providing an estimate will give them the right impression and information they need to decide whom to hire. The estimate provided can help you win the job! An estimate provides a clear outline of your services, what you’ll be providing and approximate costs of the project.
While it’s OK to give a verbal estimate, you can really differentiate your business from the rest by preparing a written estimate. Create a format ahead of time that you can keep consistent with from customer to customer. Design a template with the key points and sections to cover. This should include:
- Contact Info
- Project Summary
- Material List
- Cost Estimate
- Permits Needed
- Your Insurance & Licensure Information
- A Guarantee of Work
Contact Information Is Key
When creating your plumbing estimate, put your contact information front and center. It’s then easy for a customer to contact you as soon as they’ve reviewed the material to hire you for the job.
While you should include your contact information directly on the document, on the first page or the header, you should also include a business card. This is not only for their convenience, but it can also be passed along to others if they want to refer your services to others.
Evaluate The Plumbing Project
While you can always verbally give an estimate over the phone, you won’t be able to make an accurate assessment of the job without seeing it. The homeowner might be able to give you a good description, but they are not the plumbing expert; you are! So, set up a time to meet with the customer and evaluate the scope of the project. You’ll know the approximate amount time you’ll need to spend as well as what materials or new parts you’ll need to get and install.
When you meet the customer and talk about their project, be sure to listen to their needs and find ways to alleviate their fears such as making sure the job gets done correctly. While all the information in your estimate will help that, answering any questions they have about the project will go a long way.
Include A Plumbing Project Summary
The first major piece of information you should present in the estimate, besides your contact information, is the project summary. This is a brief outline of the project. While some might be as straightforward as a new toilet installation, other plumbing projects might require a more detailed outline.
You may think including a summary of work doesn’t mean much, but it can help both you and the customer ensure the same understanding of the project. This may help later if they have questions about the work that was done. If there’s more than one project, write down the order of which you intend to complete the steps, so the customer can stay up-to-date with what’s happening in their home.
Calculate Estimated Costs
When you think of an estimate, the project costs tend to be the largest portion of this. And, it’s an important part as well! Customers appreciate an estimate that is as accurate as possible and can help assist in an on-time payment when the job is complete. Here are some additional items to include in your plumbing estimate:
Materials & Supplies Needed
For some plumbing jobs, such as a remodel, you might be installing new products into a home. This means the homeowner might already have something in mind. Discuss the options with them before making any decisions.
There’ll also be supplies you need to complete the plumbing job successfully that are non-cosmetic. Discuss these options with the customer as well and include their choice in the estimate.
Payment for your time is important. Be sure to include your hourly rate in addition to an estimate of how long the cost of the total project will take. Customers appreciate when pricing is clear and detailed.
Depending on where the customer lives, permits may be required. The customer will be relying on you to guide them through the permit process. Be sure to include any permit costs associated with this plumbing project into the final estimate.
Differentiate Your Business
An estimate can truly make your plumbing business stand out from the rest. A great way to separate yourself from the competition is by giving them information on your licensure and insurance with the estimate. It’s also a great place to mention if you’re a part of a trade organization or association. These little details can truly impress the customer and help you win the job.
Estimates are an important part of any plumbing pros job. If you already have a process for creating an outstanding estimate, evaluate it now to see where you can improve. Overall, be sure the estimate information is as accurate as possible and completed to the best of your ability. Your hard work here will certainly help you win the job.
Looking for more tips to create an estimate to help you win the job? Read The Do’s & Don’ts Of Estimates.