It is the belief of the author that a special chapter devoted to the subject of the estimating of plumbing work will add to the value of this work in the eyes of many of its readers.

The plumbing fraternity at large are just as careless in their estimating of labor and material as those who are connected with other lines of construction. The plumber who keeps a close account of these things, and knows, when the work is completed, just how much he has made or lost, is the exception. It is a fact, indeed, that many do not seem to wish to know when a contract has been finished at a loss, and it is also a fact that the author has met those who have frankly refused to figure into their estimate such incidentals as gasoline, screws, putty, freight, cartage, etc., for fear of losing the contract. This would appear to be a strange thing in a business man, for these items represent an expense which must be met just as certainly as such items as traps, ferrules, etc.

On the other hand, many of the successful plumbing firms follow a very exact system of estimating, and keep a close account of all stock and labor used on each contract, thus being able to figure exactly the amount of profit or loss on any completed piece of work. Many firms, however, while estimating accurately and safely on stock and labor items, do not figure any percentage into their contracts to cover inside expenses, that is, rent, office expenses, telephone, etc. This is a matter of great importance, and consideration or noncon-sideration of it often means the success or failure of the firm. Any firm doing a construction business must, along certain lines, be guided by past experience in estimating certain items. The expense of conducting business, which includes the items named above and many others, is a matter which must be figured largely by looking into those expenses of the past, and from the comparison of this amount with the gross amount of business done, the percentage that must be allowed for the conducting of business may be arrived at. Thus, if it costs a firm $500 to carry on a yearly business of $10,000, the percentage that must be allowed for this item of expense is 5%. This is a matter which varies greatly with different firms, some being able to conduct business at much less expense than others.

It is claimed by many firms doing a moderate amount of business that 15% is not too large an allowance for business expenses. Instead of giving this as the proper percentage to be added, however, it is the opinion of the author that each firm should approximate the amount in the manner above mentioned.

Another important matter is the amount of profit which may fairly be charged on contract work. It is a well-known fact to many of the readers of this work that at the present time many contracts are taken at as low a percentage of profit as 5%.

When it is considered that, in its anxiety to obtain a contract, a firm is willing to take it at this low figure, generally without adding any percentage for the expense of conducting business or for extras that may be overlooked in estimating, it is clear that the greater the number of such contracts taken by the firm, the sooner they must go into bankruptcy. There are many plumbing concerns, it may safely be said, who would be better off if they never took contract work, for the losses that must be sustained in this branch of their business must be offset by the profits derived from their jobbing or repair work, or bankruptcy is their only end. A profit of 25% on contract work, according to the author's opinion, is by no means too great. It may be said, however, that on large work a safe profit of a less amount may be satisfactory.

It is well understood by the author that these matters must be regulated by each individual concern, and it is equally well understood that if a firm is to carry on a successful and honest business, living profits must be secured, and that to secure them no legitimate business expense can be shirked in making estimates of cost.

The first essential in estimate work is a complete and reliable form of estimate, the use of which is very necessary, as it is not within the power of any man to remember at all times the scores of items that should enter a plumbing estimate. The low bidder on contract work is often low because he has forgotten to figure on some important item. The writer recalls a firm which secured a certain contract and found, when the work was under way, that all the water closets - six in number - had been omitted, which meant the completion of the work at a loss. The use of a correct estimate sheet avoids these troubles. In connection with this subject there is shown an estimate sheet which is very satisfactory. In this connection, however, it must be stated that it is a difficult matter to construct an estimate sheet that will please everyone, and that an estimate sheet entirely satisfactory for one part of the country may not answer the purpose of some other section, owing to the great differences that may exist in the methods and materials employed. If unable to secure a satisfactory published form of estimate, one arranged to suit individual tastes may be printed at small cost.

Plumbing Estimate

Made by...................... Date..........................

Soil Pipe

EX. H

:eavy

ft.

2"

ft.

3"

ft.

4"

ft.

5*

ft.

6"

ft.

8"

STAN

DARD

ft.

2"

ft.

3"

ft.

4"

ft.

5"

ft.

6"

ft.

8"

Fittings

Traps

2"

3"

4"

5"

Ys

2"

3"

4"

5"

Tees

2"

3"

4"

5"

TYs

2"

3"

4"

5"

Bends

2"

3"

4"

5"

Hubs

2"

3"

4"

5"

Dbl Hubs

2"

3"

4"

5"

Vent Ts

2"

3"

4"

5"

Vent Caps

2"

3"

4"

5"

Increasers

2"

3"

4"

5"

Reducers

2"

3"

4"

5"

Offsets

2"

3"

4"

5"

Dbl Ys or Ts

2"

3"

4"

5"

Cl'nouts, I. B. or

Br.

2"

3"

4"

5"

Misc. Fittings Hooks

Hangers

Clamps

Caulking Lead

lbs.

Oakum

lbs.

Gasoline

gals.

Roof Flanges

3"

4"

5"

6"

Galvanized Pipe

ft. 1/2 " ft. 1/2 "

ft. 3/4" ft. 2 "

ft. I " ft. 2 1/2"

ft. 1 1/4" ft. 3 "

Galvanized Fittings

Galv. Fittings, Water

Galv. Fittings, Vent

1 1/4"

1 1/2"

2"

Brass Work

Br. Ferrules

2"

4"

S & W Cocks

1/2"

3/4"

1"

1 1/4"

Valves

1/2"

3/4"

1"

1 1/4"

Sill Cocks

Solder Nipples

1/2"

3/4"

1"

Solder Nipples

1 1/2"

1 1/4"

2"

Solder Unions

Brass Pipe

1/2"

3/4"

1"

1 1/4"

Fittings

Brass Tubing

5/8"

3/4"

7///

1"

1 1/4"

1 1/2"

2"

Fittings

Lead Pipe

lbs. 3/8"

lbs. 1/2"

lbs. 5/8"

lbs. 3/4"

lbs. 1 "

lbs. 1 1/4"

lbs. 1 1/2"

lbs. 2 "

Total Lead Pipe

lbs.

Sheet Lead

lbs.

Solder

lbs.

prs. Lead Tacks

Gas Piping,

Outlets

Meter Connections Water Gas Range

Sinks, Iron

Soapstone or Slate Enamel or Porcelain

Brackets Bibbs

Traps Ferrules Gaskets

Wash Trays

Legs Covers Bibbs

Plugs Chain Traps Ferrules

H. W. Boilers