Pressing for Time

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As a contractor, you’re always looking for ways to do a job faster without compromising quality.

Completing jobs in the estimated time (or faster) allows a company to take on more work and earn more revenue while keeping clients happy. Conversely, taking longer than expected results in fewer jobs completed, less revenue, and unhappy clients.

And the margin of profitability is slim.

Consider this estimate for a simple residential water heater replacement:

  • Installation billable hours                         1.5
  • Hourly break-even rate                              $300
  • Labor + 35% net profit margin (NPM)   $692
  • Materials                                                       $575
  • Materials + 35% NPM                                $885
  • Total Flat Rate Price (FRP)                       $1577

But what if the installation takes two hours instead of 1.5 hours? That’s only an additional 30 minutes, but it eliminates nearly two-thirds of the original net profit (or $150).

This need for speed is one of the reasons pressing is replacing soldering and welding as the preferred way to join pipe. Pressing delivers a 30% to 90% time savings for ½” to 4″ connections, depending on the material. Connections can be made in as quickly as seven seconds or less.

Pressing saves time in other ways as well. It connects when wet so there’s no need to drain the system. Since no flame is required, setup is minimal and free of worries about fumes and venting. The need for burn permits and fire watches is eliminated. Less equipment also means less time lugging it to and from the worksite.

Not only does press technology save time (and money) on the job; the most significant savings may be upfront. The technology is simple. Position the tool and press a button – it’s really not much more complicated than that. Teaching a tech to solder or weld requires far more training and investment on the part of the company. With less training required for pressing, techs can get into the field sooner and start completing jobs. All of which saves the company money.

And without the need to hire or train certified welders it’s easier for a contractor to recruit and deploy workers, an important edge when hiring in the trades nowadays.

Viega introduced its press technology in Germany in 1989 and brought it to North America in 1999. In the two decades it’s been in use here, it’s been steadily winning converts. It can be used to connect everything from copper and steel to PEX and stainless steel and can be used in industrial, commercial and residential applications.

Pressing is not only faster than soldering and welding, it’s also more reliable. Viega’s press systems remove the variables found in traditional methods of pipe joining and stabilize the labor required to install.  For even greater confidence, Viega’s Smart Connect® technology easily identifies un-pressed connections during pressure testing.

Still need some convincing that pressing can mean the difference between losing and earning money? Here’s another example of adding a gas line for a new cooktop:

Billable hours to route 20’ through crawlspace to range   3.0

  • Hourly break-even rate     $300
  • Labor + 35% NPM             $1384
  • Materials                              $60
  • Materials + 35% NPM       $93
  • Total FRP                             $1477

What if the installation takes two hours longer than estimated because the crawlspace is full of junk? That’s a labor loss on the job and $923 left on the table. Pressing pipe can’t unclutter a crawlspace, but it is a smart way to keep time on your side.

Bo DeAngelo is Manager, Technical Training, at Viega LLC.



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