How Much is Your Time Worth?

Can you make a radiant heat manifold out of copper fittings and pipe for less than it costs for a preassembled manifold from a manufacturer?


The short answer is likely yes, if you only factor in the cost of the parts required. That is not the whole story, because your time is money!


Radiant heating installers are a proud people. There is beauty in the craft of soldering a joint well. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your profit margins. Using pre assembled parts may be a better use of your time.


For example, to install two manifolds with five drops and isolation valves for a radiant heat system, you would need to make 40 connections if you used only copper fittings, ball valves, and pipe. If you use a pre assembled manifold, it would only be 12 connections. You have to factor in the cost of your labor, and also the cost of the time lost sitting in the mechanical room.


If you saved a couple hours on each job by using pre assembled manifolds and spent that extra time recruiting great employees, marketing your services to new customers, and putting together a smart bid for your next project, wouldn’t you be better off?


The material cost of a ¾ in. copper elbow is only a small part of the overall cost to the mechanical business owner. As odd as it sounds, the least profitable part of your day is the construction. The time you spend actually constructing your systems is time taken away from collecting money and selling your next job.


The best contractors know how to balance the choice between custom made and quality pre assembled products. Don’t assume you are more profitable by building everything from scratch.


By Max Rohr, manager, REHAU Academy