Press Tools Improve Plumber’s Productivity

They are not a fit for every job, but when North Carolina’s Carrboro Plumbing has deployed press tools, it has found it can complete some jobs as much as 90% faster

Press Tools Improve Plumber’s Productivity

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To boost productivity and profitability, Chris Kreutzer — co-owner of Carrboro Plumbing in Carrboro, North Carolina — invested in RIDGID ProPress tools about  a year ago: Three battery-operated RP241 units and one RP340 model, along with fittings made by Viega.

The veteran plumber’s only regret? That he didn’t make the move sooner.

“I was really skeptical for a long time (about their capabilities and the potential for leaks), plus they seemed really expensive,” says Kreutzer, who co-owns the business with his wife, Emily. “But they’ve greatly improved our productivity. They make things so much easier and so much quicker.”

While acknowledging that it depends on the project, Kreutzer estimates that he can complete some jobs up to 90% faster. Part of the productivity gain stems from crimping fittings together hydraulically as opposed to more labor-intensive soldering. In addition, there’s no need to drain a water system in order to solder.

“You can work wet, which also is a time-saver,” Kreutzer says. “Sometimes you just can’t shut down a system completely, so it can take hours to stop a leak before you can start soldering.”

The RP241, which costs about $1,900, can handle copper pipes up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. The RP340, which runs about $3,000, can crimp copper pipes up to 2 inches in diameter.

To help defray the expense of the tools, Kreutzer says he charges a fee of $25 per tool per job site. But customers still ultimately save money on labor costs.

“We don’t get many objections from customers,” he says. “We explain it all ahead of time. And if we do a small job where it would’ve been just as fast to solder pipes, we don’t charge the fee.”

The ProPress tools also yield a benefit that’s hard to quantify but equally as important as increased productivity: happier employees.

“They boost employee morale,” Kreutzer says. “Jobs go faster and just seem to work out better. Plumbing always includes frustrations on any given day, but with ProPress tools, there’s one less thing to worry about.”

Read more about Carrboro Plumbing in the January 2021 issue of Plumber magazine.


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