3 Time-Saving Contractor's Tools that Pay for Themselves

BY: Christina Hansen


You’ve probably heard it thousands of times before, but we’ll say it again: time is money. When you save time on the job, it not only makes your clients happy, but also puts money back into your pocket, and allows you to move onto your next job faster.  Time management is one of the key ingredients in speeding completion time and cutting labor costs, but it’s not all you’ll need. As it turns out, having the right tools – smart tools - can make all the difference. Here are 3 labor-saving contractor’s tools that will not only speed you through jobs, but also save you money and pay for themselves at the same time.


Klein Depthfinder™ High Strength 1/2" Wide Steel Fish Tapes

Klein Tool Fish TapesAside from differences in material (stainless steel or fiberglass) and tape width, fish tapes are fish tapes, right? Not so fast, there. While fish tape is the universal tool for pulling wires and cables, it’s also the go-to item for measuring conduit runs. And measuring conduit runs can be a long and frustrating process. Just take a look at how the task normally unfolds:

  • Step 1: Thread fish tape into conduit until you reach the end.
  • Step 2: Pull the fish tape out of the conduit, without letting it wind back up into its reel.
  • Step 3: Retrieve your tape measure, and enjoy the challenge of juggling two types of retractable tape, while using one to measure the other.


At this point, you’re probably thinking “Why hasn’t anyone ever thought to combine fish tape and measuring tape into one product?” But as a matter of fact, someone has. Because Klein Tools knows the long-term impact that little bits of time saved can have on the overall success of a job, they developed Depthfinder™ fish tapes, which mix the strength and flexibility of flat-steel fish tape with the incremental length markings of measuring tape. This seemingly simple fusion of features has rocked the cable installation world, by cutting the completion time for conduit measurement to just a fraction of what it used to be. Check out the new procedure for measuring conduit:

  • Step 1: Feed fish tape into conduit
  • Step 2: Glance down at the depth marking laser-etched into your fish tape, to see how long the conduit run is.



TempCovers™ by Grace Engineered Products

TempCoversWhen it comes to repairing and maintaining electrical panel boards, it isn’t the actual repair work that eats up time. Instead, valuable minutes and hours are lost through the removal and replacement of the electrical box’s cover each time you walk away from, and return to, the box that you’re working on. But that’s just the price of OSHA compliance, right? Wrong.

Grace Engineered Products has made OSHA compliance more affordable than ever with the introduction of TempCovers™, a line of nonconductive, magnet-backed safety placards that are easily attached, and removed from, panel boxes that are under repair. Featuring a highly-visible yellow, red, and black design, TempCovers™ are emblazoned with can’t-miss danger signs that warn personnel of the live voltage that lurks beneath. And seeing as how they take only seconds to install and remove, TempCovers™ save you both time and money. Take a look at these figures to see how quickly a TempCover™ can pay for itself:

  • A person qualified to work with high voltage circuits earns an average of $60 per hour
  • It takes an average of 12 minutes to install and remove a standard 14? x 24? dead front panel (5 minutes for removal, 7 minutes for reinstallation)
  • It takes only a few seconds to install and remove a TempCover™
  • The MSRP of a 14? x 24? TempCover™ is around $50


So, that means that:

  • It costs you $12 each time a standard panel cover is installed or removed (0.2 hours x $60)
  • A TempCover™ will pay for itself in just 4-5 uses


And have we mentioned that TempCovers™ can save you from the minimum $600 OSHA fine for uncovered and unattended electrical boxes?



Milwaukee M12 Copper Tubing Cutter

Milwaukee 2471-21Of all the tasks that plumbers and contractors have to deal with, one of the most tedious and time consuming has to be cutting copper pipe. Manual cutters may not cost much to begin with (they start at around $7), but their slow speed guarantees that both time and resources will be wasted, no matter how necessary the task may be. When you’re using a manual copper tubing cutter, individual cuts can take up to 90 seconds to complete, and considering the fact that the average American plumber earns around $20 an hour, that comes out to approximately $0.50 per cut. But you can do better than that; you just need a Milwaukee Tools M12 Copper Tubing Cutter.

This new lithium-ion battery powered workhorse is revolutionizing the world of pipe-cutting. There’s no longer a need to rotate your wrist to the point of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Milwaukee’s Copper Tubing Cutter has a rotating cutting head that automatically adjusts to tubing that ranges from ?? to 1? in diameter, and then completes a clean and burr-free cut in as little as 10 seconds. That makes it up to 10 times more efficient than a professional working at top speed, not to mention much less expensive. As far as labor costs go, you could be paying as little as $0.05 per cut.