What do you love most about your job?
Rather than us talking about what we love about the job, we are going to do something that we think serves you, the prospective client, with more knowledge that you can apply towards selecting a contractor for your upcoming concrete project. A great number of prospective clients not only want to get pricing, but justification of pricing and an understanding of what factors affect pricing. We have prepared an explanation of the major factors that affect our pricing in the box below. We hope it answers all of pricing related questions. If it doesn't, feel free to get in touch with us anytime!
What inspired you to start your own business?
The 4 main factors in determining price are:
1. TYPE OF CONCRETE FINISHING SYSTEM TO BE INSTALLED: At Benco Concrete Inc, we offer several different concrete products to choose from. We do regular white and coloured brush finished and power troweled concrete, exposed aggregate (pebble look), stamped concrete, and Generally speaking, Stamped Concrete and Exposed Aggregate concrete are same price as each other. Typically, they both cost approximately $3-$4 more than a regular white broom finished driveway. The higher price is attributed to colouring the concrete all the way through, additional pigments used for accent colouring, special finishing, additional special chemistry and sealing it with 2 coats of a non slip sealer.
2. ACCESSIBILITY TO THE SITE: For most residential applications, customers want work done in either the back yard, front yard, side yard or all three. Accessibility ranges from inaccessible to easily accessible. For instance, installing a back yard patio way at the back corner of the back yard while accessing it through a small, 3 ft gate opening in the back yard is probably the worst case scenario. When we have to go through an opening that small, we have to hand dig the area and wheelbarrow the excavated material out, as well as wheelbarrow the new concrete in. Not only is this very laborious, but it also takes longer to get the excavated material out and the concrete back in. When pouring fresh concrete, time is of the essence. Especially in hot weather. When concrete takes too long to get into the work area, it hardens before it has a chance to be levelled and finished properly. The outcome of this can be disappointing results. Concrete must be somewhat soft while working with it in order to get it to the desired finish. If it takes too long to get the concrete inside the install area, the time window of workability is consumed and the quality cannot be maintained. For these reasons, we often need to use a concrete pump to discharge the concrete quickly and efficiently directly into the work area. Sometimes in order to save money by not needing a concrete pump, customers will take out a fence post and section of fence in order to facilitate a wider opening for travel to and from the back yard. It may cost the customer a little bit of money for a new fence post, but yards where they will take the materials such as this and crush it into gravel nothing compared to the price of a pump. Although pumps work really well to ensure a timely placement and quality control, they typically cost anywhere between $800 and $1500 to rent one with an operator.
3. Material to be excavated and/or removed: Many people think that removing old concrete, asphalt or interlocking brick rather than grass / dirt brings about extra labour expense and dumping fees. This simply isn’t true. Asphalt, concrete and interlocking brick are usually quicker to remove with equipment such as a skid steer or backhoe. Then it can be brought to a recycling (crusher) yard, where they will accept it for free or a very small fee. Some crushers charge a small amount to dump and others charge nothing. They then crush it into gravel that they will sell as base material for under asphalt roads, concrete, and other applications. Dirt, grass, and other organic material have no such use. They usually sift, or screen dirt to become a fine topsoil that they sell, but the environmental regulatons that must be complied with these days create expenses which have to be covered by the customers. This handling and testing of the materials creates additional expense for the recycling yards to handle, and dirt can cost up to $40.00 per ton to dump. This can really add up.
4. Size of the area: Large jobs have a lower cost per square foot than smaller ones. When a job is smaller, the unit price is raised in order for an installer to be able to cover the fixed expenses that every contractor faces. When a job is larger, there are more square feet to offset these expenses, allowing a lower unit price to be offered.
To give you an example of how these factors affect price, here is an example… It is more expensive per square foot to install a small (size) patio at the far reaches of the backyard where grass (material to be excavated and / or removed) currently exists while travelling through a 3 foot wide gate opening (accessibility) with a wheelbarrow than it is to do a large driveway at the front of the house where there may already be an adequate amount, or at least some gravel in place. There is usually gravel present in driveway areas… either from the homeowners having an existing gravel driveway, or in cases when an old driveway was removed, the gravel which once there as base material for that old driveway will still be present. The driveway area can most often be directly accessed by equipment and the concrete truck, making the job much easier and less time consuming.
When preparing a base for new concrete, there is no need to not use some or all of the existing gravel. It can be graded, compacted and used as base for under the new concrete. Sometimes when existing gravel is removed in order to make room for the new concrete to be put in its place, the amount of gravel left could be inadequate to act as a sufficient base. In this case, some of the natural ground (dirt, clay) that was under the gravel will have to be removed in order to make room for a minimum of 6 inches of gravel necessary for a proper gravel base. When this happens, you can still use the old gravel if it hasn’t been mixed with the dirt or clay during the excavating, but you must add new gravel in with it in order to have the necessary amount to constitute an adequate base.
When evaluating how to price a concrete project, larger driveways at the front of the house in a highly accessible area will cost less money per sq ft than what smaller, inaccessible backyard projects do. While installing a new driveway, a concrete truck can be pulled right onto the compacted gravel base. The concrete can then be discharged out of the truck directly into the area, where it can then be spread, screeded, and finished. This takes far less labour and time than wheelbarrowing the concrete back to a backyard area.
We hope that this explanation of the factors that affect how new concrete installations are priced has been helpful. Should you have any additional questions, please contact us, and we will do our best to provide you with further explanation.
Why should our clients choose you?
Everytime a person hires a contractor to do any type of project at their home, they expose themselves to some degree of risk. As a consumer, it's a responsibility to minimize that risk as much as possible by doing independent research on the contractors they're considering. Although one can never predict what may happen in the future, they can find out how a contractor has performed in the past. History has proven that the past usually repeats itself, so it's probably a fair statement to say that if a contractor has a 32 year history without too many problems, chances are that they're a pretty safe bet to move forward with.
Can you provide your services online or remotely? If so, please add details.
Benco Concrete Inc obviously provides our services at different jobsites throughout the region. Having said that, we conduct many sales over the phone or email. Although we do many on-site sales calls, using technology such as Google Maps to measure jobs, as well as concise communication with customers can often eliminate the need for a face to face sales call. Either way, we're here to make your ideas become a reality!
What changes have you made to keep your customers safe from Covid-19?
Fortunately, most of our projects are performed outside where it's easier to practice social distancing. This has definitely spared us a lot of the strain of Covid-19. We also try to keep our clients primarily dealing with one person to avoid contact with too many different people unnecessarily. We also practice wearing masks whenever necessary and have stocked anti-bacterial hand sanitizer in our service vehicles for the use of Benco Employees. To date, we have not had any complications or illnesses regarding any of our team members as it pertains to Covid - 19. In the event that this status changes, we will update this written information, as well as inform any team members or clients that could possibly be affected.