Are you looking to start your own concrete business? Concrete is one of the most important materials used in construction and civil engineering. With more than 70% of the world’s population living in structures that were built using concrete, it’s easy to understand its value.
Concrete’s importance to the construction sector makes it a viable business option if you have the knowledge and skill. But starting a new concrete business is not simply a matter of buying materials and equipment and finding clients. There are a lot of steps involved in starting a concrete business. Let’s go over what it takes.
Concrete is a major business in the United States. According to IBISWorld, the concrete industry’s market size, as measured by revenue, is $79.6 billion as of 2022. While the industry sometimes experiences its ups and downs, there is always a need for concrete production.
Builders and developers rely on concrete for the construction of:
Concrete also creates or serves as the foundation for bricks and blocks, sidewalks, walls, parking lots, monuments, chimneys, basements, tunnels, steps and dams.
Developers and builders deem concrete a top material for construction. Here are a few reasons why:
You know that concrete businesses pour, build and finish concrete foundations and structures. But before laying new concrete, businesses must ensure a space is suitable by examining water tables, moisture levels and soil consistency.
Concrete businesses typically take part in new residential and nonresidential constructions as well as reconstructions, alterations, maintenance and repairs. They might also sell concrete-related equipment and products and provide consultations for businesses using concrete.
According to IBISWorld, key concrete buying industries include U.S. home, commercial, municipal and industrial builders, road and highway construction and maintenance industries and bridge and elevated highway construction industries.
Concrete contractors take on a variety of roles in the construction industry. Here are some common types of concrete contractors you might consider for your business:
Concrete suppliers deliver cement and grades of aggregates that are mixed to create concrete in the specific quantities needed to meet strict quality requirements. Suppliers typically service large-scale projects like buildings, roads and bridges though they might also supply concrete for smaller projects like home foundations, basement walls, sidewalks and driveways.
Structural contractors take part in building upright structures like pillars, beams and basement walls – or they complete structures like homes or other buildings that are reinforced with rebar or other material. Structural contractors must be knowledgeable of public safety specifications and local codes for residences and businesses.
Pre-cast concrete contractors specialize in creating and delivering pavers for patios, steps for homes and other premade structures like tunnels, support columns, pillars and sewer mains.
Flatwork contractors pour concrete for roads, sidewalks, highways, parking lots or other flat surfaces. They might also lay concrete floors, pools, driveways and patios and also stamp, stain, color, or polish concrete for a more decorative appearance.
Before starting a new concrete business, it’s good to know as much as possible about the business side of the industry to make sure it’s the right fit.
According to IBISWorld, an acceleration of construction activity has increased demand for concrete contractor services (particularly with a growing demand for concrete as the foundation for more apartment, condominium, office building and hotel constructions).
The industry expects continued growth from 2023 to 2028.
According to HomeGuide, the average cost to pour a concrete slab is $5.40 to $6.20 per square foot. This cost includes slab thickness, labor, materials and reinforcement with wire mesh or rebar. So, a 10’ x 10’ shed (100 square feet) might cost $540 to $620 while a 20’ x 24’ driveway (480 square feet) would range from $2,592 to $2,976.
When calculating earnings, it’s important to include the cost per square foot, equipment, transportation costs, profit margin and overhead (rent, utilities, office supplies, accounting, insurance, legal fees and marketing). If you’re working from home and have less overhead, your profit margin might be as high as 50%. With a rental space, it could drop to about 20%.
If you believe that starting a concrete business is right for you, let’s go over the steps needed to get yours up and running.
Market research helps you examine the concrete industry and ensure it’s a viable option. Benefits of market research include:
You can conduct market research by gathering primary data (i.e. data you collect like interviews, surveys and focus groups) and secondary data (i.e. data collected by others like academic research, industry reports, government data and competitor analysis). Use the data you’ve gathered to look at industry trends and determine how to get your foot in the door.
Market research helps you identify your target market. It’s good to know, however, that most small concrete businesses initially target homeowners. If you’re already subcontracting, you may have a good idea of opportunities in your market. If you’re not currently working, consider taking some jobs to get a feel for the local market.
Decide whether you would like to be a supplier or work in flatwork, structural or pre-made concrete. If you’re a flatwork contractor, you might want to work with dyes or stamp concrete. You might even opt for self-mending concrete, which is concrete coated in bacteria to increase its durability. Also, be sure to decide whether to focus on residential, commercial or both.
When you’re serious about starting your concrete business, creating a business plan is a must. A business plan helps you lay out your ideas and work through your key goals.
Here’s what goes into a business plan:
The startup costs for a concrete business often range from just over $10,000 to more than $100,000. The company van/truck and portable concrete mixer are typically your largest expenses.
Here is a list of common concrete equipment needs:
When making your calculations, consider costs for licenses, permits, insurance, business name and registration, marketing and the concrete contractor’s license, which could range from $1,000 to $10,000.
Your business’s legal structure will directly impact your taxes, registration requirements, personal liability and more. Common options include:
As your business comes to life, there are a lot of requirements to meet:
Your business name should be short and easy to remember while encapsulating your identity, objectives, mission and services. Putting “concrete” in the name helps associate your business with your services. After choosing some name options, see which are available with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Depending on your business structure, you might need to file a Doing Business As (DBA), which separates your business name from your full name.
You’ll need to register your business with agencies at the state or local level like the revenue office.
You are required to register your business with the IRS and secure an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you opt for a sole proprietorship, you can use your social security number or an EIN.
Some concrete contractors work from home and meet team members at work sites to reduce overhead. As your business demands grow, you might look into renting a space for your office. When looking for commercial spaces, consider those that are close to public transportation, have good natural light and are well-ventilated. Also, look for a flexible lease and a space that is ready to use with few repair or renovation needs.
It’s common for a startup business to need assistance from one or more sources. Here are some options to consider:
Before you can operate your concrete business, you must secure the necessary licenses and permits from your local, state and federal governments. Be sure to find out if your state requires concrete businesses to become licensed contractors.
You’ll need to have a place to store your money once you start pulling in business. Opening a business bank account enables you to keep your business funds separate from your personal funds and easily track transactions for tax purposes and business records. When opening your business bank account, you might need to provide your EIN or social security number, articles of incorporation and other legal documents.
Insurance is a must for your concrete business. Any liabilities could fall in your lap if you’re not insured. Types of insurance to consider include general liability, business property, equipment breakdown coverage, worker’s compensation, property, commercial auto, and a business owner’s policy (BOP).
As you get ready to open your business for operations, here are some additional steps to take:
A dynamic business website helps get your concrete business out to the world. Start by purchasing your domain name (align it as closely as possible to your business name) and picking a monthly hosting plan. Hire a website designer and ensure they prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your site structure. Content about the industry, like landing pages or blog posts, are also a key way to help your site rank in search engines. If you’re not comfortable writing your own content, you can enlist the help of a freelance writer. Also, make sure your website prominently features calls to action like “Get a Quote” or “Schedule a Consultation” to make contacting you easier.
Marketing your business is another must-do when aiming to get the word out about your concrete business. Here are some marketing tactics to consider:
Now’s the time to build an amazing team of dedicated workers who are eager to help your concrete business grow and thrive. When first starting out, you might handle many aspects of business on your own, but if business funds permit, you’ll want to hire at minimum a small team of concrete laborers as well as a general manager and marketing professional.
To find your team, talk to contractors in your area. They could be looking for a new opportunity. You can also try recruiting for free on networking sites like LinkedIn. Placing ads on Facebook and other social media sites is another option. If you’d like targeted searches, consider premium plans on recruitment websites. A recruitment agency could also help you find workers.
With everything in order, you’re now ready to open your doors and start taking in clients. A great way to secure clients fast is through hard bidding. Hard bidding, also known as competitive bidding, is a process of bidding for job opportunities against other concrete businesses (or construction companies accompanied by concrete subcontractors).
In order to bid on a project, you’ll need to create a bid proposal and estimate. These documents make the case for you winning the job over other businesses and states the price you’ll charge for the concrete job. Generally, the lowest bid wins the job, so try your best to beat your competition while still earning a profit for your business.
Starting a concrete business is no easy feat. But once you have it up and running, operating it effectively becomes a top priority. With VIIZR in your corner, managing your concrete business has never been easier.
Our web-based software improves your business in the following ways:
As concrete jobs start lining up, you want to make sure every aspect of your business flows smoothly. Stay on top of office and project management, maintain high productivity and watch your earnings soar with VIIZR on your team. You can try VIIZR free for 14 days, so get started today!