Tag Archives: hiring concrete work

Hiring for Concrete Finishing

Yesterday I was having an ongoing discussion with a client about concrete finishing and his budget.

From Elko, Nevada, the client was weighing whether he should hire a contractor to “turnkey” his new 30’ x 40’ pole building, or to construct it himself. In this instance, turnkey would include providing the design and materials, constructing the shell of the building as well as concrete and labor for a four inch thick concrete floor.

A local contractor had told the client the concrete finishing would cost about $20,000. The Hansen Pole Buildings material quote was under $11,000 delivered. Here is where it gets to be fun…..

The client assumed, for budgetary purposes, $5100 for material and labor to pour a four inch concrete floor.

Now personally, I hate concrete. I know “hate” is a very strong term. Having prior limited experience with concrete, I am thoroughly convinced I could not pour a 2 foot square of concrete and get it to turn out smooth or level. Call me concrete challenged. I know concrete finishing is hard work, but is it hard enough to justify what they want to be paid?

For sake of discussion, let us assume a level, well-compacted site has been prepared in advance. The work of the finisher will be some final fine grading, pour and finish. It should also include saw cutting, or some other type of expansion joint.

With a nominal four inch thick concrete pour, one yard of pre-mix concrete will cover 80 square feet. In the above example, 15 yards of concrete would be required.

I took the liberty to call this client’s local premix provider and found today’s delivered price of “five sack” mix was $100 a yard, plus sales tax (6.85%). In this case, with sales tax, just over $1600. One thing I always recommend to building owners – pay for the pre-mix yourself. This allows a greater degree of control over what is actually being paid for.

Doing some quick math $5100 less $1600 leaves $3500…..hmmmm.

Now granted, I have not been a builder since the 1990’s. The last time I hired a concrete finisher, he charged 35 cents per square foot to finish. He worked by himself and could easily pour a floor this size in a day. 1200 square feet times 35 cents was $420. In my mind, this was a good value. Yes, he worked hard, but he made $50 an hour.

Each individual case is different. Only the actual end user can determine what is a justifiable expense, as well as fair to all concerned. If nothing else, this may provide food for thought and save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for your concrete finishing alone.