How to Start a Small Concrete Business

by Jim Woodruff - Updated June 29, 2018
Construction worker pouring concrete in wall mold
Cement Mixer at Freeway Construction Project

Having a successful small business is one of the best ways to build financial security for yourself and your family, and starting a small concrete business is an excellent way to achieve that goal. This is the type of business that can be started with a small amount of capital and very few employees. However, it is also the type of business that an owner can grow as large as he wants it to become.

Developing a good plan at the beginning is essential to having a successful business. A sound business plan closely examines all of the details that need to be addressed when starting a business, helping to identify potential problems and find solutions.

Identify Your Market

Before you start, define the market that you want to target. What will you be selling? You are starting small, so you may want to define your market as pouring sidewalks, slabs, foundations and driveways. Another market could be doing decorative concrete jobs.

Who are your target customers? One market might be selling to homeowners directly. Another possible market is to become a concrete subcontractor for general contractors who are doing larger jobs.

Obtain the Proper Licenses and Insurance

Before you start operations, obtain the appropriate business license from the local city, county or state. The name of your corporation must be registered with the state government.

At the very least, a new business needs the following types of insurance:

  • General liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Worker's compensation

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Plan to Make a Profit

Decide how you intend to price your jobs. Will it be on an hourly basis or a fixed price per job? Estimate the direct costs of each job: materials, supplies, equipment rentals and any hired labor wages. Define the amount of profit that you want to make in a month or for a full year. This will determine the total revenues that you will need and the number of jobs that you will need to reach your profit objective.

Purchase the Necessary Equipment

A rugged truck or van is essential to a concrete business. You will need to haul the equipment, supplies, materials and protective gear needed for each job. The office should have basic equipment such as file folders, computer, telephone and general office supplies.

Find a Source of Supply for Materials

For small jobs, buying bags of cement that are already mixed with gravel and sand may be adequate. Just add water, and go to work. Larger jobs may require renting a motorized mixer for the cement bags. For the big projects, buying ready-mix concrete that gets delivered to the job site in a truck may be needed.

Identify How to Fund the Activities of the Business

The start-up costs of a new business include the initial funds for purchase of equipment and supplies and enough money to pay the overhead of the company until a positive cash flow can be developed. Make a realistic estimate of the total funds that will be needed, and identify the source of those funds. Will they be from savings, loans, business credit cards or outside investors? No matter the source, the new business owner must be very clear on how he intends to fund his business until the money starts to come in.

Market Your Services

Create a marketing plan for your new concrete business. One approach is to place classified ads in the local newspapers, and submit a press release announcing the opening of your new business. Construct a website that gives information about the business and the services offered. Print up flyers to post on bulletin boards and hand out to the public. Build up a contact network of local businesses and contractors and ask them for referrals.

Starting a small concrete business is a good way to get into business for yourself. This type of business can be started with a small amount of capital and has the potential to grow into a large company. Making a good plan on the type of market to pursue, planning to make a profit, having enough capital to fund operations and marketing aggressively are all essential ingredients for a successful business.

About the Author

James has been a management consultant to more than 1,000 small businesses. As a senior management consultant and owner, he used his technical expertise to conduct an analysis of a company's operational, financial and business management issues. James has been writing business and finance related topics for blogs and e-commerce websites since 2007. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and received an MBA from Columbia University.

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