Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. We do mostly residential and small commercial. Removal and replacement is common for us because we have a system that works well for us. People that like highly custom work tend to contact us. The same goes for people that like to hire us because they know that they get decent work. Most customers just want a good job. The odd thing about getting a decent job from us is that it doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. We are usually way lower priced than other contractors. 50% of our work comes from people that have used us in the past or were refered to us from a past customer.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. The number one thing is to make sure that they have a current license. Either contact the Dept of Labor and Industries by phone, or simply get on the L&I website. You will be able to verify that a contractor is licensed with a current bond and liability insurance. They have other information available also. One thing that we always consider before hiring a contractor is: have they had any complaints, were they resolved? and do they have any pending lawsuits. All of this information is available with a simple click of the mouse. =)
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Concrete demolition, pouring and placement is very complicated and is one of the hardest jobs. We belong to the ACI and they are the leading association and design many of the building codes used today. They provide a huge amount of information. With the internet, it is possible for just about anyone to find information. If you hire an experienced contractor, they should be able to discuss just about anything realated to their trade
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. It is always a good thing if a customer has the dimensions and a reasonable idea of the work that they would like to have done at their home or business. Since we prefer to meet with a customer at the actual job site, good directions are a plus. Irene has been answering the phone for over 15 years and she has a really good idea about what we need to know before scheduling an estimate. She actually works on every job, so she really knows what kind of information is needed. It is a good idea to have a look at our web site before contacting us. We have started posting more gray work on the craigslist and in our advertisements, because Irene thinks that our work looks too expensive. I have spent a lot of time looking for the average jobs in our photo library, but we just don't have any. We really do try to give the customer this best value and since we work by the day, they usually pick somthing custom, because it is only the cost of the materials. We always try to give a customer the value.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. We have over 30 years of experience in the concrete trades and have been a licensed contractor for over 22 years. We are a full service general contractor and we rarely use an outside service. We are an owner operated business and you can count on us to be involved on every job.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. After we complete the work, it is always nice to sit back and look at the job. It is always nice to see the reaction of our customers. Over the years we have had countless customers and have developed many friendships with them. It is nice to work for ourselves. When people appreciate our work, there isn't anything else to say.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. The number one question is: How much do you charge per sq. ft. and how much does it cost per lin. ft.? The answer is always, we charge by the job. In fact, we use a job cost estimating method and we usually work by the day. There are too many different situations and every job is different. We usually calculate the materials and the time that it takes to complete a job and factor them into an estimate. That way our estimate is fair and much more reliable. We tailor every bid to each customer.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I was working for another contractor in Las Vegas NV. at the Tropicana Hotel Country Club. We were finishing the driveway up to the club entry, the lady who hired the prime contractor came around to see how everything was going. Well, one of the finishers that we hired from the union said, "Hey, are these people paying for the good job, or are they paying for the regular job?" That lady must have had the contractor on her speed dial. LoL
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. Concrete is hard work and there is soooo much more to it than buying a bunch or tools and throwing a dog in the back of the truck. It takes years to learn how to finish concrete and even more years to actually run a business. I see so many people that don't have the experience to do business, and when it comes down to it, aren't even concrete finishers. Then there are concrete finishers that can't run a business, they are just finishers. And, watch out for those guys with the Khaki shorts, polo shirts and sunglasses.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. My Grandfather and Father were both cement masons. I can remember getting my allowance by working on my Dad's job sites. I was always doing the grunt work. It wasn't until I went to work for Mike Cowan from Star Concrete in Las Vegas, that I finally got a chance to learn how to finish. I worked at Star Concrete for 8 years and that is where I learned how to finish concrete. I ended up working for Mike as a Foreman and eventually as a superintendent.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. We removed and replaced a sidewalk for an older couple on 29th Ave. They really just wanted to have the sidewalk replaced and are on a fixed income. They had estimates from the usual contractors. They were so nice. Nice enough to let us know what the other competitors estimates came in at. Anyway. They were really happy that our estimate came in at more than $1500 less. $1500 dollars could pay for a few things that they might need. They want us to do their patio this year and they might just have enough money to do it too. Even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter to us. I am glad that those folks got what they wanted. We try to avoid jobs on major street because of cost. We made serious money and they got a deal.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Besides practical experience? We know how every suppiers materials work on certain jobs. We are members of the ACI and we receive any new information about products that we can make available to our customers. Irene has been certified by the PSI and Don with The National Assessment Institute. Without any question, we are on top of any new information that makes our product better.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. We are looking forward to a better fiberglass product for reinforcement. Fiberglass is already 4 times as strong as steel. We are looking for new products from Proline and Matcrete. We like the split face profiles and we like the synthetic admixtures that are being developed now... Anytime something new comes out, we have our eyes open. We are really looking forward to plyable concrete. That will be the next innovation. Elastic concrete. I will be first in line for something that works. Hopefully, it will be from spomething that can be recycled.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. We like to look at every job. Access is a factor. We look at every job and give a written bid, Job costing is by far the most fair. We provide concrete pumping and other outside services at cost. We get a certain price for these services and we just pass the cost savings on to you, at cost. We are confident and even allow you the opportunity to pay for the service directly to the various contractors. We work with the very best in the business, so don't have a second thought.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. I have worked hundreds of people and many went on to begin there own business. If you really want to learn a trade? We offer a decent apprenticeship program. We are double breasted and every minute counts. You have to be an American Citizen, pass a drug test, provide a drivers license abstract and pass a background check. If you meet these requirements, we would really like to have a talk.. Give us a call. We are always looking for someone worthwhile.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. I see a lot of people advertising concrete on the craiglist, Why should you hire us vs them?
I suggest looking on the L&I web site and you will see that the majority of these contractors have been doing business less than 6 months. The ads are basically a bunch of words. Although, there are a few contactors that advertise their work that have many years and do perfectly good work. Do your homework!!