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  • Chris Raichle

Budgeting Your Concrete Project

You have ambitions to get some concrete work done. Where do you start? What will the project cost? Who can reliably get the project done? It can be overwhelming and uncertain knowing where to start. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are a plethora of options and circumstances that affect the pricing of the work. Some of these can include but are not limited to; accessibility of the work area, finish type, overall scope of work to be done, reinforcement, etc. Here are some steps to follow to simplify the project and ensure accurate pricing.

1. Plan the Project

It is important to take the time and effort to plan the project. It is not expected that every little thing is known, but there are key things that should be pre-determined before taking the next step. Properly pre-planning a project can aid in keeping a project on budget and minimize unforeseen extra charges. Here are some tips to aid in the planning phase of your project.

- Establish the result that you are looking for. Know the size, shape, and general

scope of what you are looking for. It is a good idea to have a couple options if

there are obstacles or limitations. The estimator should be able to assist with

some of the details when you are ready for that step.

- Keep an eye on the details. Details are what can severely throw off a budget for a project. Something to keep in mind is that more labor and materials used will

equal more cost. For example, you are planning to replace your back patio. Will

the dirt level need to be raised or lowered? Will there be a thick edge on the

edge of the patio due to grade? Will a pump be needed? These are just to

name a few but are common items that add to cost.

2. Establish a Preliminary Budget

This is valuable to estimate to know that you’re prepared for the costs associated with a project. Concrete is expensive and generally requires time to prepare. Estimates are only valid for a short period of time. We all know how volatile the markets have been and how much something as simple as the grocery bill has gone up. The same thing applies to construction materials and labor. Ray’s 4 Seasons Concrete also has

financing options available with as little as zero down. As stated earlier, there are many

variables that affect the end price. However, you can expect to pay anywhere between

$7-$12 per square foot for a standard slab pour. This is a general figure, but gives you

a starting point to work from as there are virtually an unlimited number of variables that can affect the price. Make sure you have extra planned in the budget for any

unforeseen circumstances that can add to the cost. Even if it doesn’t get used, maybe

you can apply that toward that beach vacation you have been wanting. Either way,

better to have some reserves than to come up short.

Keep in mind that even if the original project is over budget, there are options to reduce costs. You could take on some of the prep work like tearing out the old concrete, removing landscaping, or adding or removing excess fill. A person could also revisit the design and layout. Reducing square footage or lowering a patio could save big. Simply put, the easier it can be made, the cheaper it will generally be. However, placing concrete is a highly specialized skill and is always advised to be left to professionals.

3. Get Estimates

Now you’re ready to move forward on your project, and it’s onto the next step. We

always recommend that you get multiple quotes from different contractors for the work, usually 3-5 will suffice. This is where step 1 becomes important. Without knowing

exactly what your wanting, costs could be missing from the estimate. Knowing the

general aspects of what is wanted and what is needed to achieve this will aid in

ensuring costs are captured in the estimate process. As a contractor, we cannot

estimate what we don’t know. This is also where the contractor your meeting with about the project should be clarifying a lot of these details. It won’t be possible for a

contractor to go through every possible detail, but painting that picture is crucial for an

accurate estimate.

4. Review Estimates

This is where, as a customer, details matter. It is important to understand what the

contractor has included in their price. The cheapest price is not always the best price.

Here at Ray’s 4 Seasons Concrete, we pride ourselves on transparency in our

estimating. You will know exactly what is included in the price. We also put in the time

and energy to completely understand your project, key details that are important to you, and help ensure all details are worked through. This is all to ensure we are capturing and estimating all the costs we can so you can stay within the estimated amount. However, the estimate is just that, an estimate for the work to be done.

5. Select Your Contractor

Now it’s time to select the contractor you would like to do the work. There are many factors to consider when choosing the contractor to do the work, outside of just price. Take the time to think back to the start. Was the contractor timely in setting up the estimate? How did the walkthrough with the contractor go? Did the contractor show attention to detail to understanding you and your project? Did you receive the estimate in a timely manner? Has the contractor done any follow-ups with you regarding the estimate or additional questions to clarify items? Did the estimate include everything discussed? Are there differences between the estimates? What does your gut say?

Once this decision is made, it’s time to get going on your project and reap the rewards!

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