You want to have some concrete done but you aren’t sure how much it should cost. You can call, email or message some contractors in your area but it is often found that it is hard to get contractors to come and look at what you want done and even harder to get a price for it.
This situation occurs for a few reasons:
Every job is different and if your job has no engineered plans opinions on what your job needs in it will vary from contractor to contractor.
Some contractors are too busy or do not like spending the time to come and look at your job, or they are comfortable enough with their pricing to just give you a rate over the phone.
The concrete industry, especially the household market, can be very competitive so prices can vary widely leaving you unsure who is too expensive and who is too cheap.
So how can you get a quick price for your job and how can you get an accurate price for your job?
The Quick Price
For a contractor to give you a quick “ballpark” price for a job, they need to know a couple of things.
First, the area of the concrete to be done. Take the time to accurately measure your job and have the area in square metres to tell the contractor.
Next, the thickness of the concrete. Mainly if you are doing a driveway that will have heavy vehicle access you should have a thicker slab. Some rural properties may get water trucks in occasionally, or if you plan to do future construction works at the same site you might want to accommodate for heavy vehicles. The concrete amount makes up between 20-30% of the job price at 100mm thick, so thickening beyond that will affect the price noticably and is not something the contractor can absorb unless he is making a sizeable profit to start with.
Finally, the type of finish you want. Most plain concrete finishes shouldn’t affect pricing much but if you want coloured concrete or a decorative finish including exposed aggregate, covercrete, stained, stamped or ground concrete it will push the price up substantially due to the cost of the products used as well as the need for additional labour to produce the desired result.
If you call a contractor, make sure you have these 3 elements written down and they should be able to quickly work out a ballpark square metre rate for you.
A More Accurate Price
Gaining a ballpark figure for your job is a good start and it may also help you decide whether to go ahead with your project or not. It may be that you find the works you planned are beyond your budget or you may need to gain additional finances for your job that you didn’t expect at first.
Once you are ready to go further with your job you can ask contractors to do a site visit. This allows the customer to meet potential contractors and perhaps gain some advice on things they may not have considered.
Gaining a ballpark figure for your job is a good start. Once you are ready to go further, ask contractors to do a site visit.
The contractor can survey the site and check things like access limitations, height differences of existing structures that may affect the project, existing service locations etc. which will all contribute to making an accurate pricing for your job. If your job has engineered plans you need to supply a copy (either hard copy on paper, or email a PDF) to the contractor.
The contractor should be able to send a price within a week of site visit unless they tell you otherwise.
You should try to get at least 3 contractors to give you a price like this and compare them. The contractors should be able to tell you or put on their pricing what materials are included in the price. The aim is to ensure you are comparing apples with apples for the price. As mentioned above, especially for jobs without engineered plans, opinions on what is required can vary between contractors. If your job is not designed by an engineer it’s your decision as to what you think is fairly required in your job.
The last step is to decide if you want to go ahead with the job.
Contact the contractors that priced for you and let them know yes or no in regard to their price.
Contractors will appreciate this as it brings a finish to the process and they are not left wondering about your job.
If you feel comfortable giving further reason and the contractor welcomes additional feedback you may like to let them know why you made your decision. You can also use online reviews if the business has them.