7 Secrets Report: What to Know When Hiring a Concrete Contractor - BuildPro Concrete St. Louis

Read Before You Buy: How to Hire the Best Concrete Contractor

Not all driveways are created equal. And not all concrete driveway contractors are either. Inferior work will cost you more in the long run just as will over paying. Read this report and learn some shocking ways disreputable and bargain-basement contractors cheat their customers. And learn what really goes into a quality concrete driveway, patio or pool deck so that yours looks as beautiful ten years from now as it does the day it’s installed.

Topics Covered

The "Sure, we do that too and we do it better than anyone" Myth

Contractors who try to do everything do nothing as well as those contractors who specialize.

The "We've Got Plenty of Insurance" Myth

Contractors all say they have insurance. There's one way to know for sure: Make them prove it.

The "Quality of the Concrete Is all that Matters" Myth

Many factors go into the quality and durability of your concrete project. The concrete is only one factor.

The "Wire Mesh is Just as Good as Rebar" Myth

To save money and cut corners, shoddy concrete contractors don't use rebar. Missouri's climate needs rebar.

The "Size (thickness of the pour) Doesn't Matter" Myth

One of the main areas low cost concrete contractors shave costs is by not pouring as thick as they should.

The "We Don't Clean Up...that's your job" Myth

Low-cost contractors don't clean up after themselves. They don't backfill. They leave a mess for you.

The "You don't need sealer for new concrete" Myth

Failure to seal the types of concrete that require sealing is yet another trick low-ball contractors employ.

Bonus: Special Finishes Add Value and Save Money

Stamped, stained, and expose aggregate concrete saves money on maintenance and adds resale value.

Readers say

My wife and I know almost nothing about concrete, so when we needed a new driveway, we did a Google search like most people. When we found the Insider’s Report on BuildPro’s website, it gave us a big head start on what questions to ask and how to evaluate the different contractors who gave us bids. Definitely worth the ten minute read.

Paul S. Hughes

Creve Coeur

John Woodley Daughter
With most things in life, the cheapest price is rarely the best value, and that’s true with concrete as well. When shopping for a concrete contractor to complete a stamped patio and pool deck for our new house, the 7 Tips on Hiring a Concrete Contractor helped us quickly eliminate all but the few companies that would do quality work.

Anthony Pace

Town and Country

Insider Secret No. 1

MYTH: Choosing the lowest bid will save you money and choosing the highest bid will get you the highest quality.

Neither aspect of this two part misconception is true. If you aren’t already familiar with a particular contractor, then it’s always a good idea to get at least a couple bids. But thinking that the lowest bid you’ve gotten is the best deal, whether in the short-term or the long-term, is often a big, and ultimately, costly mistake.

Likewise, the opposite is often just as big of a fallacy. Just because a company gives a high bid does not mean that company does the best, highest quality work. 

Some small companies give the lowest bids because they have the lowest overhead. This low overhead is because they have inferior equipment, don’t carry liability insurance, cut corners wherever they can, and fail to stand behind their work when the inevitable customer support issue arises.

By the same logic, a high bid does not always mean you’re dealing with a higher quality contractor. Sometimes you’re just dealing with a company that over charges and hopes to find enough customers who are either naive or too busy to do proper comparisons.

At BuildPro Concrete, as the name suggests, we specialize in concrete. But to be more accurate, we specialize in flatwork and foundations. These include driveways, steps and sidewalks, retaining walls and foundations, patios, pools and pool-decks.

As one of the largest residential concrete companies in the St. Louis area, we are fortunate to have had the ability to invest in newer and better equipment, to have our own shop with a two acre yard at our headquarters in St. Ann where we are able to store our own rock, rebar and materials — a benefit in savings from economy of scale that benefits both us and our customers.

Additionally, we carry a full $2 million liability insurance policy to protect ourselves and our customers from any unforeseen events or accidents.

And as an established company with a great work environment, we enjoy the ability to hire the best concrete finishers in the industry, folks who know how to do great, high quality work and do it efficiently.

For these reasons, we rarely are the lowest bid. But neither are we the highest bid. We work week in and week out to be the best at what we do so that our customers are satisfied the week we finish and ten years later. We believe in providing the highest quality of work for each and every customer at a fair price, never cutting corners.

Insider Secret No. 2

MYTH: All contractors must, and do, carry adequate liability insurance to protect their clients from potential financial disaster that can result from damage to your property or injury to workers on your property.

Industry statistics reveal an unsettling and potentially disastrous reality: Less than 35% of the contractors operating today carry ANY insurance at all.

So, what does this mean to me?

When hiring a contractor and his team to do any type of construction project on your property, you open yourself up to two major types of financial risk. The first type is damage to your property.

Example: A worker, when backing up the concrete truck, accidentally backs into the corner of your home and demolishes two walls and part of your roof. An accident like this can easily result in tens of thousands of dollars of damage. If the contractor has no insurance, or has inadequate insurance to cover the damages, then you could be left responsible for the costs of repair.

The second type of risk is injury. If a worker injures himself on your property, and the company doesn’t have the proper insurance, then you could be held responsible for his medical bills, lost wages, and any additional damages that the lawyers and courts can add. This can be ruinous financially.

Make sure to check that your contractor has the right types of insurance, and the proper amounts to cover the worst case scenarios.

At BuildPro Concrete Inc., we take the care of your property and the safety of everyone who may be on the job-site very seriously. We educate our workers on proper job-site safety protocols, and we carry more insurance than the legal minimum so that you have the peace of mind to know that you are protected.

As part of any job we begin, you will be provided with a copy of our current insurance information.

TRUTH: Many contractors, especially the “lowest bid” bargain variety, do not carry adequate insurance to protect you. But BuildPro Concrete does. We worry so you don’t have to.

Insider Secret No. 3

MYTH: Choosing the lowest bid will save you money and choosing the highest bid will get you the highest quality.

Neither aspect of this two part misconception is true. If you aren’t already familiar with a particular contractor, then it’s always a good idea to get at least a couple bids. But thinking that the lowest bid you’ve gotten is the best deal, whether in the short-term or the long-term, is often a big, and ultimately, costly mistake.

Likewise, the opposite is often just as big of a fallacy. Just because a company gives a high bid does not mean that company does the best, highest quality work. 

Some small companies give the lowest bids because they have the lowest overhead. This low overhead is because they have inferior equipment, don’t carry liability insurance, cut corners wherever they can, and fail to stand behind their work when the inevitable customer support issue arises.

By the same logic, a high bid does not always mean you’re dealing with a higher quality contractor. Sometimes you’re just dealing with a company that over charges and hopes to find enough customers who are either naive or too busy to do proper comparisons.

At BuildPro Concrete, as the name suggests, we specialize in concrete. But to be more accurate, we specialize in flatwork and foundations. These include driveways, steps and sidewalks, retaining walls and foundations, patios, pools and pool-decks.

As one of the largest residential concrete companies in the St. Louis area, we are fortunate to have had the ability to invest in newer and better equipment, to have our own shop with a two acre yard at our headquarters in St. Ann where we are able to store our own rock, rebar and materials — a benefit in savings from economy of scale that benefits both us and our customers.

Additionally, we carry a full $2 million liability insurance policy to protect ourselves and our customers from any unforeseen events or accidents.

And as an established company with a great work environment, we enjoy the ability to hire the best concrete finishers in the industry, folks who know how to do great, high quality work and do it efficiently.

For these reasons, we rarely are the lowest bid. But neither are we the highest bid. We work week in and week out to be the best at what we do so that our customers are satisfied the week we finish and ten years later. We believe in providing the highest quality of work for each and every customer at a fair price, never cutting corners.

Insider Secret No. 4

MYTH: All contractors carry adequate liability insurance to protect their clients from potential financial disaster resulting from damage to property or worker injury.

Industry statistics reveal an unsettling and potentially disastrous reality: Less than 35% of the contractors operating today carry ANY insurance at all.

So, what does this mean to me?

When hiring a contractor and his team to do any type of construction project on your property, you open yourself up to two major types of financial risk. The first type is damage to your property.

Example: A worker, when backing up the concrete truck, accidentally backs into the corner of your home and demolishes two walls and part of your roof. An accident like this can easily result in tens of thousands of dollars of damage. If the contractor has no insurance, or has inadequate insurance to cover the damages, then you could be left responsible for the costs of repair.

The second type of risk is injury. If a worker injures himself on your property, and the company doesn’t have the proper insurance, then you could be held responsible for his medical bills, lost wages, and any additional damages that the lawyers and courts can add. This can be ruinous financially.

Make sure to check that your contractor has the right types of insurance, and the proper amounts to cover the worst case scenarios.

At BuildPro Concrete Inc., we take the care of your property and the safety of everyone who may be on the job-site very seriously. We educate our workers on proper job-site safety protocols, and we carry more insurance than the legal minimum so that you have the peace of mind to know that you are protected.

As part of any job we begin, you will be provided with a copy of our current insurance information.

TRUTH: Many contractors, especially the “lowest bid” bargain variety, do not carry adequate insurance to protect you. But BuildPro Concrete does. We worry so you don’t have to.

BuildPro Concrete Saint Louis Logo

Authors spotlight

As President and Founder of BuildPro Concrete Inc., Craig Allan Teich has been working in the construction and real estate development industry in a variety of capacities over the last twenty-five years. As a graduate of Washington University’s Olin School of Business, it was through his collaborations with his nephew, Derrick Reeves, a veteran of the concrete industry for the last twenty years, that Craig first ventured into the concrete industry.

He and Derrick have co-authored this report in an attempt to educate and empower the consumer to make wise choices when selecting a contractor.

Craig Allan Teich & Derrick Reeves

Insider Secret No. 5

MYTH: Size doesn’t matter (in this case, the thickness of your concrete). Don't believe it.

It doesn’t take a multi-stage atmospheric-escaping rear-mounted propulsion engineer — a.k.a. a rocket scientist — to understand that a thicker concrete slab will last longer, and better withstand the demands from weather and heavy-vehicle traffic, than a thin slab. Nor does it require Einstein’s smarter cousin to realize that sub-standard contractors will shave costs by pouring thinner concrete.

Unscrupulous contractors save money by shorting the thickness of the concrete which leads to more cracking and sooner failure.

Yes, we know this hardly qualifies as a secret, but it’s worth mentioning because disreputable contractors are famous for short-pouring their concrete because they know that two or three or four years down the line,

when your driveway or patio has turned into something resembling the Moon’s surface, that they will be long gone, probably down in Florida running the same scam on other innocent consumers.

At BuildPro Concrete, you can know two things with full confidence:

First, we always pour our concrete at industry-leading depths to insure quality and durability for years to come.

And second, the founders of BuildPro Concrete are born and raised in St. Louis. Our family and friends live here. We go to church here. Our kids probably play little league with yours.

We have nothing without our reputation, so quality and your satisfaction are our only priority. Our business does well year after year only by making each customer so satisfied that they would hire us again, and recommend us to their friends and neighbors.

TRUTH: Size does matter. For satisfaction that lasts, don’t get short-changed on size.

Insider Secret No. 6

MYTH: It’s not your contractor’s job to clean up the mess they made. You should expect to do a lot of cleaning up after your contractor has finished and left. That’s just normal. (Nope, not normal!)

Professionalism should be the standard, not the unexpected exception that it too often is these days. Proper clean up of your property, the street, and surrounding areas after the job is finished does a lot to distinguish the professional contractor from the amateurs.

Too often, workers finish the primary aspect of a job, and are then so eager to get their money and move on that they fail to clean up the mess that is invariably a part of any construction project.

 

While you shouldn’t expect the concrete contractor to clean up after other trades that may be working on a job site, you should expect them to clean up after themselves. This is just as true on a daily basis as it is at the end of the job.

Clean up is part of the job of every respectable, and respectful, concrete driveway contractor. It’s not okay for clean-up responsibilities to be left to you, the customer. Request any contractor who you are considering hiring to explain in detail what procedures they have for cleaning up and repairing any damage that’s been done to lawns, landscaping, streets, etc.

At BuildPro Concrete, we are not finished, nor do we expect final payment, until everything has been cleaned up, lawns repaired, and streets cleaned.

TRUTH: Contractors who are committed to professionalism, from the moment the job starts to long after the job is finished, will leave the worksite cleaner than they found it.

Insider Secret No. 7

MYTH: Concrete sealer is an unnecessary up-charge that concrete contractors use to squeeze a little more money out of me. The concrete contractor who tells me not to worry about sealer is being nice and saving me money.*

A sub-standard concrete contractor will often skip sealing your new concrete project in order to make a low-ball bid. Failing to include sealing your new *stamped and stained or exposed aggregate concrete driveway, patio, pool-deck, or sidewalk after the job is complete is a great way to shorten the life of your concrete.

Always make sure to verify that sealing is included in any bid you receive. And if the contractor tries to convince you that sealer isn’t necessary for these types of concrete, nicely thank them for their time, and send them on their way.

*Sealer is required for all stamped and stained concrete projects, as well as any exposed aggregate concrete surfaces. Sealer is not required for standard broom finished concrete.

TIP: Sealer must be applied at least one week after the concrete has been poured. The concrete needs this time to properly dry and set so that the sealer fully bonds with the concrete. Applying the sealer too soon reduces its effectiveness considerably.

At BuildPro Concrete Inc., sealer is always included in the scope of work, with the exception of standard broom finish. We insist on sealing all new concrete installations because sealer protects against the harsh St. Louis weather, protects against snow-melting salt, improves durability, and keeps your concrete’s color from fading much longer than without.

TRUTH: Concrete sealer is the single best thing you can do to protect your investment and keep your driveway looking beautiful each season, year after year.

Bonus Insider Tip

MYTH: Designer concrete finishes such as stamped, stained, decorative borders, or exposed aggregates are a waste of money.

Quite the contrary: Designer concrete finishes add beauty, lower maintenance, boost curb-appeal, and increase resale value when compared to the most basic concrete finishes.

Stamped, stained, and expose aggregate concrete saves money on maintenance and adds resale value. The truth is that concrete comes in many varieties from the most basic to high-end, high-design finishes. So, what does this mean to me?

It means that if you have fallen in love with a design ideal that can only be achieved with a stamped and stained concrete, or one of the beautiful exposed aggregates, choosing one of these finishes is not just an expensive indulgence.

Not only do you get the pride and enjoyment that comes from achieving the exact design of your concrete that adds to and compliments the aesthetics of your home, but you also lower maintenance (stamped and stained concrete that 

is properly sealed is easier to clean and resists both discoloration and aging), and you add value to your home in the same way that a wonderful remodel of a kitchen or bath does.

Remember, your driveway and front approach is the first thing people see when they arrive at your home. Making a great first impression never goes out of style.

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