Because a concrete boom pump can be a $300,000 to $1 million equipment investment, you need to weigh your options carefully before you buy. Should you buy a pump to improve your efficiency and get more work? Should you consider starting a separate pumping division to hedge your bet by creating a new revenue stream? Or should you use an established pumper's services and forget about using your own pump?

Based on interviews with several concrete contractors, article reveals that any of these options can be profitable. Making the right decision depends on the volume of pumping work that's available and whether you want to cut costs, increase revenues or do some of both. For example, a highly successful Midwestern poured-wall contractor purchased a pump to cut costs, increase productivity, and extend the construction season. By pumping all concrete for footings, walls, and flatwork, his company can build four to six times as many concrete basements daily as his competitors. Another contractor in Cleveland, Ohio, uses pumping contractors extensively, even though he also operates a 28- and 32-meter pump nearly every working day. The reasons: The pours may exceed his pumps' placing capacities or reach, and sometimes the pumps are scheduled at other sites. In these situations, he finds it more economical to use a pumping service's unit.