Concrete Pump Trucks: How They Save You Time & Money [plus a ton of work!]
Updated: Aug 24
If you work on a concrete crew or have helped with a concrete pour, you know that it’s back-breaking work!
You need to place rebar, heft wheelbarrows of cement over uneven terrain, rake and smooth the concrete, and more.
You might also be familiar with the precarious nature of wet cement. As soon as the concrete arrives, it’s a race against the clock!
Ready to start turning out quality concrete jobs in no time at all? Let’s take a look at how you can do that.
What is Concrete Pumping?
A regular concrete mixer truck can’t get concrete into all the hard-to-reach places. This means that you have to cart the wet concrete around in wheelbarrows to get it in all the corners.
That’s both back-breaking and time-consuming!
Thankfully, there is a solution:
A pump truck is a machine that can pump wet concrete into all the nooks and crannies of your job site that mixer trucks can’t reach, saving you valuable time and effort.
A pump truck can easily move concrete over, under, around, and through obstacles and pour it quickly and accurately, helping you maximize your time.
Types of Pump Trucks
There are two main kinds of pump trucks: Boom pumps and Line pumps.
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Boom Pumps
Boom pumps use a remote-controlled robotic arm (or boom) attached to a truck or trailer to move large volumes of concrete quickly and accurately. There is a pipe attached to the boom for the concrete to flow through. A boom pump is like a crane that can move concrete over obstacles and up to second stories.
The truck or trailer has a hopper on the back where concrete mixers can unload their concrete. The hopper churns the concrete with an auger to keep it liquid, and the concrete goes through a grate before it enters the pump to filter out large chunks that could cause a clog.
A boom pump generally stays in one place for the entire pour. The stationary location of a boom pump allows for efficient traffic flow.
Boom pumps can pump a high volume of concrete quickly, and can easily move concrete vertically as well as horizontally. Because of this, they are better for large jobs such as industrial projects and high-rise buildings. They are great for filling up large concrete forms quickly and maximizing efficient traffic flow on a bustling job site.
2. Line Pumps
Line pumps (sometimes known as ground pumps) are also trailer or truck-mounted. Line pumps use a series of steel or rubber hoses to place concrete in hard-to-reach spots. You can snake the hose along the ground to get around corners or down into ditches.
Line pumps work similarly to boom pumps only without the robotic arm. Both types of concrete pumps use twin cylinder hydraulic pumps to move concrete from the hopper to the pipe/hose to the prepared destination.
Unlike boom pumps, line pumps can’t do big jobs with large amounts of concrete. They are more suited for smaller jobs such as swimming pools, patios, low-rise construction, and sidewalks.
However, some larger line pumps can reach hundreds of meters away from the truck and can work for tunneling jobs or high-rise construction.
3. Conveyor Trucks
A conveyor truck is an alternative to a pump truck. Conveyor trucks have long conveyor belts on them to move concrete and are less expensive than pump trucks.
Conveyor trucks only work for moving concrete horizontally, not vertically. A pump truck is better if you need to move concrete up and over an obstacle. However, pump trucks can only pump concrete, whereas conveyor trucks can move other materials such as dirt, gravel, small stone, and more.
Which type of pumping truck is best for you?
If you are:
Working on a big project
Working on a project with a second story
Working on a busy job site with lots of traffic
Need to move a lot of concrete quickly
Then a boom pump is your best bet.
If you are:
Working on a smaller project such as a swimming pool, patio, or sidewalk
Need to transport materials other than concrete
Need to transport concrete into a basement or through a house
Then a line pump is a better option for you.
Or if you:
Only need to transport concrete horizontally
Need to move coarser materials like gravel and stone
Then a conveyor truck may be your best option.
Pump Truck Operators
Skilled operators control concrete pump trucks. A pump truck is likely the largest, most complex, and most expensive piece of equipment on the job site, so operators have to be responsible and well-trained. Experienced operators can earn substantially higher wages than almost anyone else on the job site.
Operators are responsible for inspecting their trucks at the beginning of the day and safely setting up and operating their trucks on the job site. At the end of the day, they must clean their trucks and inspect them for the next day.
Operators must also work well with others and maintain friendly and professional relations with their contractors.
What to expect when you hire a pump truck
What does a day on the job look like for you if you hire a pump truck and operator?
The pump truck will arrive and the operator will prepare it for concrete pumping. They will need to find a good place to park the truck and stabilize it with outriggers. Then they will prime the pump, fill up the hopper with concrete, and start pumping.
The operator will work with your crew to deposit the concrete where it needs to go. The operator will control the boom with a remote control, and your team will work with the concrete as it comes out.
When the concrete pumping is finished, the operator will clean the pump and head out, leaving you to finish up the job.
Benefits of Concrete Pumping
Hiring a pump truck will make your concrete pour so much easier! In some cases, the job would be impossible without a pump truck.
Here are a few of the things that a pump truck will help you accomplish.
1. Move concrete past obstacles
Many construction sites are obstacle courses, with trash piles, lumber, equipment, and people to work around.
You can circumnavigate some obstacles with a mixer truck, skid steer, or wheelbarrow, but some are impossible to get around without a pump truck. After all, you can’t get a wheelbarrow over a wall!
And often the pour needs to take place in tough spots. Footers are usually in ditches, and sometimes you even need to get concrete up high on a second floor or a roof.
A pump truck makes it easy to transport concrete wherever you need it to go, all without the back-breaking labor of carting it by hand.
2. Avoid the time crunch
Have you experienced the panicked feeling of receiving your concrete too soon?
You were probably running around frantically trying to quickly get all the drying concrete into place before it solidified.
It’s a cement mason’s nightmare. Nothing is worse than getting in a time crunch!
Luckily, with the efficiency of a pump truck, it’s easy to get all your concrete poured and finished before it solidifies.
3. Save time
They say that time is money.
A pump truck will help you maximize your work time and get more done. Carting your concrete to all the corners in wheelbarrows takes considerable time and effort.
With a pump truck, you can avoid all that extra effort and efficiently complete the job.
4. Save money on labor and equipment
In addition to saving you time, pumping your concrete can also save you money, as a pump truck does the job of many employees.
If you don’t need to haul your concrete everywhere in wheelbarrows it doesn’t take as much labor to get the job done, so you’ll save money on wages.
You also won’t need to spend money on carting equipment such as wheelbarrows and skid steers.
5. Pour with precision
Sometimes a concrete mixer truck can deposit all the concrete in the right spot. But most of the time there is some corner it can’t reach. And then you have to start carting the concrete with wheelbarrows.
A pump truck can convey concrete to any spot you want with ease and precision. The operator can use their remote control to move the boom anywhere it needs to go with just the touch of a joystick.
More precision means less mess, too. You can deposit the concrete right where you want it, and nobody will be spilling wheelbarrows!
6. Fill tall forms with ease
Pump trucks are very handy if you are filling a tall form for a wall or a pillar. It can be almost impossible to pour concrete into a tall, narrow wall form.
A pump truck minimizes inconvenience and makes the pour simple and easy.
7. Keep trucks out of the mud
Most construction sites get muddy and messy. A heavy concrete truck can’t drive on soft ground or it will mire down. Nobody wants to pay for a tow truck to come and pull out a stuck concrete mixer.
A pump truck can stay on safe ground and pump concrete from afar with its specialized hoses or boom.
No tow truck needed!
Plus, keeping out of the mud helps you avoid making a mess out of paved roads, adjacent highways, and the areas around your clients’ homes. Your clients will thank you!
By now, you can see that hiring a concrete pumping truck can save you a lot of time, money, and stress!
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions that you may have about concrete pumping.
Frequently Asked Questions About Concrete Pumping
What does it cost to hire a pump truck?
Most concrete pumping companies charge by the hour. Prices may range from $150-$200 an hour. Most companies will have a minimum rental time, which is usually 3-4 hours.
Some companies will send an operator along with their truck free of charge and some will not. Some may charge for the addition of an operator. If you are not highly experienced, it’s best to get an operator.
In addition, you will also have to pay for the concrete that the truck pumps. Companies usually charge by the cubic yard. Mixed concrete usually costs around $125 per cubic yard.
Can you pump concrete in all weather?
Yes. You can pump concrete in the wind, sun, rain, or snow. You just need to take different safety precautions with different types of weather.
How far can a pump truck reach?
Line pumps can reach almost 500 ft. The boom on a boom pump can generally reach around 235 feet.
Pump trucks can come in different sizes, and you can also get additional extensions for some pump trucks.
Is pumped concrete weak?
For years, people believed that pumped concrete was weaker because it had to have more sand and less large aggregate in it to make it pumpable.
There are lots of factors that go into concrete strength. A pump mix may actually be a better product because it will have better gradation and possibly more cement in it.
Also, today’s pumps can pump almost any concrete mix, as long as it is an appropriate pump for the mix.
How fast does a pump truck pump concrete?
Some pumps can pump concrete at a rate of 30 to 100 cubic meters an hour. That’s much faster than carting it around by hand!
What about smaller pumps?
If you don’t need a full-blown pump truck, there are smaller, portable concrete pumps that you could rent or buy.
If you are a small concrete business, you could look into these.
You may also be interested in our blog post on 23 Tools Every Concrete Contractor Needs.
As you can see, concrete pumping can save you a lot of time and trouble on the job site.
At Gra-Rock, we don’t think that anyone should have to go through the panicked feeling of being in a time crunch.
That’s why we offer quality concrete pumping services and reliable operators that will meet your needs.
We also offer:
Plus, it’s easy to work with us.
Schedule your service
Enjoy on-time fulfillment!
We promise that we will deliver on time with no hidden fees.
Contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you.