Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Business Spotlight: Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC

Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC was the business spotlight of this month's Safety Council in Urbana, Ohio. Below is the presentation given to the local businesses in attendance. We are "Your Quality Concrete Contractor" and here is why:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ask the Concrete Expert - Control joints

Why do concrete contractors put saw cuts or tool joints in the concrete? These are called control or contraction joints.  All concrete has the potential to crack but these joints between sections of concrete are strategically placed to "control" the cracking, thus the name of control joints.  The joints can either be cut with a concrete saw soon after the concrete has been placed, or they can be tooled into the concrete with a special concrete tool called a groover. Joints can also occur when placement has stopped for the day and continues the next day, typically found in larger projects.

Are these joints required? No. But there is a good chance your concrete will crack due to earth movement, temperature variation, concrete curing, etc. Wouldn't you rather have a straight line than a random, squiggly crack?

So if you see this term on your proposal for concrete work, you know that the contractor is taking the correct measures to control the cracking. Our tag line at Yoder Concrete Construction used to be "WE CONTROL OUR CRACKS." While very catchy and appropriate for our industry in more than one way, we decided upon something a little more professional. We now use "YOUR QUALITY CONCRETE CONTRACTOR."  But we do still control our cracks. =)

If you have any questions for the concrete experts, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.
Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Placing concrete driveways in Ohio & the Midwest

Good morning! I just returned from a "photoshoot" as the photographer of the guys placing a concrete sidewalk and garage apron for a homeowner. It is going to look great, and I can't wait to see the finished product. It is regular concrete with a broom finish, pretty standard, but with a stenciled border. The homeowner's choice of stencil was a keystone pattern. The colors are Brickform color hardeners of Terra Cotta with a hint of Cappuccino, which will perfectly pull out the stone on the porch. The stone is opposite; more of a cappuccino color with a hint of terra cotta. I will have to return with pictures of the final product. Don't let me forget!

Part of the reason for my post is to warn you about placing a driveway past the middle of October. This will be our last driveway/apron placement for the year. Even though the homeowners can drive on their new apron in 10 days, (allowing it time to cure enough before driving on it for this time of year,) it really is still curing for many days to follow. At temperatures just above freezing, fresh concrete hardens very slowly.  However, concrete made and cast at low temperatures may eventually be stronger and more durable than concrete made during warm weather provided it is cured long enough and does not freeze. In this initial few months, the concrete is more susceptible to damage caused by salts and deicers, and this can include road salts dropped from vehicles.

"Owners should not use salt or other deicers during the first winter, especially if concrete was placed after mid September and was not air dried and sealed." (As stated in a brochure from the Ohio Ready Mixed Concrete Association. We suggest using sand instead to improve traction. Or a trick we have found helpful is to clear the snow immediately after falling and before foot or auto traffic has packed it down. The sun and air will do it's magic and clear any remaining snow very quickly. NEVER use any deicer that contains either ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate (fertilizers.) It will react with the concrete and cause damage.

Thanks to our friends at Ohio Ready Mix for delivering the concrete today. It is great to work with another quality company!

Blessings to you and your family. I hope to talk to you again soon! Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Satisfied business in Union County

A recent industrial customer in Union County sent this note via email. "I wanted to pass along my thoughts on the recent work Yoder Concrete performed (for us.) I am very pleased with the outcome of the concrete work, it looks nice and was done in a timely fashion, given the tight work environment of the small building they had to work in. We will definitely contact you for future concrete considerations." Thank you to Bud for the good words and for the business. We look forward to working with them in the future. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Control joints control cracking - most of the time

Cracks in concrete are a sore subject for any concrete contractor. No one likes to see in cracks in their concrete. Sometimes customers want a guarantee that their concrete won't crack.  So what can we do about it?
First of all there is a good chance that your concrete will crack. With the settling and movement of the earth and the freezing & thawing here in Ohio, there is a much better chance of cracking than not. We would be more likely to guarantee that you will get a crack than not. Does that make us a bad concrete contractor and that we don't know what we are doing? Absolutely not. Please keep reading.

Cracks followed he tooled control joints
The first thing a good contractor like Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC will do is to make sure the concrete is placed on a mechanically compacted based. We typically use a gravel or limestone mixed with dust that compacts very well.

The next thing to do is not preventing cracks, but controlling them with control joints.

Control joints are strategically placed cuts, expansion strips or lines tooled into the concrete with the intent that any cracking that might occur in the slab will follow these weakened joints. They are placed at predetermined locations based upon the thickness and width of the slab or often at corner or posts. In the picture above, you might be able to see that a crack followed the joint that the contractor placed in the concrete sidewalk. The crack is hidden in the joint and not greatly visible to the eye. In the absence of the control joint, the crack would have been very random and visibly distracting.

Does the crack always follow the control joint?  Unfortunately no. See the picture above. I had to take this picture. I was amazed. There are three control joints at the corner of this sidewalk, and the crack chose to randomly take its own path. Was this the fault of the contractor? Not at all. Cracks will do their own thing. We can only do our best to control them.

Occasionally we will have a customer that does not want control joints in their concrete. That is an acceptable decision, but they need to remember that there is always a chance of cracking, and it will occur randomly. The sidewalk shown above is stamped in a random stone pattern with a solid border. Because of the random pattern, the customer chose not to put a straight line in the walk. A control joint would not have prevented the crack, but would have hidden the crack in a straight line. 

I hope this post clarifies concrete cracking and what we do about it. Do you still have questions? Please let me know. I'd love to hear your opinion on this!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Concrete pavement placed in Marion, OH

Job complete! Our guys did a great job up in Marion, OH at the Bunge NA plant replacing existing asphalt and concrete pavement that had seen its better days. Eight inches of concrete was placed over a steel reinforced and compacted stone base for a run of about 422 feet long. They placed 217 cubic yards of concrete in three days. I hear the semi truck drivers think they are on a runway now!

I want to thank our primary suppliers for this project: Hensel Ready Mix for supplying the concrete, White Cap Construction Supply for supplying and delivering the steel, cure and other materials, Concrete Coring Company and Smith Materials for assisting with the removal process of the existing pavement. A thank you, also, to Mark Pardi at Ohio Concrete for the prospectus on the job as shown above. Go Concrete!

Great job to our employees and all of those involved. They worked their tails off in the 90 degree heat and high humidity, and then went right into another similar job at Midwest Express near Marysville. Kudos to all!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank God it's Monday!

As Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC moves through its 19th year in business, we continue to look at who we are as a business and how we can improve what we do. In each business meeting we have this year, it seems our biggest need right now is on improving our business procedures and the business we are in called "serving people." Yes, we place concrete, and do a great job of it, but if we didn't have people as customers and as employees, we wouldn't be in business. We appreciate each and every person with which we come in contact. Do they know that?

The struggle is how to show that appreciation. It is too easy to push forward to the next bid, the next project, paying that stack of invoices... How often do we all get caught up in running our business without stopping to say "Thank you! You are appreciated!" I think business owners as a whole do a better job at thanking their customers for their business, whether it is through a thank you card or just verbalizing the words after a sale, but do we do a good job at thanking out employees for the work that they do?

This past winter I started reading a book entitled, Thank God It's Monday, by Roxanne Emmerich. It was recommended to me by Kip at Peachtree Books & Company in Bellefontaine, OH. The book cover touts "How to create a workplace you and your customers love." It is an easy read, but as business started picking up, I put the book aside and moved on to more important things...What?! More important things?...What is more important that our employees and our customers? I have pulled this book back out and started reading again.

We want to make Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC, a place where people enjoy coming to work, and yes, even on Mondays. How do we do it? That is what I am seeking. With the economy being down and our employment level being down from what it was a few years ago, now is the time to review and make changes without upsetting too many apple carts. But that is also part of the problem. If you don't make changes, you will always be the same. We don't want to be the same. We want to improve.

Do you have any time weathered suggestions on how you show appreciation to customer and especially employees that are truly appreciated? What has your employer done for you that made you feel appreciated on an ongoing basis? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Contractor

The March /April 2010 edition of the BBB Beacon, The Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio's newsletter, had an article entitled Things to Consider Before You Hire a Contractor. It is very well written and offers great advice, so I am going to paraphrase it for you.

1) Before hiring a contractor, make sure you obtain written estimates based upon the same building specs, materials and time frame.

2) Do not automatically choose the lowest bid; identify the reasons why one bid may
be lower than another. Professionalism and quality workmanship should weigh heavily in your decision.

3) Insist on a written contract making sure all the promises and agreements are in writing. The contract should include a written description of the work to be done, starting and completion dates, the costs, payment schedule, any warranties or guarantees and clean-up after the job. The contract should note specific products, style numbers and colors when possible. If the contract was signed in your home with the contractor present, you have three days to change your mind and cancel the contract.

4) Be skeptical of those companies who solicit busine
ss door to door offering you a low price because they have left over supplies or try to pressure you to make a decision on the spot.

5) Make sure the contractor is licensed to complete the type of work they are selling and make sure you have the necessary permits to comply with your area regulations. Permits, l
icensing and registration requirements vary from city to city and county to county. Contact your local building registration office or city licensing board for the necessary requirements before hiring a contractor.

I recommend you visit the Better Business Bureau website to check out your chosen contractor before you sign a contract. Visit and enter your zip code to find the BBB nearest you. We are accredited through the Central Ohio office. Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC has an A+ rating with the BBB, meaning we are complaint free with them. Another great site to visit is their blog at

Do you have any horror stories of a contractor that you wish you hadn't hired? Share your
story to warn others what to avoid. I'd love to hear from you. Happy contractor shopping!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Certification at Yoder Concrete Construction!

On March 18, 2010, Co-owner and President, Jeff Yoder, went to Beavercreek Ohio to attend the Ohio Ready Mixed Concrete Association's Residential Flatwork training. There was a class in the morning and then an exam after lunch to test him on his knowledge of placing residential flatwork. (Just to clarify, flatwork to a concrete person refers to any concrete placed horizontally, such as a driveway, sidewalk, patio, garage floor, etc.) Those persons who scored 70% or higher on the exam received a certificate stating that they had "successfully demonstrated the fundamental knowledge of the Residential Concrete Flatwork Course and (are) hereby acknowledged as a Certified Residential Concrete Flatwork Finisher." Having placed concrete flatwork for many years, and also already being an ACI Certified Flatwork Finisher, Jeff didn't have any trouble completing this exam and actually scored a 100% on the exam. He also received a nice jacket that has "Certified Finisher" embroidered on it. Congratulations on this achievement, Jeff!

I would also like to take this time to introduce you to Jon Alspaugh. He started with Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC on March 8, 2010 as our Project Estimator / Project Superintendent. He has extensive background in industrial services, project estimating and supervision. He shares the vision that we have for our company and is striving to build relationships with existing customers as well as develop new relationships to move us forward in this challenging economy.

I hope you are enjoying the spring weather God has given us. May you be blessed this day and beyond.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Logo: An easy way to increase branding

Are you looking for an easy and fairly inexpensive way to get potential customers to remember you? Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you have a logo - simple and memorable - that customers will recognize right away as YOU? You want it to be clean and easy to recognize from a distance. Have you ever seen a sign or vehicle with company information on it but you can't read it or distinguish what they do? Use color and creativity, but don't make it cluttered and difficult to read. Remember KISS - Keep It Simple, Silly. Think about Nike and their logo. You can't get much more simple than that.

2) If you have a logo, do you use it consistently? Once you decide on a company logo, make sure you put it on all of your company literature including business cards, letterhead, envelopes, postcards and brochures, on signs, on your website, blog, and FaceBook Fan page, on your vehicles, on shirts, pens, mugs, keychains or whatever you use to stay in front of your customer. Remember TOMA, Top Of Mind Awareness - Make sure when the public thinks of your product, they think of your company. Using your company logo can help people remember you.

3) Do you have a consistent color scheme on your advertising? Find a color scheme that conveys the right perception about your company or product to the customer. If your business is organic, make green a part of your color scheme. If you run a daycare, you might use primary colors. If your business is massage therapy, you would want a soothing and relaxing color scheme. Ask a graphic designer to help you with a color scheme that works for your product.

4) Do you have your logo and basic company info (phone number & website address) on your company vehicles? For a while, we only had two trucks lettered with our logo, but we were told that we must be very busy because people saw our trucks everywhere! Think of your vehicle as a moving billboard. Depending on how much you drive, your logo can be seen by thousands of people each day. Most people put their logos on the side doors, but don't forget the rear of your vehicle (what do you see when you are waiting at a light or in a traffic jam?) and even the front if you have a large enough space where it can be seen coming down the road. And if you really want to make an impression, have your vehicle wrapped. (See photo below.)

5) Do you or your employees meet with potential customers on a regular basis? Do they have shirts, jackets or professional name tags that display your company logo? If not, they should. The more visible the position to the public, the more important it is to make sure they wear your company logo. A person may not remember a name, but a logo helps them to remember your company.

Need some help in creating a logo, making a sign or lettering your vehicle? My BNI friends Dennis & Carly at Fast Track Signs in Bellefontaine, OH can help. They are very creative and offer great customer service. You can find them on the web at, and

Look them up and give them a call. They would be glad to help. And let them know I referred you!