Ordering Concrete? Here's what to ask your dispatcher

Ordering Concrete? Here's What To Ask Your Dispatcher

by TIM OZINGA, director of marketing communications, Ozinga | Feb 4, 2016

When your project involves concrete, there are a lot of factors to consider, such as mix type, amount, delivery times, etc. A dispatcher will be your go-to source for placing a new concrete order or confirming an existing one. During this conversation, the dispatcher will gather information regarding your project so that he or she can help ensure the concrete portion of your project runs smoothly.

While it’s very important that you provide thorough details about your project for the dispatcher, it’s also important that you collect certain information in order to accurately plan your project. When ordering concrete, be sure to gather the following information from your dispatcher.

Mix Type

There are many different types of concrete, and each one has its own specific uses and benefits. To ensure that you are receiving the right concrete for your project, confirm the mix type with the dispatcher. This will give you time to make any necessary adjustments prior to your mix being batched. If you are unsure what type of concrete to use for your specific project, ask your dispatcher for assistance, as they will be a solid source of information.


In addition to mix type, you also want to confirm the quantity. It’s always better to end up with too much concrete than not enough, so as a general rule of thumb, order about 10% more than you think you will need. For smaller projects, it’s not uncommon for dispatchers to round up a half yard to ensure you have enough. This will account for slopes, spills, or any unexpected event, and if you end up with extra unused concrete, most companies, including Ozinga, will take it back. For accuracy, use our concrete calculator to determine how much concrete you will need for your project, and then confirm this amount with your dispatcher.

Delivery Time

Concrete is a time-sensitive building material, so you need to plan your delivery time accordingly. Discuss your options with your dispatcher, and be sure to schedule the delivery time in alignment with your project timeline. Keep in mind that you will usually receive a delivery time window, so ensure your project will be ready for concrete between those times. Not only could you incur additional costs if the driver has to wait for you, but the quality of the concrete could be impaired as well. If for any reason you need to cancel a concrete order, be sure to call at least 2 hours before the scheduled delivery time.

Order Status

When you order concrete, you typically have two order status options: will call or firm. A firm delivery means that you want the concrete on the date and time specified. A will call order means that you will contact the dispatcher that day and provide a time for delivery—just be sure to call at least a few hours before you would like it delivered. Determining whether you should be a firm or will call order will depend on your project and your timeline.

Unload Time

Since concrete is time-sensitive, you have a certain amount of time designated to unload the truck. This time will typically vary depending on the type of concrete and the current weather conditions, so be sure to ask your dispatcher for your unload time. It’s also important to know this information if you have more than one truck scheduled for delivery so you can plan their arrival appropriately. No matter how many deliveries you have, be sure to have plenty of help on hand to get the concrete unloaded.


Cost is always an important detail to discuss. The very first thing you should confirm with your dispatcher is the total cost, which will help to eliminate any surprises after delivery.

Additionally, you should also consider asking the following questions when it comes to cost:

  • What are the current waiting charges per minute? If a truck is forced to sit and wait, you could be charged per minute;
  • Will minimum load charges apply? This is important if you have a small load of ready mix concrete;
  • Will Saturday delivery charges apply? Some concrete companies charge a fee for Saturday delivery, so be sure to ask this upfront if your project will take place on the weekend;
  • Will any other charges apply? Knowing exactly what you’re paying for helps you better balance your budget, so find out if you need to pay a fuel charge or any other additional cost.

When you confirm all of this information with your dispatcher, you can rest assured that you are both on the same page. This balance can be the difference between a well-run project and one that’s gone horribly wrong.

Based in Mokena IL, the author is director of marketing communications and a fourth generation co-owner of Ozinga Bros. Inc., an 88-year-old, family-owned concrete producer and supplier.

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