Las Vegas Line Pumper Ventures Into Booms

Allan Benavides, Owner of Desert Concrete Pumping, Las Vegas, NV, remembers where he came from. For five years Mr. Benavides has built a business based on trailer mounted hydraulic line pumps. But the lure of boom pumps calls, especially when those calls come from customers who want Desert’s level of service – but with a boom attached. But Benavides knows that his line pumps still pay the bills so he has chosen conservative growth into boom pumps with a used unit purchased from Concrete Pump Repair (CPR) in North Branch, MN.

Before his investment in Desert, Benavides held a position with a Las Vegas concrete finishing contractor. In 1999, he elected to invest in his own equipment. Benavides is the first to admit the operation experienced a rough start, “You don’t want to work on the pumps more than they are working for you.”

Benavides purchased his first Schwing line pump in 2001. “I decided to give them a shot, and they ripped through some seriously tough mixes without a problem.”

Since then, Benavides has invested in two more pumps manufactured by Schwing America. The Desert fleet of trailer pumps now consists of two WP 1000X trailer pumps and one truck-mounted BPL 1418.

One of Desert’s WP 1000X trailer-mounted pumps is equipped with the E-Rock, which extends the valve and housing to keep up with the requirements of high volume pours with the harshest mixes. And that’s an important feature with the notoriously tough mixes in Las Vegas.

“I’ve worked with masonry contractors and ready-mix suppliers who are completely blown away by the performance of the E-Rock,” says Benavides. “They’ll say, ‘Do you know what you’re pumping?’ I always confirm the mix design before every pour, but for the most part, it’s a non-issue with the Schwings. They can handle just about everything.”

According to Benavides, Desert jobs consist of 70 percent residential work and 30 percent commercial work. The contractor pumps approximately 60 to 80 cubic yards every weekend, and crews complete 14 to 15 pours on a typical Saturday.

Hustle is the name of the game for the Desert crew, “Pool contractors can complete two to three pools in one day and finish off patio and footing work. It gets hot in the desert, but the 1000’s get the shotcreting done regardless of the mix, despite the heat, no problem.”

The versatility of his fleet has Benavides’ crews on a variety of job sites. In October of 2004, one of Desert’s pumps began work on the Gibson Wash just outside of the Las Vegas strip, a massive flood control project that will ring the area.

Desert’s pumps are backed by Schwing’s Southern California factory store in Los Alamitos, CA. “It’s incredible peace of mind to know that my investment is backed by an organization that can meet our needs 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”

In regard to the local cement shortage, Desert has an edge. “It’s affected several contractors in the area, but we order and schedule our own concrete deliveries, and the local ready mix suppliers typically cooperate with our needs. They appreciate the productivity gains achieved with concrete pumps. Not only are there scheduling advantages; the reliability of the pumping equipment means we won’t hold them up with maintenance or performance problems. They supply what we need and move on to the next job.”

Benavides attributes Desert’s success to a loyal, knowledgeable crew. “My head operator, Juan Guerrero has been with me for four years. If he can’t pump it, it simply can’t be pumped.”

The success of his operation has offered Benavides the opportunity to focus on expanding his capabilities and his business. Adding a boom pump is part of that expansion. Because his boom pump came with a six-month warranty, Benavides secured peace-of-mind along with a completely refurbished pump, “The 42-meter is on the job every day of the week. Our existing customers are absolutely fighting over it and my customer base has expanded since I’ve added the boom pump.”