MiniMax Concrete Corp., Buffalo, N.Y., offers mixers ranging from ½ to 3 cubic yards. Rus Thompson, president and CEO, said he started the business five years ago when he needed one yard of concrete to finish a driveway skirt.
“Calling up concrete companies to find out costs, I was floored at the short-load charges and fuel delivery charge. For one yard I would be paying over $400.”
Instead, he found an old, small mixer, made design changes and started the company. “The original idea was to build [mixers] for contractors who can get their own concrete,” Thompson said. “Most concrete jobs are 2 to 3 yards.”
Built on a steel frame, the MiniMax systems were designed to be mobile. The ½-yard unit weighs 1,040 pounds, costs less than $10,000 and “can be dropped in the back of a pickup truck,” Thompson said. The 2-yard mixer — the most popular size, according to Thompson — can be used on Classes 4-5 chassis. It costs $21,000 ready-to-go, or $17,500 without a Honda “pony motor” to run the mixer and power the hydraulics.
“The idea is to keep them below 26,000 pounds, then no special license is needed,” Thompson said.
Customers for these small-load mixers are typically municipalities, equipment rental companies and small contractors, Thompson said.
Gregg Cox, owner/operator of Hilltop Mini-Mixer, Placerville, Calif., said he bought his one mini-mixer truck from Ernest Industries in 2006. About two-thirds of his business comes from contractors and the rest from homeowners.
“We can do multiple loads for the same customer site to allow the work to be processed in segments so that smaller work crews can be utilized for specialized finishing techniques — this is frequently the case with jobs for colored/stamped concrete,” he said in an e-mail.
Cox said that the small truck and lighter weight enable him to go where larger units cannot, such as to cabins where is no “true road,” he said.