CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR
ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS FOR UPSTATE NY HOMEOWNERS IS FINDING AN ASPHALT PAVING CONTRACTOR THEY CAN TRUST.
So many homeowners have been burned by contractors and service providers who continue to over-promise and under-deliver. The driveway paving industry is no exception. A driveway paving project can cost thousands of dollars. Choosing the right contractor can save you money while getting exactly what you need at the budget that is right for you. So how do you protect yourself from hiring the wrong contractor? Here's a list of questions you should be asking, and things to consider when hiring an asphalt paving contractor.
HOW WILL THE SUBBASE BE HANDLED?
This is the most critical part of the driveway – and not a place to skimp! While the sub-base of your driveway depends on many factors, you should expect your contractor to carefully assess your particular situation and be able to explain why he recommends a particular base depth and type. Typically, the base should be no less than 4" deep and compacted with a vibratory roller. If the contractor can't explain the base specifications to your satisfaction, get another opinion. At Heritage Asphalt Paving, we'll explain everything in full.
WILL THERE BE ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS NOT ON THE BID?
One of the biggest problems homeowners have with contractors is with hidden costs. You should never be surprised with a final bill that’s much higher than the original estimate. Of course there are times when soil condition might require more base, or the homeowner makes changes at the last minute. But these changes should never be hidden, and the final bill should never be a shock to the homeowner. All changes in the cost of the project should be thoroughly explained at the time. We always discusses additional costs as soon as they are identified. You'll never have a hidden cost or surprise..
ARE THEY ACCREDITED WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU (BBB)?
You should ask this question for two reasons. First, you'll want to hire a paving contractor that's an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. It adds a level of accountability and helps ensure they're an upstanding company. You may be able to tell a lot about a contractor based on how forthright they are in answering this question.
CAN THEY PROVIDE A LIST OF JOBS THEY'VE COMPLETED THAT ARE CLOSE TO WHERE YOU LIVE, SO YOU CAN CHECK THEM OUT?
Any paving contractor you're considering should be happy to give you a list of nearby driveways they have built. Take the time to drive by the homes and check out the job – it will be very revealing. Be wary of any company that is unwilling to give you this information. Heritage Asphalt Paving will always be proud to give you addresses near you where you can see our work.
DOES THE COMPANY CARRY INSURANCE?
You should only work with paving companies that are insured. If you suspect the quote provided by a contractor is unusually low, this could very well be because the contractor does not carry insurance. If you choose a contractor that does not have insurance, you could very well be liable for any accidents that occur on the job, meaning claims would be against your homeowner's insurance policy.
DO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT?
A typical crew should have all the equipment necessary to lay the asphalt down correctly, at the proper temperature and at the proper grade. This crew should be made up of experienced workers who are capable of performing all types of paving jobs in a variety of conditions.
WILL THEY BE USING THE RIGHT MATERIALS?
Make sure you work with a contractor that uses only high-grade asphalt materials. Low-quality asphalt can result in an ugly paved surface that does not last as long as it should.
MISTAKES HOMEOWNERS MAKE WHEN HIRING A CONTRACTOR
TAKING THE CHEAPEST PRICE
If service and quality are not overly important to you and your budget is tight, then by all means take several bids and choose the contractor who shoots you the lowest price. But don't kid yourself. Just like with everything else, price and quality go hand in hand. When you choose the lowest price you are choosing the contractor with the least incentive to keep you happy. After all, you've already communicated that price is all you really care about. Your decision to shop for the lowest price stands as irrefutable evidence. What would possess you to hire the lowest priced contractor? If it sounds too good to be true…. it is! Most good contractors have similar costs. There are marginal differences but if someone is much less you should ask them why? We all pay around the same price for materials, labor, and insurance. The quickest way to bring our costs down is to cut corners. Sad but true. They are possibly not insured, they are possibly not local, or you may not be able to find them when future problems appear!
HIRING AN UNINSURED CONTRACTOR
Although you may not feel much can go wrong when having your driveway paved or seal-coated, you definitely don't want a contractor who's uninsured. For instance, an unexpected rain storm can splash sealcoat material on a homeowner’s garage door, siding, and concrete or brick sidewalk. Even though a contractor can't control the weather, if they have the proper insurance you will be protected..
HIRING A CONTRACTOR WITH NO WARRANTY
If the contractor is as good as they say that they are, then they will have no problem standing by their work when it is finished. Most quality asphalt paving contractors strive to ensure that their customers are 100% satisfied. For that reason, you should ask about a warranty. While not always offered, asking for a project warranty (workmanship & materials) will guarantee that the project is completed to industry standards and the unique needs of your property (as agreed upon at the start of the project). Be sure to have all information in writing on a signed contract before the start of your project. Paving Contractors should also provide tips to help you extend the life of your newly paved or seal-coated driveway or parking lot!
HIRING A COMPANY WITH UNRESOLVED / AN UNREASONABLE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU (BBB)
Check with the Better Business Bureau to view the rating of any contractor you are considering and see first if they have unresolved complaints. You should expect an A rating and very few complaints before hiring a driveway contractor. Skipping this check could lead to unpleasant surprises.!