3 questions to ask a paving contractor when they come to give you an estimate:
- Are you recommending a resurface or a complete tear out?
- Where is the water draining to?
- How thick will the driveway be?
What to Watch for When Hiring a Paving Contractor
Apples to Apples
Make sure you are asking the paving contractors to perform the same work. Just because one paving contractor is cheaper doesn’t meet you’re getting a better deal . The standard asphalt drive is 4”, and some contractors offer 3” so they can be the lowest bid. Asphalt is very expensive per ton so this is a way for a contractor to be a low bidder by offering less. Also, a paving contractor may be doing more prep work to help your asphalt have its best longevity. Sometimes it’s best if areas are cut out and redone rather than just paving over the compromised base.
If in any scenario you are hiring a paving contractor and they are proposing an overlay/resurface job, make sure that they are going to mill/grind the transitions . For example, where asphalt meets a sidewalk . If this is not done, it will create many problems. This creates trip/fall hazards in any circumstance, especially in commercial parking lots. These grinders are expensive, and if the contractor does not have one to do this, they may not be suitable to perform the work.
Money Up Front
Almost all reputable paving companies will not ask for money up front. If a company asks for a deposit, beware because there are a lot of thieves trying to pose as reputable contractors.
Simply type the business name in on Google and read what other people think and how they are rated. This is the best way to find out whether or not to hire a contractor and can avoid a costly mistake.
Ask contractor for pictures or jobs that were previously done in your area and ask for an address to see their work.
Ask for a meeting at their place of business to Make sure they are legitimate.
Referred by a Friend
This is the one I hear most where most people get ripped off, so beware of a “referred friend”.
Certain driveways and parking lots can be resurfaced, and some need more than just a resurface. Don’t let a paving contractor talk you into resurfacing deteriorated asphalt. Alligator cracking can not be resurfaced and will only fail within a few years. Contractors would rather resurface than have to tear out an area for two reasons. When tearing out a drive or parking lot, there is less profit in excavating it than resurfacing it, which is very quick – saving cost in labor and materials. The second reason is that the company may not have the proper equipment to tear out the drive, and doesn’t want to buy the equipment and have to pay the expensive operator rates.
Please use your expertise and read the photo here. It’s a sad fact that scammers are out there. Always be careful!