Best Practices When Choosing Your Paving Contractor

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Process

We touched on this briefly in our “Apples, Oranges, and Price” post last month, but it’s such a weighty topic, we decided to expand on it in this month’s Love2Pave article. There are so many things to factor in when embarking on a paving project that it can be overwhelming—we understand this completely. But in the end, your pavement will only be as good as the people doing the job, so it’s important for you to do your due diligence in selecting the right company for your property’s needs.

Here are some things to consider next time you’re looking for a contractor—be it paving, or otherwise:

Know what you want.

More than likely, you’re not a paving professional, so you may not know the nitty-gritty details of what your property needs. But if you can give a prospective contractor as much information as possible about what you want for your property, as well as budget constraints, short and long term goals, and the interests of owners, investors, managers, tenants, etc….you’ll be sure to get a much more reliable quote.

Ask around.

Check with your fellow property managers to see who they use, and ask them about the work they’ve had done and how satisfied they were. Check the contractors’ websites to see what kinds of projects they’ve worked on before and if what you need is even in their bailiwick. Read their testimonials and check up on them through consumer review sites like the Better Business Bureau or Diamond Certified.

Get multiple bids.

Two or three is a good number, for starters. Be wary, though—the cheapest bid isn’t always the best bid. Some contractors cut corners to come in with the lowest quote, but then upcharge later down the road. This could end up in surprise charges or subpar work that needs to be redone much sooner than if you had gone with a more expensive, but higher quality company. When reviewing these estimates, also be sure you’re comparing apples to apples, so to speak—get as much detail as possible from the prospective contractors, and if anything is unclear, ask lots of questions! A reputable company will be happy to make things clear as crystal for you. Also be sure to confirm whether the total cost includes taxes, and get them to include payment terms, any warranties or guarantees, and terms and conditions in the estimate. All in writing, if possible!

Only accept bids from contractors who are covered.

Be sure they’re licensed, bonded, and insured and carry workers’ compensation for all their employees. If you’re managing an apartment residence or HOA, check that the contractor’s insurance doesn’t have a residential exclusion. Basically, double and triple check that you will have absolutely no liability if anything were to happen on your property during the job.

Check their work.

Ask the contractor if there are any projects they’ve recently completed nearby that you can view. This will give you the opportunity to check their work firsthand and get a sense for the quality of their work. See if there’s anyone around you can talk to about how smoothly the project went.

Trust your gut!

Which contractor makes you feel most comfortable about the job you’re about to undertake? Which do you trust most? Don’t ignore any bad vibes you got from a potential contractor…it could come back to bite you later on.

Still stumped or looking for more in-depth information into the paving and bidding processes? The Resources section of our website has some pretty handy guides, from our explanation of the Pavement Life Cycle to our Saving the Paving handbooks. The handbooks, especially, are a great resource and go into more detail about what to look for in a contractor and what a good proposal should include.

And if you’re curious AND hungry, schedule a Lunch and Learn Seminar, where we’ll bring lots of information—and a pretty decent lunch—to your table. We love this business, and we love to talk about it, so please don’t hesitate to ask us questions!