Teamwork: You and Your Contractor
Once you’ve decided to move forward, it’s essential you select an asphalt contractor you can work with. While it’s true that you are hiring a paving company because of their technical expertise and ability to get the job done, you want to make sure the contractor’s staff are people with whom you can be open and frank, who understand and respect your needs, and who understand the needs of your community. The contractor you hire will be working alongside your tenants and should be more than willing to communicate with them and respond to their needs and reasonable demands. Just as you wouldn’t hire someone sight unseen to work in your home, you shouldn’t hire a contractor you haven’t met. This seems obvious, but too many managers make a hiring decision based solely on a number on a piece of paper, and that’s just not the basis for a strong working relationship—or a good result.
Take a Walk with Your Contractor “Partner”
Once you’ve determined your project goals, meet on site with your paving contractor and walk through the property. This gives you an opportunity to further refine the scope of work and it will also give you some insights that enable you to compare one asphalt company with another as you both walk the property. Is he or she willing to take the time to show you problems and suggest fixes? Is he or she offering alternative solutions to problems you are trying to fix? Are they listening to you as you express concern for your tenants?
- Ask to See a State License. In most instances contractors must be licensed by the state, so confirm that the contractor has completed this step and make sure it is in good standing.
- Ask for Proof of Insurance. In this day and age no contractor should be without insurance, both for their protection and for yours. Pay special attention the the liability section.
- Look for Longevity. Just because a company has been around for years doesn’t guarantee quality work and a good working relationship. But the odds are in your favor if the company you hire has been around for a while.
- Check References. Any contractor worth his (or her) salt will be happy to provide references for you. Take the time to make a few calls. Ask them both the positive and negative aspects of ther project and relationship.
- Visit the Contractor on a Job site. Contractors are always working and you can gain insight into their work process by watching them on someone else’s job before you sign on the dotted line.
- Spend Some Time on Their Website. A good website doesn’t assure a quality job or contractor (just like a great website doesn’t guarantee it either). But a few minutes spent online will give you additional insight into services they perform, jobs they’ve done and even some comments from their customers.
- Check out the Company’s ratings. Check the contractor’s Better Business Bureau Rating and online review services. This shouldn’t necessarily rule in or out a contractor, but more knowledge is better.
What’s Your Comfort Level?
It’s important to remember that the contractor is responsible for “How” the job gets done—but you need to participate in the “What” part of the project to get the best results possible. You need to be comfortable providing any input you think important, ask any questions you may have, and bring forward any special constraints or considerations on the project, whether they are budget, technical, logistical or even political. All these are important to you and your tenants, so they need to become important to the contractor you hire. As you walk the property, be open to suggestions from the contractor about alternative approaches you could consider. There’s more than one way to tackle a challenge and a contractor might come up with a suggestion that could save you some money or result in a longer-life repair. Discuss the job with him or her, provide honest feedback, and make sure you get clarification on everything. This is the time to modify the scope of work if necessary.
Picking your Paving company
Okay, you’ve met a contractor, walked the property and discussed the job. Now the contractor is going to put together a proposal on how the job will be approached and how much it is expected to cost. Nowadays proposals can be in print, in some type of digital document, in an e-mail—but the type of the proposal isn’t nearly as important as what’s in it.
The first thing you should notice is that your concerns—whatever they are—are addressed and handled the way you need them to be handled. Once you have your proposals, you need to evaluate what’s in them, determine what they really mean, and compare them to one another. As any property manager can tell you, this can be very frustrating. The main thing to remember is that all effective proposals should contain enough detail so you can easily understand exactly what will be done, where, how and when. A detailed proposal protects you by clarifying exactly what will be happening, specifically where and when the work will done, and the cost for making it happen.
Contact Black Diamond Paving today to discuss your project! You’ll be glad you did.