I have dealt with contractors most of my adult life. From having five years experience in the insurance industry, working with home improvement contractors daily, to becoming a contractor myself and working in the industry. You get to meet all types of people. Most contractors are honest, hard-working people like you and me, but for all of the good guys come a few exceptions. Contractors will get greedy and figure out how to cut corners. I have put together a list of what I think is the most important qualities to look for when hiring a contractor, whether it be for asphalt or any trade.
1)Do your homework!
As a kid growing up I hated homework. Now a days its way easier. You can get any answer you want on the internet. I wouldn’t go with the first answer you see but take some time and do some research. Possibly ask for a reference sheet from the contractor to see some other work that has been completed. The internet has a wealth of knowledge.
2)Is the contractor adequately Insured and licensed?
Most trades require a license and you will most certainly want to make sure they carry proper insurance as well as workman’s compensation. Some types of work will require bonds and permits. You have every right to ask to see these documents.
3)Check to see if the contractor is involved in any litigation issues!
Make sure there are no previous issues with the contractor you hire. There is always two sides to every story but just be aware of what you could potentially get into.
4)How many years has the contractor been in business?
Is a good way to tell how reputable the contractor is? If you’re doing poor work eventually word will spread and your company is likely to go out of business. With time also come experience. You can assure yourself your contractor isn’t a rookie
5)What does the contract look like?
Does the contract go into detail or is it vague and unclear. The described work should be clearly outlined. You will want to have a conversation with the contractor to make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting.
6)Ask about payment terms?
Contractors generally require a down payment and final payment upon completion of the job. Make sure the terms of payment are clearly defined before you sign a contract.
7)How soon can this job be completed?
The good contractors usually have work on their schedule and may not be able to start yours right away. If timeliness of your job is more important to you, you can ask if there is anything they can do to squeeze you in. Be mindful that the contractor may have other work in front of yours which is usually a good thing.
8)Understand that price usually affects quality!
The lowest priced contractor may not necessarily be the best contractor to complete your work. Usually the best price may fall somewhere in the middle. Depending on your financial situation this should be something to consider. Keep in mind if the price is too good to be true then it most likely is.
9)Use locally trusted Contractors!
And use your gut instinct. After meeting with your contractor the best game plan can be to go with who you feel is best fit for the job. Staying local will always boost value because most likely the contractor will guarantee quality. Seeing as he will want you to refer his work.
Asphalt contractors are notorious for running scams across the country. This probably isn’t news to you but some types of asphalt contractors to avoid would be:
1)The door to door salesman “trying to tell you he has left over asphalt to complete your driveway that day for cash”
2)Out of state license plates or unmarked trucks
3)Any verbal handshake as an agreement
4)Any time a contractor tries to push you into a quick, high pressure decision should be an absolute red flag.
5)Summer time is the biggest time for a scam so be aware if you are being solicited
With the above in mind, the future of our business relies on the quality, integrity, and work product we produce today. As the next generation (my brothers and I) are getting excited about the future of the business, we want to continue to improve as a company like my father has done for the last 38 years. Repeat business is the best business and that model will hold true for the rest of time.