Choosing a reliable asphalt contractor can be challenging, but it is incredibly important. While a high-quality, professional job can last for decades, substandard work can begin to fall apart in as little as two years. Fortunately, taking the time to thoroughly interview potential contractors can help to ensure that you hire the best. Price is not necessarily an indication of quality, but the answers to these questions can be.
1. Do You Have References?
References are one of the easiest ways to weed out disreputable contractors, but many people never bother to ask. Others collect names and phone numbers, but do not actually call to check them. The contractor should provide you with at least three names upon request, along with phone numbers or physical addresses. Always contact the references and ask for their detailed opinions about the contractor. If possible, take the time to visit the job sites to look at the finished work.
2. How Long Have You Been in Business?
Everyone has to start somewhere, and a new business is not necessarily unequipped for the job. In general, though, the longer a company has been in business, the less likely it is to close in the middle of your project. If all other factors are equal, consider going with a company with a proven track record.
3. Are You Properly Licensed and Insured?
Depending on your needs, your project might require numerous individual tasks. Make sure your potential contractor has all of the necessary licenses and insurance policies to cover those tasks, or subcontracts out certain jobs to those who do. Don’t hesitate to ask for proof, such as a copy of the insurance certificate or current license.
4. Are You a Member in Good Standing With the Better Business Bureau?
While membership in the Better Business Bureau is not a requirement for a contractor to do a good job, it is a sign of a serious, reputable, conscientious business owner. Be sure to check with the bureau for recent complaints, which can be filed whether or not the contractor is a member.
5. Do You Have Specialized Equipment?
Some people perform small paving jobs, such as driveways, by hand, but this is never the best option unless your driveway is unusually small. Machine paving gives a more finished appearance and is more likely to last for many years to come.
6. What Extra Charges Aren’t Included in the Estimate?
Even the best asphalt contractor can’t always predict what might be uncovered when your project begins, but an experienced professional is aware of what kinds of problems sometimes arise. Ask for a detailed explanation of what the estimate includes and what sorts of additional charges you might need to expect.
7. Can You Explain My Entire Project in Detail, With Time Estimates and Recommended Customizations?
Every project is different, and a good asphalt contractor is able to explain why. Your potential contractor should be able to tell you whether asphalt or concrete is better for your project, what grade of asphalt will be used, what sorts of customizations or additional projects are recommended (and why), and what type of warranty is provided. Other vital information includes the approximate timeline, how many employees will be involved, and any special instructions you need to follow, such as parking elsewhere or clearing out clutter. Listen carefully to what the contractor tells you and, equally important, what is not said. Good contractors are able and willing to talk freely and easily, explaining technical terms and answering all of your questions. Shady contractors tend to change the subject, gloss over important information, and avoid questions.
An interview is a critical part of choosing an asphalt contractor, but many customers do not pay close attention. Listen carefully, ask for written documentation, and follow up on the contractor’s claims. While there are never guarantees against being ripped off, asking detailed questions can help to minimize your risks.
Choose Topwest Asphalt for Your Next Asphalt Project
If you’re ready to get started with an experienced asphalt contractor, then look no further than Topwest Asphalt. We’ve been in business for over 20 years and can handle a range of asphalt projects from residential to commercial.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!