Tuesday, December 12

Finding The Right Paving Contractor

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Finding a good paving contractor should be foremost on any homeowner’s mind.  In fact, if you have given some thought to paving your driveway you will probably take the time to find the right contractor for the job. 

Scam artists, commonly referred to as gypsy pavers, know this and therefore their whole business is high pressured and rushed.  They use the surprise factor along with a ‘deal’ that is hard to refuse as an incentive to sway an ‘on the spot’ decision by the homeowner.

These unscrupulous driveway paving contractors ply their scam all over the United States and Canada.  They tend to show up down south in the winter months.  Florida is a likely spot to find them as they particularly like to solicit vacationing homeowners.  Below are some of the things you need to watch for.  Reputable and skilled paving contractors just don’t operate this way!

  • They solicit your business, rather than waiting for you to do your homework and seek them out.  Commonly these pavers will just scan a neighbourhood and approach people out in their yards or at their doors. 
  • They may tell you that they are paving in the neighbourhood and have enough extra asphalt left over to fix up your driveway like new. When you are dealing with a good driveway paving company, they are accustomed to knowing how much asphalt to order so as to avoid waste and they rarely have enough just ‘leftover’ to pave another driveway.
  • They will offer you a discounted cash deal.  Established paving contractors in your area don’t have a problem taking cheques.

  • There is no written contract offered.

  • Their business card, if they have one, does not indicate that they are a local company with an address and might only contain a cell phone number. 

Once the homeowner forks over the cash, here are some things he/she can expect from the workmanship of a gypsy paving company:

  • Even though they may tell you that they will be distributing a good thickness of asphalt, they are often just applying an inch or even less.  There have been incidences where the thickness applied was little more than that of a dime.  It wouldn’t take much time, at that thickness, to see the odd weed poking through the driveway.  Good paving contractors will use anywhere between 2.5 and 3 inches of asphalt on a driveway.

  • A skilled paving company will not rush the job.   First of all, they are probably a local paving company and have spent years building a good reputation in their community, where often word of mouth is the best advertiser.  Secondly, they guarantee their work and therefore are going to make sure that they do it right the first time.  No good company wants to waste time by having to redo their jobs!

  • The paving scammers will be done very quickly and will have moved on.  This is because they usually don’t take the time to prepare the base of the driveway.  They may not dig out old base material and may not put a whole lot if any crushed gravel before paving.  Think of it like painting an old room.  If you do not do your share of scraping and filling of holes, your new paint job is not going to last too long.  Imperfections will begin to show immediately.  Same principle when you rush and don’t prepare the base of a driveway.
  • Often the tools used by gypsy pavers are substandard and not capable of producing the best job.  Local paving contractors will often have state of the art equipment.  Scam paving businesses often will have everything fit into the back of a run down pick up truck.

If you fall victim to one of these dishonest paving scams you often have little recourse.  They have skipped town long before you realize you’ve been duped and sometimes complaints aren’t considered priority by the police.  It may take some work to have the wrong ‘righted’ if it happens at all.  Therefore, a knowledgeable consumer is the best way to drive these scavenger companies out of business.

  • Always ask for a written estimate that includes the amount of gravel and asphalt being done. 

  • Find a local contractor that has been in business for a while.  Ask for referrals.  Good paving contractors are proud of their work and would be more than happy to provide you with information about other jobs they have done in your neighbourhood.

  • Ask about their warranties and guarantees.

  • Take time to think it over.

  • For a wide variety of local paving contractors in your area, check internet directories.  They give information about the different companies in the area and often leave comment boxes and ratings systems for customers to rate their experiences with the company.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Protection Agency  for a rating and for any problems that have been reported about the company in the past. 

A nice new looking driveway goes far to add curb appeal to any home and is well worth the time to make sure you are hiring skilled paving contractors.

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