When hiring a concrete contractor to do your concrete driveway, it’s a good idea to have some questions to figure out of if the one you’re hiring is right for you. There are many people who claim to be able to do this sort of work. However, there are only so many who have the know how to be able to build you one that is durable and lasts.
1. Know Your Concrete Driveway Criteria
Everyone has a specific vision in mind, and a budget to fit said vision. First, find some examples of driveways online or in catalogues that you think fit the aesthetic of your house. Keep in mind how many cars you have, if you want to use it for recreation, and what features are innately built into your property, such as gardens, trees, etc. You may even be able to figure out a ballpark of how much this costs by doing some research online.
2. Ask About Permitting Required For Concrete Driveways
It would be nice if since it’s your property, you can do whatever you want with it. However, we don’t live in the Utopia that is commonly cited in the American Dream. Instead, like with most construction projects, permitting is required. By asking your concrete contractor about permitting, it not only is a great self education tool about the process, but based on how confidently they respond, it is a good barometer for their competence. If they struggle to answer, or are adamant about you doing the permitting, it may indicate a lack of experience.
3. Compare Several Concrete Contractors
A good best practice is to look at multiple concrete contractors. Not only does this give you a good idea of the market average cost for a job like this, it also gives you leverage in negotiation. Additionally, there will be multiple crews that are highly competent. However, their communication style might not be compatible with yours. Best to go with one with the most experience, the best rate, and the best rapport.
4. Review Their Contracts
You’re going to want to make sure the contract has everything in it that’s necessary to get the job done correct. Make sure it covers the following:
- What are their exact responsibilities? Is it their responsibility for brining in additional contractors, such as electricians, for auxiliary work that may be necessary when constructing a concrete driveway.
- Does the contract cover compaction of the subgrade and base?
- How thick is the pavement they are adding? Substandard thickness will leave your driveway more prone to erosion and wear.
- Fees and schedule of payment.
- Project duration.
- Guarantees and warranties.
5. Ask Technical Questions About Concrete Driveways
It’s intelligent to ask certain technical questions. These questions will help you self educate on the process as well as judge their confidence in their abilities to do the job. So good questions include:
- How much time will it take for it to cure enough before it can be safely used?
- What about control joints? Will they be using them to minimize cracking on the surface as the driveway naturally shifts?
- When cracks inevitably do start to form, what’s the difference between an innocuous one, and one that can cause some serious damage?
6. Check Their Liability Insurance
In many places it’s illegal to do construction work without the proper liability insurance. However, this doesn’t stop some unscrupulous people. This is something you should demand proof of, because if they don’t have it, and something were to happen such as an injury, or damage to your property, you could be left with the burden of the liability. It’s also a good way to assess the honesty of the contractor, as a dishonest one will have misgivings about presenting this information to you.
7. Check Their References
It’s easy to take a reference at face value. As a matter of fact, many people do. However, a simple phone call or email can save you thousands of dollars in headaches. It’s good to get a third party perspective on things, and it takes very little effort. You don’t want a concrete contractor who has issues when constructing your concrete driveway.