See the True Cost of a Low-Bid Contractor
“Low bid” contractors will often cost you much more money than they saved by being cheap. Please look through the photos below of actual jobs that in our own opinion are less than stellar, and look to have been completed by a “low bid” contractor.
Dear prospective clients,
Recently in the Utah market we have seen a rise in “under experienced” asphalt contractors who will stop at nothing to potentially scam the customer all for a quick buck. Generally speaking, it used to not be hard to decipher the good from the bad contractors, but its getting harder to do so. We have put together a simple guide when choosing a contractor that may help in your decision.
First of all, look for experience, as that usually means they know what they are doing, nothing beats a contractor who has been around a long while. T&N Asphalt Services is one of the few contractors two decades old in business, and also under the same founding management.
Next, if you do have to have to obtain multiple bids, use the middle bidder. Its easy for a contractor to be high, and too easy for them to be low, but coming in the middle is not something easily done, and more indicative of a fair price. Consider that now days most “low bid contractors” will find some way to cut corners, and almost certain you will end up on the losing end. Some examples of this; the sealer can be “watered” down and even asphalt can be cut in thickness. Both of these situations can place more money in the contractor’s pocket, and leaves you with a less than stellar job that may only last a fraction of the time.
A few other things to look for; seal coats should only be covered by a 1 year warranty, which covers failures not wear. This has been an industry standard and is backed by the manufactures of quality material. I know its tempting to go with a contractor that offers a multiple year warranty, but keep in mind that any contractor offering anything longer is typically offering a pro rated type of system, which often are not consumer friendly and may cost you more money than its worth. Most decent sealcoats in our market should be ready for re-application in 3-5 years.
Parking lot paving or driveways should be placed at a minimum thickness of 2”, and often is 3”. Keep in mind a good solid base under the asphalt of 6-8” of compacted base is equally important. For overlays, the average thickness should be 2”, with slight feathering at the edges. Anything less than 2” out in the center, would be stealing from you. We see often, “Low Bid” contractors feathering overlays to as thin as a 1/2”.
Next, look for the involvement of the contractor in the asphalt community. We are long standing members of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating, additionally T&N Asphalt Services, CEO, presently sits on a National Advisory Board for Pavement Magazine, and is also a regular presenter of educational sessions at The National Pavement Conference. Very few of our competitors are as involved as we are. We truly care about our work, and your project.
Remember, GOOD, FAST, CHEAP. You can pick two. Good and Fast, but wont be Cheap; Fast and Cheap, but it wont be Good; Good and Cheap, but it wont be Fast. Good contractors book up quickly, best advice is to have your asphalt evaluated in May/June, and schedule at the first slot, which may still be a month or so down the road. Rushed jobs from low bid contractors, will usually be that, “rushed”, and again you will be on the losing end with a poor product. Feel free to click through out gallery of low bid pictures, of which we update often. It is truly sad that so many contractors have entered into business not knowing what to do, how to run a business, and with only one thing in mind, get the work fast and do it cheap, at any expense.
We at T&N Asphalt Services will never sacrifice quality for price, thus why we often are not low bid. We pride ourselves on our reputation over the years and by taking excellent care of those that take care of us, and that’s you, our clients.
It’s another driveway scam. Have you ever heard any of these “canned” sales pitches before?
- “We were in the neighborhood working on another driveway and we have just enough material left over to seal yours?”
- “If we don’t get rid of this material it will go bad”
- “We are running a special TODAY ONLY”(High Pressure Sales Tactics)
- “We just paved a driveway up the street and have 50 tons of asphalt left-over” (Really, what competent paving contractor over orders 50 tons of asphalt?)
If anyone comes to your door or you see a driveway seal coating / paving company soliciting your neighbors or elderly, immediately contact your local police department. 90% of these companies are being run as “fly-by-night” operations and will have either outstanding warrants or judgments against them. The police will immediately disperse them from the neighborhood for your safety. Most of these “door knocking” companies are known for either practicing “bait & switch” pricing strategies or even engaging in larceny while you are outside watching the project get done.
Important things to consider:
- DO NOT EVER contract with any paving, seal coating, roofing or home improvement company that knocks on your door and tells you they have “left over material”.
- Verify by calling the insurance agent that the company has insurance.
- DO NOT PAY THEM CASH- You will have no proof or re-course if the project fails.
- You are NOT REQUIRED by law to pay a contractor in CASH or write a check out to cash or a person’s individual name if the contract you signed was in a company name: (IE: If you signed a contract for ABC Paving & Seal Coating, you are not required to write the check out to Joe Smith)
- If something seems “out of place” always contact your local police department- that is what your tax dollars pay for. Virtually every town in has a restriction against people soliciting or going door – to – door without a permit.
- Ensure a long lasting project by using a company that utilized “Professional Seal Coating” Equipment. In order to receive a “top-notch” professional job, ensure that your contractor is using a high quality water-based emulsion with sand and latex. In order to apply a coating application such as this, it is required that you have a cylinder tank with sufficient agitation to blend all of the materials together into a homogeneous mix.
If a contractor is using:
- 55 Gallon Drums
- 5 Gallon Buckets
- A square tank
- Oval or other odd size tank that would not allow continuous mixing
- A wooden board or pipe to mix the sealer
…you will not receive a professional finished product because these systems do not permit sufficient mixing of the product.