Advice On Working With A Concrete Driveway Contractor
Even if you consider yourself to have extensive DIY experience, taking on a concrete driveway project on your own is not a good idea. Concrete is one of the most sensitive materials to work with and a minor mistake on your part could prove very expensive. You will be better served by hiring a concrete driveway contractor to execute this project for you. When working with a concrete driveway contractor, you need to take a proactive role to ensure that your project is satisfactorily completed. Here are some useful tips on how to have a pleasant experience when working with a concrete driveway contractor.
Have a clear vision of what you want for your driveway
One of the biggest mistakes that clients make is not taking a proactive role with their project. At the end of the day, you are the one that will live with the driveway, and you should therefore ensure that you have a vision of how your driveway should look like. The contractor you chose to work with will give you valuable input based on their experience but you should not allow yourself to be bullied into accepting a driveway that does not suit your needs. Shop around until you find a contractor that understands your vision and is committed to bringing it into fruition.
Carry out your due diligence before selecting a contractor
A concrete driveway represents a long term commitment. On average, you should expect yours to last for more than 30 years. Therefore, you need to take the time to find the perfect contractor to work with. The first step of your due diligence is to ensure that you only consider contractors who have been fully licensed and certified by your local authority. They should also have a comprehensive insurance cover to reimburse you for any damages to your property as well as any injuries and accidents suffered by their workers. Ensure that you personally verify their insurance and certification status.
Your due diligence should also include contacting their referrals and viewing their online reviews. Your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a good place to see what their previous clients have to say about their experiences with the contractor. Once you shortlist a few contractors, have a face to face interview to gauge their level of professionalism.
Clearly communicate the work details to your contractor
Your contractor should always work from a position of knowledge. Communicate your vision to them before they begin working. Let them know the budget you are working with. Allow them to visit the site before they start working so that they can understand the nature of the job. Let them know the expected traffic on your driveway, if you are expecting lots of cars on a regular basis or will be expecting heavy commercial trucks on the premises, let them know so that they determine the proper concrete mix to handle the expected loads. Your local weather patterns also need to be communicated to the contractor as they may affect the type of concrete that will be suitable for your driveway. Communicating the nature of the job also helps the contractor to give you a more accurate price quote for your job.
Get everything in writing before the job commences
Never allow work to begin on your driveway based on a verbal agreement alone. Have everything in writing. A contract should clearly state each party’s duties and responsibility to protect you and the contractor. The agreed upon price should be prominently featured in the contract. Create a payment schedule where a contractor is only paid once they achieve certain milestones. Never pay for a job that has not been completed. You need to involve your lawyer in the contract making process to ensure that your interests are well taken care of in the contract.
Monitor the progress of your driveway construction
While the driveway construction can take multiple days, try to be available at the site as much as possible. As the job progresses, you can see if the finished product will meet your vision and make any necessary changes if required. It has also been proven that contractors are more productive and diligent if you are more proactive in carrying out your supervisory role.
Budget for unexpected expenses
Always have something extra stashed away in case you need it. You may not have realized that your driveway construction will require a utility line (such as your water pipe or underground electricity cable) to be re-routed. You might realize that you want more decorative elements to be added to your finished driveway if it looks a bit plain (as concrete tends to do). Either way, have some money set aside to handle any unexpected expenses.