Contact a driveway company near you to start collecting quotes.
Ask your friends, family, or neighbors to refer you to a reliable company.
Plan your driveway project first for accurate quotes.
Check the driveway company's reviews and qualifications.
Keep records and watch for problems after the work is done.
A beautiful driveway is worth its weight in gold. Well, maybe not quite, but it sure adds to the aesthetic appeal of your home. Whether you’re building a new one or repairing an existing one, you want to hire the best driveway company for the job.
But how can you be sure you’re choosing the right driveway pro? There are a number of things you can and should do as a homeowner to select a company that will install the driveway of your dreams.
How to Find a Driveway Company
The first thing you should do is contact at least three driveway companies near you. Talk to a few of them and get some quotes. Prepare a list of questions and contact the company’s references. Ask them if they have experience with the type of work you want done. Once you have a few bids, you can compare.
That covers the basics, but there are a few other things you can do, such as talking to your neighbors about driveway companies they’ve hired in the past. If you’ve noticed a neighbor recently got a driveway paved, ask if they were satisfied with the work.
Before Hiring a Driveway Company
Before you hire a driveway company, prepare with these tips.
Plan Your Driveway Project for Accurate Quotes
No one likes surprises when it comes to driveway projects, so you need to properly plan the driveway project to ensure that the quote the contractor gives you is an accurate one. Measure the driveway thoroughly. Remember that the length of your driveway is determined by the distance from the street to your home. Don’t forget any parking spots and turnarounds.
Also, measure any incline on your property, which has a big impact on the driveway project. You don’t want the pitch to be any steeper than 15%, as that can be dangerous particularly when it’s raining. You may need a curved driveway to reduce the slope.
There are other considerations, like aesthetics. Do you want decorative elements to frame the edges? Do you want the driveway to wind up a hill? Do you want to experiment with special designs, like a horseshoe or circular driveway?
And finally, you need to figure out the best driveway materials for your project. Asphalt, concrete, and brick are popular options.
Check Your Driveway Company Qualifications and References
As a homeowner, you need to do your due diligence to vet any contractor working on your property, and that is even more important for your driveway. Verify in writing that the company is covered by liability insurance, and don’t just take their word for it. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be the one on the hook. You might want to go with a contractor who is bonded.
Also, verify the number of years and work experience they have. Consult references about their experience and the level of satisfaction customers have with the final product, as well as whether they’d use them again.
Questions to Ask Your Driveway Company
Here are a few questions you should ask a driveway company before hiring them:
What is the driveway installation process like?
Are there any subcontractors involved in the project, or are the contractors responsible for all of the work?
Is the work covered by warranty?
Do you have experience using the specific materials that I want installed?
Do you have experience with the type of driveway I want installed (i.e., a circular driveway)?
Hiring Your Driveway Company Tips
Here are a few tips that will make hiring a driveway company as seamless and successful as possible.
Learn About the Project
Learn as much as you can about what goes into installing a driveway. This allows you to understand what skills and knowledge are important, and that will make it easier to choose the right contractor.
Clarify the Role of Permits
Research what permits are needed and make sure your contractor has them. Don’t just trust that the contractor knows what permits they need. It’s your responsibility as the homeowner to ensure local laws and ordinances are followed.
Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Driveway Company
Always, always, always have a clear contract with your driveway company, as well as a payment arrangement. Don’t do verbal or handshake agreements, as if there’s a disagreement later on down the line, you’ll be in a tough spot and likely out of a lot of money. Put together a written contract, and find another contractor if they aren’t willing to sign it. The contract should lay out the parameters for the scope of work, the change order process, the payment structure, the final payoff, and final approval.
Keep Records of Your Driveway Project
Anytime you hire a contractor, you want to keep good records of the project, and that’s doubly true for a big job like installing a driveway. Keep track of all hours worked, any progress made, how well the contractor is sticking to the schedule, and any other pertinent details.
Watch for Red Flags After the Project
The truth is, you never know just how good of a job a contractor did until potentially months after a project. Here are a few red flags that indicate that your contractor didn’t do the work properly and should be held responsible to repair it:
Potholes: Potholes are unsightly and cause serious damage to your tires and suspension, particularly when you’re driving over them daily.
Drainage: If heavy downpours are leaving large amounts of standing water, that could risk damaging your home and it needs to be fixed.
Disrepair: If chunks of driveway are breaking off, that could be an indication your contractor has installed a weak base and that larger cracks are likely to form.
Warping: While we most associate warping with hardwood floors, driveways are not immune. If the regular movement of vehicles causes warping shortly after the project, that’s a sign it wasn’t installed correctly.
After Your Driveway Company Has Finished
Once the job is done, give it a final inspection to ensure there aren’t any obvious issues. Once you’re satisfied with the work, sign off on it and send the final payout amount to the contractor. Be sure to leave an honest review after the project to help other homeowners make an informed choice.