Here are some examples of important questions to ask paving contractors if you want to end up with a product that exceeds expectations:
If a company belongs to a trade association like the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, it's likely that they routinely produce excellent work. In most areas, paving companies must also be licensed, bonded, and insured, so don't be afraid to ask for copies of this information before you agree to a contract.
If you don't have any knowledge of the types of materials that are commonly used to pave driveways, patios, and other areas outside your home, you won't know how to negotiate with paving companies. Whichever type of material you end up deciding is the best, keep in mind that stone pavers don't usually cost more than $12 - $15 per square foot; if a company wants to charge more, they might be disreputable.
When you ask for an estimate, also ask for a list of customers who would refer their services. You could call around and learn more about the methods and materials that your prospective company uses, but you don't have to. Just ask and see if the company responds with former customers. Don't be scared if they refer you to check their customer reviews here on Angie's List - it will help you get a more detailed look at the company's reputation.