Don’t be fooled… Know your asphalt contractor!
It happens every year, a new no-name asphalt paving and maintenance company comes to Jacksonville.
Some of these asphalt businesses are local start-ups, some are travelers looking for work during the harsh winter months when street paving is impossible in the northern states. Many of these people are honest, hard-working individuals just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, being honest and hard-working does not guarantee that you are qualified to do the work. Even less fortunate are the asphalt sealcoat companies that are not honest or hard-working. You can most often recognize these less savory types by their actions and words, or lack thereof.
Knowledge is power. Below is a check-list of things to ask for when looking for a quality asphalt paving company:
- Proof of license to work in the state of Florida. Sounds like a no-brainer, but to be perfectly honest, asphalt paving in the warmer climate of Jacksonville is not the same as asphalt paving in states with harsh freeze/thaw winters. It is important that your contractor be knowledgeable of these differences.
- Proof of insurance. The last you want is to pay a claim to a no-name company that is careless on your property. You also do not want to be stuck with the bill for any damage the contractor may cause while on your property. Get proof of insurance!
- Get three bids. If you do not already have a trustworthy asphalt paving company in Jacksonville, or even if you do but want to make sure you are getting fair pricing, collect bids from three different asphalt paving companies. Make sure each one is bidding the same scope of work. If one price is drastically lower than the other two, there is likely a reason – and not a good one! That low number may look nice, but more than likely, the asphalt paving company who provided it will cut corners, do poor work, short the job, or simply not show up to finish your project.
- Ask for (and check) references. Do not be afraid to ask for references – and call them! If your asphalt paving company is quality and trustworthy, they should have no problem providing a list of current references for you.
Other things you should know:
- There is no such thing as “left over asphalt.” If someone knocks on your door (or walks into your office) claiming to have “left over asphalt” from a road repair job down the street that they are willing to sell to you for a rock-bottom price, proceed with extreme caution – better yet, politely close the door in their face. “Left-over asphalt” (though 100% recyclable) will often be too cold to work properly (workable temperature range for hot mix asphalt is 280-320 degrees Fahrenheit). If it cools too much, this will happen:
- Manhole covers, drainage basins, and water valve covers should be kept clear. When installing new asphalt, it is important that your asphalt paving company make note of all manhole covers, drainage basins, and water valve covers in the area of work. Depending on the amount of asphalt being installed, these things may need to be raised to ensure proper drainage and eliminate trip hazards. There is no excuse for leaving one of these access covers or drains covered with pavement:
- Randomly overlaying sections of asphalt is probably not a good idea. We understand that sometimes your budget does not allow a complete asphalt overlay of your property. However, we strongly recommend that instead of overlaying sporadically; use your money to properly repair sections by removing the damaged asphalt and replacing with new asphalt. If you must overlay portions – be it drive lanes, or parking stalls – make sure the edges are feathered down or profile milled to eliminate trip hazards. You want to avoid this:
- You should expect clean, straight lines. Whether a repair or the property line, overspray from tack (bonding agent) should be minimal or non-existent. The same is true for asphalt sealcoat. A professional asphalt paving company will run a smooth, straight line along the project limits. There is no excuse for a mess or anything that looks remotely like someone spun a bucket around in the air to see what would happen, like this:
- Never pay in full, in cash, upfront. While it is common for many asphalt paving companies to request a deposit up front, or other guarantee of payment, asking for full payment, in cash, upfront is concerning. This is common for the “left over asphalt” group of contractors, and unfortunately, the end result often involves an incomplete project / vanishing contractor / or simply terrible workmanship: