In any industry, there are bad apples who seek to defraud the public by preying on their lack of knowledge about a particular product or process. The asphalt industry is no exception. Asphalt scammers are people moving from town to town, with no fixed company office. Because of this, it is often hard to track these culprits down to make them accountable for the shoddy work they leave behind.
Scammers approach unsuspecting homeowners with seemingly reasonable estimates for driveway work. They often make false promises regarding the services they will provide and may offer no legal contract. Many times when their work is completed it is of such poor quality, that it must be removed and redone, leaving the homeowner to pay additional costs to fix the driveway properly.
TIPS FOR SPOTTING POTENTIAL ASPHALT SCAMMERS.
- If you are interested in having work done, do it on your own terms.
- Be suspicious of someone who approaches you to do the repair work. If someone knocks on your front door and says, "We have a load of asphalt that was left over from paving nearby, and we can pave your driveway at a bargain rate if you’ll pay cash," don’t take them up on it. Asphalt that is "left over" from another job will be too cool to make a good pavement for your home.
- Always get at least two written estimates from local contractors before authorizing any work, and ask for the names of references to call. Checking references can save you money in the long run.
- Be suspicious of advertisements that do not prominantly feature the business name and local contact informaton. Checking references can save you money in the long run.
- Get a written contract that outlines the responsibilities of both the homeowner and the contractor.
- If you encounter someone you suspect is trying to defraud you, tell them "no," close the door, and call your local sheriff or police department immediately.
If your driveway is in bad shape and needs either a complete reconstruction or a resurfacing with asphalt, you’ll want to talk directly with several contractors. OAPA can help identify paving contractors in your area, or consult the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors. Consult the Yellow Pages, consumer recommendation sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, or ask your neighbors for names of paving companies. You may also ask a nearby asphalt mix producer for recommendations. They often know the best paving contractors. Once you identify some paving contractors get their recommendations about what’s to be done, but once you decide upon and define your project, it is good business to obtain at least two bids.
Here’s a cost-saving tip: If you can arrange with some neighbors to have all your driveways paved at the same time by the same contractor, savings will result for everyone because it gives the paving contractor economies of scale. To determine an estimate for your asphalt job, use the Asphalt Calculator found online from the National Asphalt Pavement Association.