Hiring a contractor to sealcoat your parking lot may seem trivial compared to hiring one to pave or repave it. However, sealcoating with the wrong contractor can be a nightmare, adding to unnecessary costs and increased disruptions to your business. In this post, we’ll discuss three common mistakes to avoid when you are hiring a contractor for sealcoating your parking lot.  

1. Not checking contractor credentials. It takes a little time to check out the paving contractors that are competitively bidding on your sealcoating project, but it’s time well spent. Here is a checklist of things you need to find out about the contractors seeking your business:

    • Are they licensed and bonded? 
    • Do they have adequate liability insurance?
    • Do they have any certifications?
    • Is their BBB rating at least a “B+”?
    • Do they have images of their work?
    • Do they have references for similar work?

If any of the answers are “no,” you may want to eliminate the paving contractor from your list.

2. Not carefully comparing bids. Going with the lowest bid is tempting, but can be a costly mistake. Here is why:

    • Some contractors may give low estimates knowing the total cost will be higher in the end. Be sure to ask about potential “additional” costs at the time of estimation, and be sure all proposals account for the same items. If two out of the three have crack filling added to your sealcoating estimate, chances are, you will need that service.
    • Contractors cannot return unused materials, so if your estimator is not careful with the calculations, you may end up paying for material that won’t even be used. Compare quantities and measurements on bids to be sure they are similar. If there are discrepancies, ask the paving contractor(s) to explain. 
    • Some contractors may use inferior materials and equipment or unskilled labor to reduce costs. While skimping may save money in the short term, repairing a sub-par job that is below industry standards could be costly.

3. Not testing contractor responsiveness. The bid process is a great time to see how well your contractor communicates. You don’t have to make them chase their tails, but pay attention to how they respond early on. If they are slow to communicate before they get the sealcoating job, they may not be much better during or after the project. Here are some key questions to help you gauge contractor responsiveness:

    • How long after your first contact does the contractor take to reach out to you? If it’s more than 24 to 48 hours, move on.
    • How long does it take to get an estimate or proposal? A sealcoating estimate won’t take long to produce after a site visit. When the estimator is there, ask when they will have a proposal for you, and hold them to it (or eliminate them).
    • How responsive are they to your questions? Contractors should be quick to provide you with answers, especially about licensing, insurance, and references, because these are items that reputable paving contractors have on hand. 
    • How long will it take to start, and how long will it be to complete the project? Compare proposals and eliminate contractors who have what seem to be unreasonable start and completion times. This may mean that they do not have sufficient equipment or crew to handle the job.  

By avoiding these three mistakes, you should be well prepared for sealcoating or any other paving project. Go ahead. Put DC Construction to the test. We proudly stand behind our credentials, quality of work and materials, and we strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of our business.