Asphalt is one of the best materials to pave a driveway, walkway, or parking lot. Every whare you travel; on roads, homes you visit, commercial or retail buildings, you can be sure you will walk on blacktop paving. To pave, repair, and maintain this type of paving material, you must rely on a reputable and well-experienced blacktop paving company or contractor in your local area. However, every now and then a property owner may encounter a paving company that did not meet the customer’s expectations and there could or can be several reasons.
This article discusses a few of the most common complaints that consumers have had when hiring a local asphalt contractor. Understanding these complaints can benefit both contractors, as well as consumers. Paving contractors can use the information to better understand the mistakes that lead to customer complaints and consumers can also benefit by being cautious when choosing the blacktop paving contractor of their choice and avoid being scammed.
Common Complaints About Asphalt And Blacktop Paving
1. Lack of experience:
The number one complaint that consumers usually have is the lack of paving experience. Asphalt paving is like or unlike any other type of construction work. It requires proper expertise and experience. Expertise is earned by years of on-the-job training with paving experts that have been paving for as long as they can think. Some paving pros, enrich their paving knowledge by attending seminars and tradeshows. Experience comes with time! The more years a person has been paving the better the paving service he or she will provide. To gain or maintain a high level of expertise, a paving company or contractor must hire experienced paving technicians. The lack of experienced teams can seriously impact a paving job in a positive or negative way.
With this in mind, a property owner who is looking to hire a local asphalt resurfacing company to resurface a driveway must do due diligence in making a list of criteria for selecting a reputable experienced paving company. As for the paving contractors, they should maintain a high level of standards when looking to hire experienced paving technicians
Many paving companies handle multiple jobs at the same time; this is great if the company has adequate staff. However, if the company or the contractor is short on staff, it can delay the projects causing client rescheduling which means interrupting the client’s schedules and dissatisfaction.
Asking the paving contractor about how experienced and size of their staff should be on the consumer’s list of questions to ask. On the other side, the contractors should plan projects accordingly and take into account that sometimes, crews get sick, have emergencies, or just don’t show up. It will help them complete all the projects on time and avoid complaints of this kind.
Consumers often complain that many paving companies do not have proper insurance coverage as stated by their local and state regulations. While the success rate of the experienced pavement contractors is pretty high, it is always a good idea for contractors to have the right insurance coverage.
The most common types of contractor insurance coverage are:
- General liability – this covers common paving risks any damage caused by paving machinery or slip and fall.
- Commercial Auto liability – covers third-party injuries and property damage caused by paving equipment or vehicles.
- Workers compensation insurance – It is required by most states for businesses that have employees. This type of insurance protects employees with lost wages, medical expenses, and injury lawsuits.
- Contractor Tools and Equipment – It helps to pay for repair or replacement of tools and equipment damaged, lost or stolen.
When the contractors have proper insurance, they can have peace of mind that if anything goes wrong with client property or third-parties, they will be covered. For the consumer, it is of utmost importance to ensure that the contractor has proper insurance coverages before they are hired.
If the pavement company rushes through the presentation and is more concerned with obtaining a deposit check and does not ask the right questions and listen to all concerns that the client has, it can lead to a terrible experience for both of them.
A very important job of the paving representative is to ask questions and understand the client’s concerns and brief the paving staff about what the client’s needs and wants. In addition, establishing and effective means of communication between the client and the field staff will prevent miscommunication complaints.
5. Poor quality asphalt:
When property owners hire a paving contractor for a sealcoating or just asphalt maintenance, they tend to trust the contractor blindly when it comes to asphalt quality. However, not all asphalt is the same. Contractors often use recycled asphalt material in different proportions with fresh asphalt. A high percentage of recycled content can lead to poor quality paving. This most likely will lead to a call back from the client complaining about how terrible their new recycled asphalt driveway looks and no reputable contractor wants to receive these types of calls!
We go back to complain #4; Lack of Communication, contractors should take time to educate the prospective client on asphalt quality and how it is laid down. Advice the client that they will be taking pictures every step of the way, so that if the client has a concern later on they can show proof of the steps taken and avoiding yet, another complaint.
6. No written commitment:
It is not a very good idea to hire any type of contractor based on verbal promises. The property owner should ensure that they receive a written estimate outlining the square footage, the type of material to be used, the thickness of the materials, start and end time, pricing, and certificate of insurance. The problem with verbal commitment is that it can be difficult to keep track of the promises made. The property owner has a certain expectation and on the other hand, the asphalt contractor may not deliver as expected leading to conflict and complaints
The best approach for both the property owner and the paving company is to get everything in writing. It will eliminate any chance of misunderstanding or miscommunication.
7. Poor base or foundation:
A great paving job starts with a solid base or foundation. The paving contractor should take time to study the current conditions of the soil where the driveway resurfacing or new asphalt paving is going to be installed. It is not a good idea to skip a step and lay asphalt on soft or clayed soil. A good stone base is critical for a long-lasting asphalt job.
To prevent complaints about an asphalt job that looked nice in the beginning and then went horribly in a couple of years, the contractor, should discuss the current conditions of the area where the asphalt paving is to take place and outline any additional requirements if needed.
Most contractors will ask for a downpayment to secure the job and to purchase materials. A down payment of more than 50% of the estimated price should raise a red flag to the property owner. Most experienced contractors and pavement companies have a line of credit and do not need an advance or a down payment. It is a good idea for both parties to discuss the payment schedule in advance. The property owner should make full payment when fully satisfied with the work.
Large down payment requests are another common complaint. Contractors should consider that this is the first time they are doing business with a particular client and are suspicious of everyone.
Many contractors often take up more work than they can handle. Sometimes and oftentimes, something goes wrong with one of the projects. This can cause a delay or rescheduling jobs which in turn affects other scheduled jobs. Rescheduling or delaying scheduled jobs is a cause for consumers complaining that the contractors are not punctual when it comes to starting or finishing the work
The contractors should always take into account the resources and the projects at hand before undertaking other contracts and committing the work deadlines and time-frame. They should also discuss the possibilities of delays or maybe the need of rescheduling with the client before starting the job.
10. Old paving equipment:
Any smart paving contractor looks to maximize their return in investment, meaning that they have to maximize the profits from each and every job. Sadly and often, they opt to use older and cheaper paving equipment. Some quickly realized that using this type of equipment can be more costly in the long run, by having to stop a job to perform maintenance or emergency repairs. This can have an adverse effect on the quality of the paving job, the morale of the paving technicians, and the bottom line (profits).
To properly lay asphalt, it has to be done quickly, if the equipment is old or inefficient, it can delay the installation, which will affect the construction quality of the pavement. Clients have every right to complain if their paving job is delayed because of equipment breakdown. It is in the best interest of the paving company to keep a well-oiled fleet to complete paving jobs in a timely manner and provide quality work.
These are some of the usual complaints that consumers usually have about their experience with their paving contractors. With the ease of the internet, they consult the various rating websites to check asphalt paving reviews before choosing the contractor and most likely will not choose a contractor with several complaints or bad reviews.
The contractor should be more diligent about his work, avoid situations that would lead to complaints, and deliver a high level of paving quality customer service.