In an industry riddled with fly-by-night operators and a new crop of paving scams surfacing every year, it is little wonder that consumers are often perplexed on how to find a reputable paving contractor in Toronto.
There are of course some online searches a consumer can perform to pre-screen the contractors they wish to obtain quotes from.
A few choices like HomeStars and the Better Business Bureau while being wonderful resources are not the only options. Sometimes a disreputable contractor can have a wonderful website and a good honest contractor may not.
There are paving contractors in the GTA who operate under several different names or change names and phone numbers frequently once bad ratings are presented online, unhappy clients are calling or creditors are closing in on them.
How is a consumer to choose the right contractor?
Northland Paving advises you to be diligent and do your homework. With the right paving contractor your project should last for many years after your warranty expires.
Get 3 written quotations.
Make sure everyone is quoting on the same specifications, if not why not?
Is someone selling you more than you need or less then you should have?
If a price seems too low or too good to be true, the contractor may be planning to take short cuts or skimp on materials.
If an unusually long warranty is offered, be alarmed. The promise of an extended warranty means nothing if a company is unable or unwilling to honour it.
Check with online resources.
There are several sites and online forums that can help provide information about the contractor you are about to hire. HomeStars, BBB and 411.ca are only a few of the options available.
How long has the company been in business?
If a paving company tells you they have 30 years’ experience but the business is newly registered, perhaps this is a company who needs to change names frequently to avoid creditors, warranty work or bad online reviews.
Do they have an established place of business?
It’s difficult to track a company who deals only out of the back of a pickup truck with a cell phone number and a PO Box for an address. Check out their place of business to determine if this is really a company you feel comfortable dealing with. If you think it’s too far for you to bother, chances are it will be too far for them to return and service your driveway or patio project should you require any warranty work.
Check their phone number on 411.ca. Do a reverse search. This will tell you if the phone number is legitimate or a cell phone that you will never be able to reach if they don’t want you to.
Is the paving contractor licensed and insured?
The City of Toronto and the City of Markham require paving contractors to be licensed to pave, this is the law. The licensing process requires paving contractors to be insured. Licensed contractors know how to install a legal driveway. The City will ask you to restore an illegal driveway into compliance upon discovery regardless of how much money you spent to have it installed.
Ask if the contractor is registered and in good standing with WSIB to stop any liability on your part should a worker become injured while working on your property.
Who did your friends use?
Word of Mouth is also one of the best methods in the decision making process. If a paving contractor has been referred by someone you trust and they have been happy with the business practices and finished product then perhaps you will too. A good contractor thrives on referral business.
A little time spent researching a company you plan to use and a good gut feeling, may help you avoid a nightmare down the road.
Last but not least, check out past finished projects in person.