How to Choose a Concrete Contractor
A concrete project is generally an essential precursor to a lot of work being done on a property. For example, installing a concrete driveway may be a prelude to a driveway patio, which is great for entertaining. New construction properties may need a concrete base before adding other components. As a result, many construction jobs need to find a concrete contractor long before they start looking at other projects. This also makes the stakes pretty high when it comes to choosing the right contractor to work with. Pay for poor concrete work and your entire project could be delayed. Here’s the work that goes into how to choose a concrete contractor.
Starting Your Search To Choose A Contractor
When it comes to how to choose a concrete contractor, it’s best that you treat this as a two-part task. The first part is to choose a list of contractors that you think will be a good fit, then the second part is actually deciding who you will work with from that list. The reason you want to separate these steps is that the techniques involved are very distinct. So, how do you create that shortlist?
Friends and family: This is arguably the best way to start your search. People in your social circle already have a set reason to try and steer you towards the best option possible. Another benefit is the fact that if you’ve talked to them about the job you need, they may recommend someone who’s a good fit from their own past experience. For example, if you know you need decorative concrete, and the person in question had a similar job done, they can let you know exactly how things went before you even talk to the contractor.
Online databases: Sites like Yelp or Angie’s List are good starting points for people who don’t have any recommendations from people they know. Here, you can get a rundown of the concrete contractor, the types of concrete jobs they do, as well as a set of reviews from previous customers. Note that you can’t treat these reviews the same way as you would recommendations from friends and family, though. People may have their own biases, or a review may have little explanation for the rating. Instead, you want to focus more on trends in the reviews and if multiple people are praising or complaining about the same thing.
Professional organizations: Some contractor organizations have lists of member companies that you can use. A benefit here is that if you do have an issue with the job done, you can report it back to this larger body.
Google: Finally, you can always look up concrete contractors near you. This will likely provide some results, but you’ll need to do more legwork on your own to find things like their qualifications, years of experience, and other information.
Making A Final Decision
After you’ve narrowed things down a bit, you can go to your shortlist of contractors and actually start the work of reaching out to them. A good idea to keep in mind is treating this like a job interview, which is essentially what it is. You want someone who is qualified for the job you need, right? This means you need to ask pointed questions to get the information that solves that question. Here’s what questions you need to be asking.
Do you have the appropriate insurance coverage? If the contractor you’re looking at has a website, chances are that this information is covered there. However, you still want to ask this to make sure that the information is consistent. Sometimes, information on the website might be out of date, and you may not want to work with a contractor that has poor attention to detail. You should figure out the type of insurance company they have as well as the level of coverage. For example, liability may seem like an obvious one, but what about automobile insurance for any work vehicles coming to your property?
Does your experience match the job I need? There are plenty of concrete contractors doing good work out there, but they may be specialized for a certain task. Ask before you commit whether they’ve done a job similar to what you need and if they can provide references. This will just make sure that their years of experience are going towards the right place.
Are we using a written contract? This is one of the things that should be non-negotiable when you are trying to find the right concrete contractor. Having a written contract is one of the essential things that will protect you if something goes wrong with the job. Assuming a contract is provided, make sure you read it carefully before signing, to make sure there aren’t any terms that you don’t understand.
How will we communicate about issues? If all goes well, the contractor will be able to do their job, let you know things are okay, and you can go about your business. However, sometimes, they may encounter a problem that requires your input. In other cases, you’re the one who needs to change what the nature of the project is. Establish terms to handle this now, so no one is rushing to make contact later.
When it comes to how to choose a concrete contractor, there are a lot of different elements that come into play. Some you may have already had in mind, others you may have not been aware of. One thing that’s worth looking into or asking in your initial questioning is whether they use project management software like eSUB. While this isn’t consumer-facing software, it does showcase that you have experienced contractors with an organized operation and a concrete picture of their finances. All of this translates into a better job completed for you.