Need a new driveway? Is this a project that’s new or unfamiliar to you? We understand completely! That’s why we’re here to help you figure out how to get started and hire the right contractor to do the job.
When building a driveway, there are multiple factors you’ll need to consider, so that’s what we’ll discuss here.
Figuring out What You Need When Building a Driveway
The services you will need depend on what kind of driveway you want, what the terrain will best accommodate, and whether it will be an entirely new driveway or a rebuild of something that already exists.
Do some research on what you want before starting to search for the right contractor. That way you won’t overlook things you should be asking about.
Types of Driveway Coverings
Do you want concrete? Gravel? Asphalt? Brick or Stone? Pavers? Something else? Much of this decision will rest on cost, durability, and maintenance. Take a stroll around and see what materials other people have used for their house driveways.
What Is Right for the Type of Lot You Have
What kind of soil does your driveway (or planned driveway) sit on top of? What is the grade of the planned area? It’s a lot harder (and more expensive) to build steep driveways than more level ones.
Are there obstacles (such as trees) that will need to be either moved or worked around? These too will add cost to the project.
New Driveway or Rebuild
And a big question: Are you starting from scratch–building a driveway where there wasn’t one before? Are you building on the foundation for an old driveway that no longer is usable? Or are you replacing a driveway that is still in use?
These questions should give you and the prospective contractors a sense of how much preparation will need to be done before starting the new driveway.
Selecting a Contractor
After you’ve given some initial thought to what you need and want, a very important next step is to hire the right people to do it. The last thing you want is to have the project completed only to discover major flaws or shoddy workmanship.
Knowing Which Contractor to Hire for the Project
Deciding which businesses to even contact for estimates is a good way to begin this process. Start by checking with your neighbors for recommendations. They live close to you, so probably have similar property conditions.
If possible, ask those who were living in the neighborhood when you moved in. The longer people have been the same home, the more likely it is that they have hired contractors to work on it.
You might also want to check out Angie’s List or Thumbtack for more possibilities–or to check out reviews of the firms you already have in mind. If you still don”t have any leads, start cold calling and plan for a thorough interview process.
And check with the Better Business Bureau about anyone you hire to be sure they don’t have complaints against them that haven’t been addressed.
What to Ask
Here are some common questions people ask when interviewing potential driveway contractors:
- What will they charge and how it this broken down?
- How will the sub-base be dealt with?
- What materials do they offer and which one(s) do they recommend for your driveway?
- Will there be any subcontractors working with them?
- Do they guarantee their work?
Be sure to add any additional questions you can think of.
Discussing Plans and Options with Prospective Contractors
When interviewing, be sure to ask the prospects how they would proceed with the job, step-by-step, so you know what to expect.
Also ask if there are aspects of the project for which you have options–regarding cost, design, materials, etc.
Be sure and take notes. Not only does this remind people how serious you are about the project, but you also will need those notes to make comparisons among the contractors you meet with.
Working With the Contractor and Crew
Having contractors working on your property is always something that takes getting used to–every time. But you need to do your part so the experience goes well. That’s part of hiring the right people.
We can’t say for sure that a lot of conflicts arise due to ambiguous communication, but we would bet on it. So be sure the terms of the contract are clear upfront and that neither party has lingering questions or reservations.
Mutual respect is a must. You as the homeowner (and person who’s paying) must be given all the information you ask for and not be treated dismissively.
In turn, you should show respect to the contractor and her crew. After all, they’re the ones who know how to do the job. And there’s a very good chance they have honesty and integrity.
Checking on the Workers and their Progress
You should go out and unobtrusively walk around the site a couple of times a day to check the workers’ progress. Ask some friendly questions. It’s natural to want to share information with someone who seems curious (but not overly assertive).
These folks are working hard for you, so be sure to treat them kindly. Let them know where you’ll be in case of questions. Show them where the bathroom is. And offer them some cold water or soda from time to time.
When the New Driveway is Finished and You’re Happy
Building a driveway wasn’t that hard, was it? The main work you did was figuring out which contractor to hire.
Were you happy with that contractor and his crew? If so, leave a good review on Google and/or Angie’s List so someone else can benefit from your experience.
Your new driveway should last quite a while. Still, if it becomes worn or damaged, you can always hire a contractor to repair it. Perhaps the same one. Driveway repairs are often part of their business along with building the driveways.
Contact us to get a free quote today!