Getting the right professional in to install a concrete driveway that will complement your property is really important. If it is not something you have done before and you are starting from scratch, here are the top 3 questions to ask prospective contractors before finalising your decision.
- What work have you carried out locally so I can speak with some of your previous clients?
It is really important to get good references, and if possible take a look at the work the contractor has carried out. You are aiming to get a feel for the professionalism of the company, and the quality and duration of the work they have carried out. A good contractor will not hesitate (once they have confirmed this is alright with previous customers) to put you in touch with previous clients.
If you have telephoned or emailed other clients, then ask about how the contractor worked with them, how closely the final product matched what they ordered, and, depending on the timescales, how the concrete driveway is standing up to the test of time.
You are also aiming to find out how the actual workers treated both the customer and looked after the surrounding property when working on the driveway. That is, did they turn up on time, did they clean up after themselves and not annoy the neighbours by insensitive parking, etc. If you get permission to visit, then do so to judge for yourself the quality of the work.
- What steps do they take to ensure adequate drainage for the driveway?
Not all driveways have an incline, and many problems occur where there is standing water or where the property owner needs access to other utilities. Ask about how your prospective driveway contractor will provide reasonable drainage through grading the site, and also how access points can be available if required for water pipes, etc.
You want to ensure that the contractor comes out to look at your property because each site is different. There may be tree roots or drainage holes in place that the contractor has to consider, which they cannot see without a proper survey of the site. Discuss the finishing and edges to your proposed driveway and get a feel for their professionalism in this area. You would expect to see a plan of the final design and to be consulted if there are going to be problems with the design or finish that you have chosen.
- What professional insurance and aftercare is available?
Finally, ask for a copy of their liability insurance and check out the guarantees they offer as part of the package. Look on their website to make sure you have got full information about what trade organisations they are part of. More importantly, if you have any other questions, are they happy to answer them?
Dealing with someone who puts the customer first gives you confidence that you have chosen the right contractor. If they provide full information upfront and are happy to spend time discussing your needs and requirements, then you know you have got the right people on board.