10 Steps To Choosing The Right Pavers Contractor
At Go Pavers we believe that the key to creating the perfect project lies heavily in finding the correct contractor to do the job. Likewise, we realize that there are plenty of fish in the sea and choosing the right partner can be a daunting task, so we’ve created this simple, ten-step guide to help you find the best match for your project, personality and budget.
At Go Pavers we believe that the key to creating the perfect project lies heavily in finding the correct contractor to do the job. That’s why we’ve created this simple, ten-step guide to help you find the best match for your project, personality, and budget.
1. Create a List of Candidates
1. FIND VIABLE CANDIDATES
You know you need a contractor, but where do you begin? You’ll want to have options to choose from so start by seeing what’s available in your area. For most people, searching online for “pavers contractor + Los Angeles” should return an ample list of options within a given service area. We recommend going with a contractor that specializes in Paving Stones, rather than a general contractor, who may end up costing more and may not be as skilled in paving stone installation as a specialist.
Begin the hunt for a contractor by seeing what’s available in your area. A quick online search of the words “pavers contractor + Los Angeles” will generate a list of local contractors who specialize in paving stones near you.
2. Do Your Homework
Now that you know what’s available, you should narrow down the list to at least 2 to 3 viable candidates. As with any service or product, we recommend that you perform a thorough background check to do so.
- Visit the Contractor State License Board to verify that the potential contractor’s license is current.
- Visit the Better Business Bureau to check for major complaints, violations or unresolved issues.
- Visit Yelp.com to read past user reviews, but be sure to look for consistency as some reviews may be unfounded.
- Visit Angie’s List for credible industry reviews. Users must register and provide verified information in order to review, helping to ensure that posts are genuine.
- Perform a Google search to see what is returned for a given contractor, you may find information not available at the resources above.
Now that you know what’s available and have a list of at least three viable candidates, it’s time to perform a background check of each.
3. Look for Industry Recognition
3. FOLLOW INDUSTRY RECOGNITION
Like most industries, top paver installers are recognized for their achievements including consistent superior craftsmanship, excellent customer service and maintaining a high level of professionalism. Check installers’ websites for accolades and badges (such as the one to the right) awarded by paver manufacturers based on performance. The Master Craftsman Award, presented by Belgard, is an example of one such honor given to those installers that meet the manufacturing giant’s absolute highest standards. At this time, Go Pavers is proud to be one of only two installers in California to hold the distinction.
Industry recognition for delivering superior craftsmanship, excellent customer service and a high level of professionalism is important. Go Pavers is proud to be one of only two installers in California to be recognized with a Master Craftsman Award for high standards in paving installation.
4. Call For an Estimate
4. REQUEST AN ESTIMATE
Once you’ve narrowed your list to a few potential candidates, call to arrange a free estimate for your project. While on the call, take note of how the appointment is scheduled, since the customer service you experience on your first interaction will likely reflect how you might expect to be treated throughout the process.
- Was the receptionist courteous?
- Did they sound organized and professional?
- Were they able to accommodate any special requests you might have had?
- Did the scheduler provide the name and position of the representative that would be evaluating your property?
- Did you feel comfortable asking questions?
You’re now ready to arrange a free estimate for your project. But remember, the customer service rep isn’t just welcoming you to the company, he or she is also showing you what you can expect from the paver installer for the rest of your time doing business.
5. Prepare for the Meeting
Having a good idea of what you want your project to look like will help you get the most accurate estimate possible. Some contractors display available paver products, types and styles online so you can make key design and budget decisions ahead of time. Likewise, knowing your budget range before the meeting will help you understand what may or not be possible for your project.
Having a good idea of what you want your project to look like will help you get the most accurate estimate possible. Use the web to browse a range of paver styles and sizes beforehand to save time and money.
6. Evaluate Your Estimate Experience
The free estimate meeting isn’t just for you to get a sense of the project budget and timeline, it’s also a chance for you to evaluate the team that you will be working with. A strong company representative will listen to your needs and should be experienced enough to answer any questions or direct you to resources that will do so. At a minimum, the representative should provide you with a basic design, in line with your preferences, and an estimate of the cost for your project. Be sure to inquire about his or her qualifications and take note whether they are certified with the ICPI. It may also be important to note whether the representative will be present during the installation.
It’s time for you to evaluate the team that you will be working with. Make sure the rep provides you with a basic design that is in line with your preferences and a price estimate. Information about his or her ICPI certification is also helpful.
7. Get the Best Price
Depending on the complexity of your project, the representative may provide an estimate on-site or shortly following the appointment. In either case, be sure to ask for a written estimate with an itemized and clear price per-square-foot quote for all materials and services provided. It’s important to note that the best price may not always be the lowest one. Skipping integral stages in the paver installation process might save money up front but will undoubtedly affect the appearance and longevity of your project, and could end up costing much more in the long run. Finally, be sure that the process follows the ICPI recommendations to ensure your project will meet industry standards.
It’s important to remember that the estimate should not feel like you are haggling.
Request a written itemized estimate containing the cost per square foot of all materials and services provided.
8. Weigh Your Options
After eliminating any estimates that fall outside of your budget range, compare and contrast your research. Based on the steps above, score each of the companies that you evaluated. Award one point for everything that you thought the company did well, and subtract one point for everything you felt they could have done better. When you’re finished, tally up the totals and use this as a basis for selecting your contractor.
Weigh your options by awarding one point for everything that you thought the company did well, and subtract one point for everything you felt they could have done better. Now check your tally.
9. Put it in Writing
Once you’ve found a paver installer that you feel comfortable working with and a project price that fits your budget, be sure that all of the information you have discussed with the representative ends up in the contract, regardless of whether it appears in an email or not. Details such as materials, styles, sizes, schedules and variants should be included as well as any permits and approvals that might be needed by the city, state and/or HOA. Also, be certain that the contract guarantees that the project will be completed according to ICPI standards before executing the agreement.
Make sure all of the information you have discussed with the rep ends up in the contract, including installation information, a list of permits, and a written guarantee that the project will be completed according to ICPI standards.
10. Sleep On It
Even after signing the contract you have three business days to change your mind. If you’re having second thoughts or are still uneasy about your decision, speak with your representative until you’re certain you are making the correct choice. Clearing things up at this stage will save you time, money and undue stress down the road. Pavers are long-lasting and durable, a good installer relationship should be the same.
Even after signing the contract you have three business days to change your mind and address concerns with your rep. Take advantage of this time.