Some tips to make sure you hire a scrupulous driveway company that will do a great job.
Its common knowledge that in the home improvement industry, cowboys giving shoddy workmanship are rife and driveways are one of the main areas that attracts these types of so called “Contractors”.
In fact, it’s one of the most commonly complained-about categories in the UK when it comes to home improvement work. Have your wits about you with these tips to make sure you are hiring a professional driveway contractor that isn’t going to leave you picking up the pieces if there is a problem.
- Make sure the surveyor measures up correctly
“I have been to so many appointments to measure up driveway install areas where the previous company to visit the client has simply taken a tape measure and given a quick length and width measurement”, says Driveway Company Surveyor Shaun Featherstone of Peterborough Improvements. “It’s important that the company you are considering to install your driveway take the time to measure the install area correctly, ideally with a measuring wheel, and give you a plan with the exact measurements included. Guessing measurements could end up putting labour and material costs way over the top.”
- Preparation is everything
Shaun says disreputable contractors tarnish his line of work by not putting in the right amount of prep work before laying down the actual blocks. “Don’t be scared to poke your nose in,” he says. “When the installers start preparing the install area, go out there, and make sure they are putting down 75-150 mm of sub-base. 75mm min for foot traffic only, 100-150mm for driveways, and 150mm+ for commercial installs. If you have to take a ruler to measure the depth of the sub-base when they have left for the day then do it.”
- Take a look at some of their previous work
Any good company will give you addresses for driveways they’ve installed in your area. Go see them. “You don’t just want to call references they have given you, because you could simply be calling a member of their family or a friend,” Shaun says. “Ask for some names and addresses and pop by and have a look.”
- Say no to doorknockers
“Never let someone knock on your door and say they are doing a driveway around the corner and can install yours at the same time for a discounted price, because that is the easiest way to get scammed,” Shaun says. “Driveways are usually charged by the metre and just because a job is being completed around the corner doesn’t mean the price to install is suddenly going to drop.” A good company doesn’t need to knock on doors. They should have a ton of recommends and a good marketing budget that gives them a steady flow of new customers.
- Verify credentials
Anyone you work with should be registered for tax, usually (but not in all cases) VAT registered, and insured. Most reputable companies are going to have a website which examples of previous work too. Just make sure you can see staff members, a van or something in the image that lets you know the work has been completed by the company you are thinking of dealing with. It’s all too easy to simply copy and paste images from the net.
6. Take someone else’s word for it
“Look at testimonials,” Shaun says. “There’s your integrity. A quick search on google for “[Company Name] Reviews” should give you a nice list of previous customers testimonials and with the way review sites work nowadays it is very difficult for any of these to be faked.