Before a job, ask if the contractor hires subcontractors for any or all of the work, or if the contractor and their direct employees perform all of the work themselves. With few exceptions, contractors that use subcontractors do not produce the level of quality or are as timely and consistent than contractors who use their own in-house labor and services.
Most standard double-wide driveways take no longer than 3 days from removal of the old driveway to completion of the project. Larger or more involved projects can take longer.
Contractors must dispose of all removed waste at an approved and authoritized site, such as a landfill or recycling center. Ask where your contractor will take the removed concrete and other materials.
Ask your contractor many questions and check their references and licenses. Take the time to research concrete construction. Other ways include:
- Look at decorative concrete driveways in your neighborhood and get the names of the contractors who installed the driveways that appeal to you most. Be sure to ask the homeowners about their experience with the contractor and the quality of the workmanship.
- Get references from friends, homebuilders or local ready-mix suppliers.
- Get names through Yelp or Google Searches by zip code.
Once you come up with a list of contractors, be sure to ask for references and get a list of projects in your area that you can check out. Also ask how long the contractor has been in business, if they’re insured, whether they have any professional certifications, and if they offer a warranty for their work.
Construction permits require a contractor to carry proper insurance. Ask your contractor to have his insurance company provide you with a Certificate of Insurance. If any employee is injured on the job you do not want to find yourself with a claim against your homeowner’s insurance because the contractor was under or uninsured.
Ask for referrals: a successful contractor will have many referrals for the type of work that you are requesting that encompass both past and recent projects. Tip
Ask about training, education, and certifications: concrete placement requires a great deal of experience and understanding, as there are many placement and finishing techniques that can compromise the structural integrity of the project. Ongoing education and training provides security that your contractor is well learned on the hazards of improper techniques and that your project will not become a nightmare.
A contractor and/or his suppliers can file a lien on your property if they are not paid, but the ability to leverage a lien should end upon completion of the job and payment of all fees due. A lien waiver from the contractor insures that he has been paid for the completed project, and upon receipt of that payment the ability to put a lien on the property is removed.
We don’t recommend doing the majority of concrete work as a DIY project unless you have experience or can somehow know exactly what you’re in for in terms of labor and expense. First, a lot of steps are involved to properly prepare and install concrete, and you only have a short window of time in which to get them done. Concrete contractors must be organized, experienced and well prepared. What’s more, many of the tools and materials you’ll need can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars and aren’t really worth the investment unless you plan to use the tools on multiple projects. That being said, doing concrete work on your own is likely not a wise decision.