Unfortunately, there will always be dishonest people trying to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. If you plan on hiring a Maryland paving contractor (or any contractor for that matter) in the near future, you should use your best judgment and watch out for scammers. Below is a news clip about “gypsy” paving contractors in Florida who have ripped off dozens of homeowners by charging a premium price for an incredibly poor job.
Follow the tips below to avoid getting scammed when hiring a driveway paving contractor in Maryland.
Be the One Who Contacts the Contractor
One of the most common driveway paving scams is when a contractor just shows up at your door and offers to pave your driveway. Sometimes, he might say that he has just finished another project in your neighborhood and has some asphalt left that he doesn’t want to haul back. He would sweeten the deal by offering a discount or only charging you for materials. Remember that a reputable contractor will never go door-to-door asking for business. In fact, at 1-855-Got-Paving we are often so booked, there isn’t any time left for unplanned jobs. Beware of contractors who approach you first. If you want to find a reliable paving company, do your research first and then contact the candidates yourself.
Request a Written Estimate
A trustworthy paving contractor should provide you with a written estimate upon your request. This is a pretty standard practice in the contracting industry. While an estimate doesn’t guarantee the exact final price, at least it creates a paper trail in case a scam artist attempts to pull a bait-and-switch. Beware of low-ball estimates, even if a contractor offers an explanation. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some scammers take advantage of elderly people, promising a good deal and then requesting a large payment. Fearing for their lives, some choose to pay.
Check License & Insurance
Don’t be afraid to ask your Maryland paving contractor for their licensing and insurance information. You can verify both by calling the numbers listed on the documents or online. Make sure the license is issued in your state. Most scammers are fly-by-night contractors who don’t go through the trouble of getting licensed and insured. However, keep in mind that license and insurance alone don’t necessarily speak about the quality of the work you’ll get. There are plenty of licensed contractors who do a poor job. Feel free to ask your contractor for references or photos of completed projects to get a better idea about the quality of their work.
Look for These Signs
There are elaborate paving scams out there, no doubt about it, but most scam artists don’t devote much time to building an illusion of a legitimate business. Here are some of the things a legitimate business would have that a scammer often doesn’t:
- Professional-looking business cards with contact information
- Professional-looking website that has more than one page
- A company letterhead used on all documents, such as estimates
- Branded trucks and/or uniforms with the company logo
- A local address, phone number and license plates
We hope these tips will help you avoid scams in the future. Feel free to share this article with your friends or elderly parents to warn them as well!