There are definitely benefits to having your drive laid by professionals. Apart from saving your time, you’ll have a guarantee to fall back on and should get a decent job done. Many other people will be happy that they have the skills to do the job and quite enjoy it, so see no reason why they shouldn’t do it themselves.
Do You Want to Do-it-Yourself?
Let’s take a quick look at the work involved. Depending on the type of land you’ve got and the design of the driveway, there’ll be some Excavation, and perhaps some building up to do, if there’s a slope that needs to be levelled out. Once that’s done and the Waste Material has been carted away, the supporting layers of aggregate will be laid down and then your chosen surface, having paid strict attention to drainage and kerbing along the way.
Sounds simple, but there’s a lot of detail missed out in that description and that’s perhaps the best reason to hire someone to do it for you. They will know what to do at all the stages so that you end up with the driveway you want outside your home. But if you do go for a professional, how do you tell the difference between a proper one and a Cowboy Contractor?
Seek Out Recommendations
The best way is to find someone by recommendation. If friends or neighbours have had a job done recently, ask them who did it and what they thought. Perhaps even better is to find people locally who’ve had a driveway done some years ago. This way you can see how well it’s stood up to the test of time and, if the firm still exists, you know you’re not dealing with a ‘fly-by-night’ operation.
If you can’t find anyone that way, there are two sources of reference you can use – contractors recommended by the trade association, Interlay, or the manufacturer or distributor of the product that you are going to use. Companies can’t just join Interlay by paying their dues, they have to pass an accreditation scheme that before being able to use Interlay’s logo.
Some, but not all, manufacturers and distributors will maintain a list of suppliers, although in some cases it’s simply a list of people who buy from them regularly. With others, it’s a list of people who have been vetted an approved. It’s vital, if you are going to have to select someone from a list like this, that you know whether or not there has been some vetting.
Once you’ve got a short list of contractors who are likely to do the job, it’s time to get them in to quote for the work. Just as with any other building job, it’s vital to get at least three quotes before selecting the right person for the job. Apart from anything else, it’ll give you a chance to play one off against another to get the price down, but be wary of playing this game too hard. A quality company will walk away from someone who drives a hard bargain as they won’t need the work, and someone who has been driven down to the bone on profit is not likely to put in the best quality work.
Think hard about selecting the right person. Check their eyes when you ask for some addresses of customers who will be happy to show you examples of their work and see how they react – it’s your money, your house and you should be able to take a look at a sample of their work before signing on the dotted line.