You get what you pay for. The old adage is especially meaningful when it comes to driveways and sidewalks. Shoddy work now will cost you more in the long run, says Mike Pett Sr., owner of Pett Paving in Richmond.
While his firm has spent more than a decade paving and sealcoating driveways, Pett has worked in the industry for more than 30 years and has quoted many jobs from consumers who want the best driveway but don’t always know how to find it.
The trick is to start with a company that cares about its reputation.
Reputable firms start by sending an estimator like Pett Sr. Typically a week after the customer’s call, he visits and takes measurements, evaluates the setting and learns about the customer’s needs. His trained eye also recognizes potential needs, such as a wider driveway to prevent ruts in the yard or thicker asphalt for heavy equipment like an RV or boat trailer. Within a few days, he’ll offer a no-nonsense bid that lays out exactly what his firm is offering, what square footage they’ll cover and what they’ll charge. Not all firms are so straightforward.
“My price is my price,” says Pett Sr. “A lot of companies will say something like ‘I’m putting in this much gravel,’ but then they come back later and say, ‘We need to put in extra gravel and it’s going to cost you extra.’ The only reason my price would change is because the scope of work has changed.”
Once the bid is in hand, try to compare apples-to-apples against other bids. First, look at the amount of gravel being used and the thickness of the compressed asphalt, Pett Sr. says. Then, learn about the company’s reputation. Find out if they have a central office you can visit should a problem arise. Ask if the company is licensed and insured, and ask for references to satisfied customers. Reputable companies are eager to share.
Pett Sr. prides himself on a no-hassle bidding process. Where some companies apply pressure, Pett Sr. believes a quality bid speaks for itself.
“Right now, we’re averaging about seven to nine days for an estimate,” he says. “It’s worth the wait, because we have fair pricing and quality work. And we’ll always communicate.”
Pett Paving is located at 3790 E. Solon Road, in Richmond, (815) 675-0647.