Hardscaping & Landscaping Blog

Archive for April, 2016

How to Choose a Concrete or Hardscape Contractor

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Congratulations! You have either just made the decision to make improvements to your property with the use of concrete or hardscapes, or you are at least thinking of doing so. Either way, you are surely making a wise decision. Concrete and hardscape projects are a fantastic way to add practical, enduring value to your home, and like any long-lasting decision, they deserve your careful consideration. Here at Custom Construction Services we understand that this can, at first, seem like a daunting task. In order to alleviate some of the stresses involved with making your decision we have created a list of helpful tips to keep in mind while choosing the contractor that best suits your needs.
1. Do your research-

When looking into contractor options it is important to pick a company that has a reliable, proven history. Ask potential contractors how long they have been in business, and if they do the work themselves or subcontract the work out. Over the years we have received a number of phone calls from home owners who hired another company, only to find that company never showed up to do their project, or else left before all the work was completed. Finding a contractor who has several years worth of experience shows you that they are reliable and can most likely be counted on to do your job properly.

Additionally, it is important to check that the contractor you choose has proper licensing and insurance. By verifying that a contractor is properly licensed, you know that they have met the Department of Labor’s requirements for proper filling and continuing education. Also ask potential contractors for proof of insurance regarding policies such as general liability, work comp, and auto coverage. Making sure that a contractor has sufficient insurance will safeguard you from any accidents that may arise while work takes place on your property.
2. Look at examples of their work-

The best way to get a feel for what type and quality of work a contractor does is to see it for yourself. Any reputable contractor will have numerous examples of what they can do. Look through photos on a contractor’s website. Ask for reference lists and speak to former customers. See if you can stop by past jobsites to look at how a contractor’s work holds up over time. Beyond that, most companies with a decent history will have reviews you can check online. At Custom Construction Services we keep reference lists of our customers, as well as photo galleries on our website, according to project type (i.e. concrete, retaining walls, or pavers), and we are happy to direct you to a specific location that has the details you are interested in such as a specific color, stamp pattern, etc. After looking at such examples you should be able to tell if a contractor can perform the work you are looking for, whether your project be large or small, detailed or more simple. You may even get a few new ideas for yourself.
3. Pay attention to the details-

In the concrete and hardscape industries there can be a great deal of variance in materials and prep work from one contractor the next. Make sure to compare the specific types of materials, base materials, and reinforcement used, along with time frames to complete the work being done. Find out if the contractor you are meeting with has any specifications written up to inform you of these details. Some will simply write the specs into their estimate, while other companies, such as Custom Construction Services, will include project specs in their estimates as well as provide home owners with a separate spec sheet. This spec sheet also includes an easy-to-understand diagram of exactly how your project is constructed. The reason this step is so important is because these details make a significant difference in both the immediate and long-term final results for your project, and we recommend being careful of making your decision based on price alone.
4. Trust your Instincts-

After you have done all your research, checked on references, and compared “apples to apples,” you may still find that more than one contractor fits your needs. This is when the decision making truly becomes difficult. Assuming these companies offer similar specifications, pricing, and time frames, how do you decide whom to trust?
At this point, it is usually a good idea to stop and think about the way you feel about each company. Are they easy to get in touch with, and do they respond to your calls or emails in a timely fashion? Are their representatives polite and professional? When going over the details of your project, did you feel that their sales rep was knowledgeable and confident? These are just a few questions that should help guide you. At Custom Construction Services we understand how important this is, and we want to assure potential customers that we are a solid, dependable company. To do this we offer diagrams that show how we build, process sheets that explain how our entire process moves from start to finish, and make customer satisfaction a top priority.
No matter which company you decide to go with we urge you to make a careful, considered decision. Concrete and hardscapes are built to last if done properly, and you will want to be satisfied that the contractor you hire is capable of doing so. While it may require a little more effort, taking the time to thoroughly review your options will be worth it in the long run. Simple things like checking reviews, looking through photo galleries, and comparing estimates can save you from a big headache down the road. Above all, don’t forget that the company you choose has to be one that you are comfortable with, as well as one that you are confident will provide you with a high quality finished product. We hope that this information will help guide you in your selection. If you have any questions of projects in mind, please give us a call!