Every major industry has a few bad apples that give honest and legitimate business owners a bad reputation. Unfortunately, the contracting industry is no exception to this rule and there are a lot of dishonest contractors who only have their own best interest at heart. In order to protect yourself from falling victim to one of these cons, it’s absolutely vital that you thoroughly do your research before settling on a paving repair or sealcoating service in a large city like Toronto. Here are six conspicuous warning signs you should watch out for before hiring an asphalt paving or sealcoating contractor.
1. Door-to-Door Sales Pitches
It’s very rare that honest contractors will take the time out of their busy schedules to engage in door-to-door sales. In some cases, if they just happen to be in your neighbourhood and notice that your asphalt driveway is in need of major repairs, they might offer their services totally unprompted, but this is highly unlikely. If this happens, you should always request previous references and ask them whose home they were just working on. If it’s someone you know, then you can always contact that person directly.
2. Lack of Identification
Professional contractors will usually carry around their business cards or some form of identification and they usually only travel in their work vehicles which are clearly marked with their company’s logo. If the contractor is unable to provide proof of any of these items, then that should raise huge red flags in the back of your mind.
3. Demanding Upfront Payment
Most contractors won’t demand payment upfront prior to even commencing the project. There’s usually some sort of clearly constructed and laid-out contingency payment plan. They’ll either ask you to pay for the service in instalments such as one third upfront, one third halfway through the job, and one third once the job is complete; or you should be able to pay in full at the end of the project. You should also be suspicious if they demand that you pay all in cash upfront because this means there won’t be a paper trail protecting you in case you do get scammed. Always pay either via credit card or cheque if you can.
4. Offering Cheap Competitive Pricing
Always be wary of contractors who offer discounted prices that are far too good to be true for the work required. Oftentimes, in these cases you get what you pay for and extremely lower prices also mean the use of lower quality materials and labour. Ultimately, this will end up costing you far more in future damages and repairs.
5. Pressure to Make a Decision
Any time a contractor seems desperate for your business or tries to pressure you into making an on-the-spot decision about something, that’s a clear sign that you should sever all ties immediately. It means they want you to feel pressured in that moment to agree to something you may regret later.
6. Lack of Warranty and Written Contract
Contracts are an essential part of any business agreement because they provide a clear and concise breakdown of the work being done, the required materials, the cost of said materials, the total amount you can expect to pay, your payment plan, long-term warranty, as well as the start date and estimated end date of the job. Always make sure to get all of this information in writing and make sure that you understand the terms of the contract completely so there’s no chance for confusion or misunderstandings in the future.
Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has over 20 years of paving repair, replacement, and installment experience in Toronto and the GTA. We provide industry-leading warranties for every job we complete and always take the time to carefully walk our clients through every step of the process so they know what they’re paying for and getting. If you have any questions about the services we provide or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us.