#TipTuesday: 6 Tips for Avoiding Asphalt Scams

Each Tuesday, BBB puts out a new set of tips every consumer can use to keep themselves safer and smarter when making financial decisions.
May 27, 2014

Asphalt driveways can show considerable wear after a few harsh winters, so it’s natural that homeowners would seek repair work during the warmer months.  If fixing your driveway is on your list of home improvements this summer, BBB cautions you to be on the lookout for asphalt paving scams.

Traveling asphalt paving crews are fairly common all over the Northwest in the summertime. They typically move from county to county offering low-priced opportunities to give your asphalt driveway a quick facelift. If you’re presented with these or similar offers, a little bit of caution can help prevent serious problems.

Professionally-designed and properly constructed asphalt pavement will last for many years and most reputable contractors will stand behind their work. Know who you are doing business with; consumers are safer dealing with a well-established contractor who carries a solid reputation.

BBB offers these tips to help you steer clear of asphalt scams:

Tip #1: Beware door-to-door sales. Reputable asphalt contractors seldom offer their services door-to-door, and they’ll do so only if they are doing a legitimate job in the immediate area. If you’re approached, always ask for references and proof of proper licensing.

Tip #2: Leftovers? Probably not. One of the main hooks traveling companies use is offering “leftover asphalt” from their last job. Professional asphalt contractors will know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material. Among the only reasons a contractor might have left over material are inclement weather, equipment problems or cancellations.

Tip #3: Take your time deciding. Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid far beyond the day the estimate is given. If the great deal they are offering you today is not available tomorrow or next week it may be a scam.

Tip #4: Get it in writing. Insist upon a written contract that specifies, in detail, the work to be performed and the agreed-upon price. 

Tip #5: Look out for cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don’t require cash-only terms. If the contractor only takes cash, only pay in full once the work has been done, not just after you check licensing.

Tip #6: Find the permanent location. Traveling asphalt crews often operate out of unmarked trucks and have out-of-state license plates or contact information. Research may or may not show this. Some legitimate contractors aren’t easily found online, so an absence of web presence is not always a bad thing.

To report a suspicious asphalt paving company, call 509-455-4200 or email info@spokane.bbb.org.


ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving E. Washington, N. Idaho & Montana, founded in 1912, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.  

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