The High Cost of Choosing The Lowest Bid
Often commercial property owners, municipalities and sometimes even professional property management companies choose the lowest bid. This practice can actually end up costing more. Most companies follow the basic guidelines of obtaining the proper documentation before accepting a bid from a contractor: proof of sufficient liability insurance, proof of workmen’s compensation insurance and a W-9. Many groups mentioned above may neglect to use BBB, personal references and online reviews. Failure to do your due diligence can cost you more than you think.
These are some of the perils of taking the bait and some additional things to look for and questions to ask:
All commercial grade asphalt sealer comes in a concentrated form from the manufacturer. The components of the mixture consist of water and performance additives such as latex and silica sand. Over diluting the product will result in less solids being left on your pavement after the water dissipates and the product cures resulting in premature wear. Under diluting the product can result in the product not curing properly and tracking tar into your home or business.
The benefits of latex additives are: accelerated drying time, a harder, blacker finish and aiding in suspending the silica sand in the sealer. If the sand is not distributed evenly throughout the final film left on your pavement it will cause premature failure. The benefits of silica sand when properly mixed are a harder, longer lasting film as well as providing a less slippery surface. If someone slips and falls on your pavement, you, as well as the contractor, can be held liable. This brings us to the next problem with choosing the lowest bid: Insurance.
Fly by night contractors have been around forever. Some things to look for are: out of state license plates, toll free telephone numbers with no local area code and magnetic signs that can easily be changed to the “area” they are working or more precisely “hustling”. The old “we have some additional material left over and can offer you a great deal”. Reputable paving companies rarely miscalculate the amount of material needed to complete a project.
Reputable sealcoaters have round tanks with a hydraulic agitation system. Avoid any sealcoat company or individual with a square tank because proper agitation which is essential is impossible with a square tank. These scam artists do not carry liability insurance or workmen’s compensation insurance. If a hose breaks and sealer covers your home, your automobile or your concrete, you are left holding the bag so to speak. If a worker is injured or a freak accident happens your property and the contractor does not carry workmen’s compensation insurance you could lose everything. That small amount of money you thought you were saving just caused you to enter “The Twilight Zone”.
When the economy took a free fall there were and still are people who got into the asphalt maintenance business as a way to feed their family. Without the cost of the proper knowledge of application procedures, proper equipment, liability insurance and workmen’s compensation insurance even the well meaning guy trying to feed his family can cause you grief.
This brings us to the next topic: Experience. How long has the company been in business? Verify this with as many sources as possible. The internet hold a wealth of information and a little time spent doing research can pay off tremendously.
In conclusion, I remember my dad, the founder of Jet-Seal back in 1958, often reciting a quote. I’m not sure if this was his insight or if he borrowed it from some other wise person. The quote was, “Services are like oats, you can buy them a lot cheaper if they’ve been through the horse first”. Many people see the value in paying more for a better meal, a quality home or vehicle, clothing and many other products. They know from experience that usually paying a little more for a quality product costs less over time. Asphalt maintenance is no different.
This guest blog was written by Ted Lovell, owner of Jet-Seal, a BBB Accredited Business.
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