Installing paver or other hardscaping on your property is a serious investment with the power to transform your yard and your lifestyle, and to add significant value to your home. Of course, as with any big home improvement project, you’re bound to feel some anxiety about choosing the contractor, and there’s plenty of potential for problems.
You can mitigate the risks considerably by doing your due diligence when comparing installation companies. Just a little time and care at the outset greatly reduces the chances that you’ll end up paying more than your estimate, waiting longer than the quoted project time frame for completion, or ending up disappointed in the results.
We’ve put together some tips for choosing a hardscape contractor to give you some direction when considering your options. If you’re thorough during the vetting process, it’ll take away a lot of that buyer’s anxiety and guarantee as much as possible that things will all work out well.
Choosing a Hardscape Contractor: What to Look For
- Start by compiling a list of candidates with an internet search for terms like “hardscape installation” and “paver installation” in conjunction with your city (e.g., hardscape installation Orlando)
- Also, don’t overlook the opportunity to get referrals from people you know in your area who’ve had hardscaping put in; there’s no substitute for a recommendation (or a warning!) from someone who’s used a company
- Only work with an installation company that’s licensed and insured in your state; confirm with your state’s contractor licensing board
- Opt for a company that specializes in interlocking concrete paver and brick installation, rather than using a general contractor; it requires a specialized process and set of skills
- Find an ICPI-certified concrete paver installer; to the point above, paver hardscaping is so specialized, it has its very own dedicated trade organization
- Look at online customer reviews of companies you’re considering; while they aren’t always authentic (good or bad), it’s helpful if you can find companies with relatively consistent feedback over a significant period of time; Angie’s List, Yelp, and Google are good places to check for user reviews
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) for ratings and/or complaints
- Take a good look at the company’s portfolio of completed projects, whether on their website or in a brochure, and study the details closely; never hire an installer that doesn’t offer photos of completed work
- Look for trust signals on the hardscape contractor’s website, such as awards or industry recognitions; local, state, or national organization memberships; and testimonials that are attributed to real people
- Visit showrooms if the companies you’re considering have them
- Pay attention to the attitude and communication during initial contacts and note which companies are the most responsive, helpful, professional, friendly, etc.
- Be prepared with a list of your most important questions when speaking to representatives to ensure that you get answers you need and to compare the answers (and how easy it was to get them)
- Request a free estimate (any reputable contractor is happy to provide one) to hone in on hardscape installers that can meet your budget and timeline needs
- Evaluate the estimate process, including how pleasant and professional the contractor is to deal with, how forthcoming they are with information about what to expect, how well they listen to you, and what they offer during the planning phase to make sure your vision is realized
- Only work with a hardscaping company that sets everything out in a contract and gives you time to review it before signing