1. Where to look for a pavers installer/contractor
The first step for many people in looking for a contractor is an online search. Ideally, when researching contractors, you want to make a list of at least 2 or 3 pavers contractors. If possible, try to avoid adding general contractors to your list. General contractors are a good idea if you are doing multiple projects simultaneously, but for a specific project they can be somewhat more expensive with less expertise in that area.
2. Checking up on your pavers contractors
Go to the Contractor State License Board and check if their license and insurance is up to date.
Go to the Better Business Bureau. Any major complaints or unresolved issues will be posted there.
Yelp.com is another great place to research a pavers company, but be sure to be careful. Yelp's algorithm can sometimes highlight fraudulent reviews from non-existent customers, competing companies, or company owners looking to boost their ratings. Take each review with a grain of salt.
Angie's List is a review source you can trust. Angie's list customers need to register and provide their information, including address, in order to review thereby eliminating the ability to set up a quick and easy fake account to either bash a company or unfairly boost ratings.In many surveys, Angie's list customers tend to be more satisfied with their contractors than other websites.
Google is a fast and common way to research company.
3. Check their industry recognition
Reliable contractors are often recognized by the manufacturers who inspect their work according to manufacturer's own specific standards. Be sure to look for authentic badges such as the one on the right on your contractor's website or brochures. Some paving stone makers have an award like the MASTER CRAFTSMAN Award by Belgard , awarded for meeting the manufacturer's highest standards (currently Eminent Pavers is one out of 2 contractors in California). And of course you can simply call the manufacturer and ask them to recommend a company to install their products.
4. Free estimate call
You found the contractor you like and you want to schedule a free estimate - Give them a call and schedule your appointment. Ask yourself, did they sound organized? Were they accommodating? Were they able to provide the name of the person you will be meeting with? If a company doesn't have good customer service at the first call, then they certainly won't have good customer service when you run into problems.
5. Prepare for the meeting
Go to the contractors website and search if they have an online catalog. Some contractors have ONLINE PAVERS PRICES on their website so you can browse by your budget and style and be prepared for the meeting. Knowing your preferred paver type can save you a lot of time and money.
6. Free estimate meeting
A good company representative will listen to your needs and answer any questions. The rep should have the experience to provide you with a basic design and cost. Ask the rep questions about the experience or certification he has - a good rep will be certified with the ICPI. Find out if the representative will be present during the actual work.
7. Getting the price
Always ask for a written estimate. Some reps will give you a price on-site and others will have to do more calculations and send you the proposal by email, depending on the complicity of the work. A bad sign is when the contractor lowers the price every time you say "I need to think about it" Prices that are too good to be true usually are! An honest company will provide you with a price per square feet, This will help you to compare side by side the price and the type of installation the estimate is included.
Be sure to ask your contractor to use ICPI recommendations in their installation service.
8. Comparing and choosing the right company for you
TAKE YOUR ESTIMATES AND DO A SIMPLE TABLE SCORE AND ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
How was your initial experience over the phone (when calling for a free estimate)?
How was your Estimate Meeting with the contractor rep at your house? was it informative and professional or car salesman techniques, pushy, changing prices, suspicious promotions, repeated price deduction - are usually a bad sign.
How were their online reviews?
Was the price reasonable but not "too good to be true"?
Have they received any awards or industry recognition?
How professional was the estimate - Proffesiona contractors will provide you with a written and detailed estimate, the estimate need to be included separate prices for each service and not one price for all work. Contractors that dont provide detail price list is usually a bad sign that prices are not regulated.
Once you've found a company who you feel comfortable working with, and their price fits your budget, make sure all the information you've discussed with the contractor is in the contract. Make sure there is sketch with all information. Make certain, even in the contract that the pavers installation is according to ICPI standards. Some cities or HOA area require permit or HOA approve, make sure to get the necessary permits or approval before signing a contract.
10. You can always say no or change your mind
Even after you sign a contract you have 3 business days to change your mind and the contractor must return your deposit. It is far better to change your mind during that time period than to wait it out. Pavers are long lasting and durable; make sure to make the right choice.