Choosing the right driveway contractors is crucial for ensuring your new asphalt driveway, parking lot, or road is constructed to the highest standards. A well-executed asphalt paving job not only enhances the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your home but also saves you time, money, and frustration in the long run. However, many homeowners, eager to complete their projects quickly, often fall into common traps that result in costly repairs down the line.

Establishing a relationship with a trustworthy asphalt contractor like Black Tar is invaluable. It ensures not just a successful project today but ongoing support and quality service for future needs. Yet, the task of selecting the right contractor can be daunting, given the myriad factors to consider, from experience and reputation to pricing and customer service.In this blog, we will dive into the top five mistakes homeowners make when choosing driveway contractors and provide practical advice on how to avoid these pitfalls. Let us help you confidently navigate the selection process, securing a professional paving company that will deliver exceptional results every time.

Top Mistakes Homeowners Make When Choosing Asphalt Contractors

Here are the 5 mistakes homeowners often make when choosing asphalt paving contractors, along with solutions to steer you towards a dream driveway:

1 – Falling for the Price Trap

We understand that sticking to a budget is crucial when planning a home improvement project. However, choosing an asphalt driveway contractor based only on their low rates can be a costly mistake. While it might be tempting to go with the cheapest option, this approach rarely results in long-lasting quality. Consider it similar to purchasing a car; you wouldn’t make a decision based solely on price without considering the vehicle’s reliability, safety, and longevity.

When driveway contractors offer significantly lower prices than their competitors, they often cut corners to reduce costs. This can mean using substandard materials, employing less experienced labor, or even skimping on essential aspects like insurance and permits. The initial savings can quickly evaporate when you find yourself facing issues like cracks, potholes, or a completely crumbling asphalt driveway within a short period.


To avoid falling into the price trap, take the following steps:

Get Multiple Quotes: Reach out to several reputable driveway contractors and request detailed quotes.

Compare Apples to Apples: Ensure that each quote has the same scope of work and materials. A significantly lower price might mean that the contractor is omitting essential elements or using lower-quality materials.Check for Consistency: Pay attention to the range of prices you receive. Significant discrepancies can be a red flag. While slight variations are normal, a bid that is much lower than the others often indicates compromised quality.

Evaluate Value Over Cost: Consider the long-term value rather than just the immediate asphalt driveway cost. A higher upfront investment in a reputable asphalt pavement contractor who uses quality materials and skilled labor will save you money on repairs and replacements in the future.

Ask About Insurance and Licensing: Ensure that the contractor is fully insured and licensed. This protects you from liability in case of accidents and ensures that the contractor meets industry standards.

2 – Skipping Insurance Verification

Many homeowners overlook the critical step of verifying a contractor’s insurance coverage, assuming that all professionals are properly insured. However, accidents can and do happen, and failing to ensure that your asphalt driveway contractor has the appropriate insurance can leave you vulnerable to significant financial burdens. Whether it’s damage to your property or injuries sustained by workers on your premises, without proper insurance, you could be held liable for the costs.


To protect yourself, follow these guidelines:

 Request Proof of Insurance: Always ask for proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage before signing any contracts. A reputable contractor should be able to provide this documentation promptly.

Verify Coverage: Don’t just take their word for it—contact the insurance provider to verify that the policy is current and covers the scope of work being performed.

Understand the Coverage: Ensure that the contractor’s insurance policy covers both property damage and injuries that might occur on your property. This comprehensive coverage is crucial for your protection.

Walk Away If Necessary: If a contractor cannot provide proof of insurance or if their coverage seems insufficient, do not hesitate to walk away. It’s better to find another contractor than to risk potential financial liabilities.

3 – Not Planning for Proper Drainage

A well-designed drainage system is essential for the longevity and performance of your asphalt driveway. Without proper drainage, stormwater and rainwater can accumulate on the surface, leading to a host of problems such as pooling, erosion, and, eventually, significant damage to the asphalt. Water that does not drain thoroughly can seep into the asphalt pavement, causing it to weaken and crack. This can shorten the lifespan of your driveway and result in expensive repairs.


To ensure your asphalt driveway has effective drainage, take these steps:

Discuss Drainage Plans: When interviewing potential contractors, make sure to discuss their approach to drainage. A competent contractor should have a clear understanding of how to manage water flow on your property.

Assess Property Layout: Ensure that the contractor takes into account your property’s layout. This includes the slope of the land, the position of buildings, and existing landscaping features that could affect water drainage.

Incorporate Proper Sloping: The contractor should design the asphalt driveway with a slope that directs water away from the pavement and towards appropriate drainage areas. This might include sloping the driveway surface or installing drains and gutters.

Use Quality Materials: Ensure that the contractor uses durable materials and construction techniques that will support proper drainage. For example, permeable asphalt can allow water to pass through the surface, reducing runoff.

Regular Maintenance: After installation, maintain the drainage system by keeping gutters, drains, and slopes clear of debris. Regular inspections can help catch and fix minor drainage issues before they become major problems.

#4 – Neglecting References

References are a powerful tool for evaluating the reliability and quality of a contractor’s work. Past clients can provide firsthand insights into the contractor’s work ethic, communication skills, and the overall quality of their projects.


To effectively utilize references, follow these steps:

Request References: Ask the contractor to provide a list of references from recent projects. A reputable contractor should have no problem supplying this information.

Contact References: Take the time to call these individuals and ask about their experience with the contractor. Questions should cover the scope of the project, the quality of the work, adherence to timelines, and how any issues were handled.

Inquire About Challenges: Ask the references about any challenges they encountered during the project and how the contractor addressed them. This will give you an idea of the contractor’s problem-solving abilities and professionalism.

Visit Completed Projects: If possible, visit some of the completed asphalt driveway projects to see the quality of the work firsthand. This can give you a clearer picture of what to expect.

Read Online Reviews: In addition to personal references, check online reviews on reputable platforms like Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau. These reviews can provide additional insights and help you identify any recurring issues or red flags.

5 – Rushing the Decision-Making Process

Selecting the right asphalt contractors requires careful consideration and due diligence. The urge to complete the project quickly can lead homeowners to make hasty choices without thoroughly investigating their options. This can result in hiring an unqualified contractor, leading to subpar workmanship and unsatisfactory results.


To avoid rushing the decision-making process, follow these steps:

Thorough Investigation: Research multiple asphalt contractors before making a decision. Look into their history, reputation, and the types of projects they have completed.

Ask Comprehensive Questions: Prepare a list of questions to ask potential contractors. Inquire about their experience with similar asphalt driveway projects, the materials they use, their proposed timeline, and their approach to handling unexpected issues. This will help you gauge their expertise and reliability.

Evaluate References: Don’t just ask for references—take the time to contact them. Speak with past clients about their experiences, the quality of the work, and any problems they encountered. This will give you a clearer picture of what working with the contractor might be like.

Take Your Time: Avoid the pressure to make a quick decision. Take the time you need to gather all relevant information and consider your options carefully. Making a hasty choice can lead to regret and potentially costly mistakes.

Final Thoughts

Whether you need asphalt or concrete paving, selecting the right pavement services can significantly reduce the asphalt driveway cost while ensuring high-quality results. Avoiding common pitfalls when choosing an asphalt paving contractor is crucial to prevent hassle, unnecessary expenses, and subpar work.

Make an informed decision by entrusting your paving project to skilled professionals who will deliver a visually appealing and durable outcome. The short-term inconvenience of vetting driveway contractors is far outweighed by the long-term benefits of a properly executed paving project.

Ready to start your asphalt paving project in Ottawa? Contact Black Tar today for expert driveway contractors and exceptional results. Your satisfaction and peace of mind are our top priorities!

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