When choosing a contractor to oversee an asphalt paving project, it’s important to remember that the company with the lowest bid is not always the best option — especially if a lack of accreditation, insufficient crew or other issue is the reason the price is so low.

As you weigh your options for hiring an asphalt contractor, you’ll want to consider a few important details about the companies you’re looking to hire.

Insurance and Warranty

If a bid seems unusually low, this could mean the contractor is uninsured. In the event of an accident, a homeowner with an uninsured or underinsured contractor may end up paying the price.

To protect yourself and the crew working on your project, ensure the contractor’s insurance covers auto liability, general liability, an umbrella policy and worker’s compensation. Everyone on the crew should be covered by the insurance policy and the contractor should have a minimum $500,000 per policy coverage, with $1 million to $2 million being an ideal amount.

It’s also important to ask for a project warranty in writing before the work gets started so you can guarantee the work is completed to industry standards. You should also ask for tips from installation experts about how to extend the life of the completed paving project.

Materials, Equipment And Crew

• Having good materials, the latest equipment and a sufficiently sized and trained crew goes a long way toward ensuring a successful project. Asphalt is continuously recycled, meaning different grades of asphalt contain various percentages of recycled material. High-grade asphalt is ideal, as it contains less recycled material, while low-grade asphalt can affect the look of and shorten the lifespan of your pavement.

• Ask about the contractor’s equipment and how it is maintained. If the equipment is older, worn out or hasn’t been properly maintained, the machines may break down and delay the project. Any significant wait time can adversely affect the finished product.

• Avoid contractors who do asphalt paving by hand, as paving machines are more efficient and deliver a better-quality product. An efficient paving team should have five to eight trained, credentialed and experienced workers.

Experience, Scope And Reputation

Contractors should have the right amount of specific experience. If you’re doing industrial paving, a contractor whose expertise lies in small, residential paving projects may not be right for your project.

That being said, make sure the contractor has a clearly written scope of work for your project. Research the contractor thoroughly and ask local business owners or neighbors about their asphalt contractor experiences.

You should also ask the contractor for at least three references so you can ask detailed questions about the work the company does. Look for online ratings and reviews on the company’s website, social media and with the Better Business Bureau.