Just like seeking any services, it’s essential to ask questions when you’re choosing a concrete contractor. It’s one way to ensure that you find the right contractor that matches your concrete project. Also, it helps narrow down your choices, eliminating lower-quality and inexperienced contractors.
Of course, you want a team that is experienced and works in precision. You want a concrete company that can provide you top-notch concrete services, regardless if it’s a residential or commercial project. In this way, you can kick start your project and achieve your goals as expected.
In this post, you’ll learn the right questions to ask when hiring a concrete company in Seattle.
How Long Have You’ve Been Doing Projects in Seattle?
Whether you live in the islands of Mercer, Vashon, Bainbridge, or Seattle metro areas, such as Des Moines or Woodway, it’s always a good idea to hire a concrete company that is experienced serving customers locally.
Experience tells a lot about a company. It’s foolproof evidence that the concrete company is able to withstand tight competition, and their reliability and trust rating is incredibly high. So it would be best if you weren’t shy asking this question. A good concrete contractor will be glad to answer it and proud even to provide additional details for you.
Here are some follow-up topics you can deep dive into formulating related questions around this main idea:
- Types of concrete projects done
- Last client in Seattle
- Number of projects per year
Can I See Your Portfolio?
Portfolios can be seen on the concrete company’s website. However, online photos don’t always say what they really look like in person or actual setting. While you may request to see some of the pictures of their previous work, it’s a good idea to visit the finished work areas yourself with a company representative with you.
You might hesitate to do so, but having a brave soul sets you apart from other clients. It only goes to show that you are serious about your next project, and the concrete company must also be serious about showing what they can do.
Here are the things you need to observe when checking the portfolio of a concrete company:
Sometimes, a plastic settlement is related to excessive water in the cement mix. It can be caused by inadequate concrete covering the steel, blowout or form movement, excessive water in the concrete, and poor consolidation practices. Once the concrete is placed, it starts to consolidate, and when bleed water rises to the surface, consolidation of cement particles occurs, and then the concrete settles, which is restrained by steel and cracks will develop above the steel as evidenced by the crack pattern, which would require concrete resurfacing sooner as expected.
Delamination of the Surface and Widespread Spalling
Concrete becomes porous when absorbed water freezes. If there’s no method used in accommodating the expansion, the concrete will flake or crack, breaking loose and separating from the surface. The concrete should gain significant strength by aging before the freezing of absorbed moisture. Otherwise, cracking and widespread spalling are evident. But if the concrete company uses the right heavy equipment when renovating, this issue can be avoided.
Scaling and Crazing
When hardened concrete flakes at the surface, it is called scaling. It could be due to increased exposure to thawing and freezing that is made worse by the de-icing salt application, improperly cured concrete, overworking the concrete surface during finishing, poor water drainage, and use of fertilizers, such as ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.
May I Request to Get at Least Three References?
References refer to contact information of previous clients that a concrete company can provide, which will serve as proof of their excellent concrete work. It’s a good idea to obtain at least three references to ensure that you get different insights as to how the contractor performs work and what kind of service and results you can expect.
A concrete company will be more than happy to provide you references because they’re not hiding anything and is proud of their excellent job. Make sure to contact each reference and ask relevant questions, such as their personal rating of the concrete company ‘0’ being the lowest and ’10’ as the highest satisfaction score.
If you would be able to make it, ask to see the finished site so you can inspect the output and see it yourself, not merely relying on the judgment of the residential or commercial property owner. By doing so, it will be easier for you to narrow down your list of prospective concrete companies in Seattle.
What Warranties and Guarantees Come With Your Concrete Work?
While most concrete projects look beautiful, the most important aspect is its quality in the long run. There are instances wherein property owners get frustrated discovering huge cracks starting to develop in the pavement or driveway due to improper concrete work.
That’s why you have to protect yourself against poor quality craftsmanship by asking the contractor about the types of warranties and guarantees they provide. As much as possible, obtain a written warranty and a trustworthy concrete company will be eager to supply you one.
As much as possible, choose a concrete company that offers at least 12 to 24 months guarantee for their work. In this way, the contractor is committed to fixing any concrete problem within this time frame.
How Soon Can You Start the Project?
In demand, concrete companies are usually fully booked. Yes, these companies have a busy schedule. That’s why it’s important to ask this question, most especially if you’re also trying to meet a schedule of the project end date. If you’re expecting a quick turnaround, choose a concrete contractor that can meet your strict deadline.
Here are the things you should consider when choosing a start date for your next concrete project:
Expected Project Duration
Of course, make sure to also ask about the expected duration of the project. Small concrete projects, such as driveways, usually take two to three days. On the other hand, more extensive projects, like concrete counters, concrete walls, and commercial sidewalks around your property, may take one to two weeks.
Verbal to Written Agreement
If you’re already sure hiring the concrete company, it’s important to put everything in writing and review the contract to ensure the start date is the same date as you’ve initially agreed.
Special Permits Required
Ask the concrete company if you need to get permits for your project. A knowledgeable concrete contractor knows the required permits and the permitting process. On the other hand, a contractor without any idea of how the permitting process works most likely lacks experience and produces low-quality work.
How Do You Protect Your Workers on the Job?
While you can ask if the concrete finishers of the concrete company are trained and experienced to do the job, it’s important to ask this question not just for the protection of workers, but also for your protection. Untoward incidents happen and even the expert ones also experience injuries or accidents in the concrete work site.
Here are the two things you have to make certain that a concrete company has:
Workman’s Compensation Benefit
If a concrete worker is injured on the job and the company provides workers’ compensation benefits, the employee will receive medical treatment, a compensation payment for damages, such as any permanent disability, payments for time off from work recovering, and job retraining for those who cannot return to their old job.
It provides you and the concrete company with protection against claims that result from injuries and damages to people or property. It covers both any payouts and legal costs and for which the concrete company or you would be responsible if found to be legally liable.
Are You a Licensed Concrete Contractor?
Every state has a set of requirements when it comes to licensing concrete contractors. In Washington, any business that includes construction, remodeling, alteration, or property repair, demolishes or wreck moving structures, or develop residential properties needs to obtain a contractor’s license.
Before you start hiring a concrete contractor, it’s important to know if the company is licensed or not.
Having a license ensures that all workers have undergone proper education and training, apprenticeships, and are qualified to perform concrete works. Also, you have to ensure that all licenses are up to date.
Here’s the process of how a concrete contractor obtains a license in the state of Washington:
Make sure to ask if the concrete company has a business registration with the Washington Secretary of State by asking the UBI number and proof of registration. The documents required to be submitted online or by mail include a Certificate of Authority for corporations or for LLC, a Certificate of Registration, and a certificate of good standing from your home state.
Registration with the Department of Revenue
Any business that makes more than $12,000 income a year or those businesses with employees are required to register their business with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Employment Security Department.
Obtain an EIN Number
For businesses with employees, like concrete companies, getting a contractor license application would require the EIN number from IRS federal tax ID through their website.
For specialty contractors, a surety bond of $6,000 is required. On the other hand, a general contractor needs a $12,000 surety bond, which can be obtained from an insurance agent.
Submit Proof of Insurance
The Washington state requires contractors to get and submit proof of insurance policy or a certificate that the concrete company has a minimum insurance policy of $50,000 for property damage and public liability coverage of $200,000.
Who Will Be In Charge of the Project?
Asking this question is relevant as to how the concrete company will go about the project under the supervision of an experienced and qualified concrete professional. By knowing who is in charge, you’ll know the person to contact if ever there’s a problem with the workers or you have questions or concerns about the project.
Also, you also need to know whether the assigned project manager has plans taking a leave or vacations, so the timetable of your project won’t be significantly affected. If so, there should be an alternate person that you would be able to contact when problems arise.
Can I See a Sample of Your Contract?
Knowing what a contract contains is vital to the success of your project. Having a clearly defined contract means setting proper expectations and avoiding issues in the future. It ensures that every task or stage of the project are carefully carried out for the best outcomes.
Here are the details that you should see in a concrete contractor contract:
Make sure that the concrete company’s name, phone number, physical address, and license and insurance account numbers are all written on the contract so that if you have a dispute, you can easily reach the company.
Complete Work Description
It should include the individual aspects and overall scope of concrete work, from the foundation, framing to finishing work needed. Also, it should state the quality and type of materials, as well as the manufacturers’ name, quantity, size, style, and color. All equipment, such as cement mixers, should be indicated too. If there would be any changes in the scope of the work, make sure that there’s a written change order. It should be signed off by both the property owner and the contractor.
A contract should also clearly define the start date of the project and the approximate length of time to finish the project.
Schedule of Payments
While some contractors don’t collect any fees until the work is finished, others would require property owners to pay fifty percent upfront. Generally, the average would be three payments, once the majority of materials are delivered, when the project is half-finished, and when 20 percent of the work is done.
Now you’re all set to ask the questions above to your prospective concrete contractors. These questions would discuss further the experience, expertise, and expected results of your next concrete project. Choosing a trusted, dependable, and experienced concrete company that can show foolproof evidence of excellent work will give you peace of mind and confidence that your next concrete project will be a success.