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When planning your next parking lot paving or maintenance project, the following tips will help ensure you are receiving comparable quotes.  If you are comparing an apple to an orange to a banana, it becomes difficult to make an educated decision about which contractor to use for your project.

Define the scope of work – It is important to have a clear scope of work defined, so that all bidders are providing proposals for the same work.  In the event you are unsure of what your parking lot needs, contact a trusted contractor to help establish the scope, then send requests for proposals.  Absent a defined scope, each contractor may propose different remedies for your parking lot issues.  For example, one contractor may prescribe a 2” mill and overlay for your lot, while another could propose repairing the worst damage, then seal coating the property.  These scopes will result in vastly different pricing.

Get multiple quotes – It is always a sound idea to get more than one proposal so that a Board, Homeowners’ Association, or other decision makers can establish a basis for comparison.  Often, decision makers do not have a frame of reference for the costs involved in a particular project.  Receiving multiple bids provides a baseline from which to work.

Review each proposal for content, quantities, and unit pricing – Each proposal will be presented differently.  Remember to review each quote thoroughly for what work is included, as well as what is excluded.  Comparing the total bid prices is typically not sufficient, as you may be getting different items from one contractor than from another.

Ask questions – If after reviewing the proposals, something is unclear, reach back to the contractor and ask for clarification.  The goal is to ensure the decision makers fully understand each proposal in order to make the best decision for the property.  If appropriate, invite the bidders to meet with the decision makers to present their proposals and clearly explain the work.

Price vs. Value – Although price is an important factor when investing in your parking lot, it is not the only piece of the puzzle.  While it may be tempting to simply accept the low bid, this is not always your best option.  Consider the professionalism of the contractor and their reputation.  Ask for references.  Weigh the physical presentation of their bid – is there a clear description of the proposed work? How will the project be executed to minimize disruption to residents or tenants? What type of warranty is offered?

Carefully consider the above when planning your next parking lot paving or maintenance project.  Choosing the right contractor today can save you the headaches and money down the road!