Finding a good contractor can seem impossible — between all the available options and competing online advertisements, how do you find the right one for the job? With good research and a quality deep dive into local options, you’ll save yourself lots of time. Knowing what to look for in a concrete contractor can help you find the right option with minimal stress.
With the right tools, you can narrow down your concrete contractor options to find the best fit for your needs. Concrete exterior projects last for decades if done correctly and involve your time and money. You want to protect your investment by making sure you get the best contractor for the job. You can find a qualified, certified contractor for your next home exterior concrete project by evaluating their past work, current services, licensing and other factors.
Use this guide to help you know what to ask a concrete contractor and how to find the right group for your needs. Once you know what you need to look for, you’ll be able to cut through the less-reliable contractors and find the quality ones. We have nine insider tips and more helpful answers to give you the best concrete contractor search experience possible.
What Does a Concrete Contractor Do?
Concrete contractors use concrete to build different structures for residential or commercial purposes. Concrete is commonly used for residential projects like driveways, walkways and patios, but there are dozens of commercial and residential projects you might need a concrete contractor for. Additionally, many concrete contractors offer decorative options and retaining wall concrete services. Each contractor is different, so finding the right one for your needs is essential.
Concrete contractors will handle every step of the process — they’ll work with you to design the project specs and continue the job all the way through concrete mixing and pouring. You’ll need to listen to your contractor carefully through the concrete curing process and finishing steps. Concrete is a lasting, attractive home exterior material, but it needs a careful, experienced hand to ensure the job is done correctly.
How to Start Looking for a Concrete Contractor
Once you know you want a concrete contractor for your project, you’ll need to start looking for the right one. Make sure to take your time with the planning stage to ensure you give yourself the best chance of finding a quality concrete contractor. The better prepared you are, the more successful you’ll be.
Here are a couple of considerations to make as you start looking into contractors for your concrete project:
Outline Your Project
Always begin your exterior home contractor search with a project outline. You need to know what kind of project you want, where it’ll be on your property and what budget you’ll have to help you identify the contractor you need. The more complex your home project, the more specialized your contractor needs to be.
Go over your project carefully and outline what service you’re looking for, what you’d be willing to spend on it and the times you can have the project done. While you might not have specifics for everything at this early stage, making a rough draft for your concrete project can help you narrow your contractor search.
Keep your outline on hand while researching and asking questions. This way, you never forget essential details or concerns while speaking to contractors.
With so many contractor options, you may not know where to start. The internet makes finding a contractor easier than ever, but it also gives you more options to sift through.
Start by browsing contractors near you, so you can be sure they service your area. Compile a list of concrete contractors that serve your location and specialize in the work you want to be completed.
Once you know what you want to be done and have a list of potential contractors, you can begin narrowing your search, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
What Questions to Ask a Concrete Contractor
Part of finding the right contractor is knowing what to ask a concrete contractor. You need to research all the contractors’ work, references and credentials, but you have to know how to ask for this information. Coming prepared with detailed questions will help you weed out contractors and secure the one you like best for the job.
When asking contractors questions, you want to find one that makes you comfortable. They should be professional, friendly and knowledgeable. You’ll ask them administrative questions during the screening process, which this article will cover later. Additionally, ask them about their concrete process and details. Experienced contractors will know everything about their concrete and the projects they’re completing.
Consider asking potential contractors questions like:
- What concrete care do I need to do?
- How long will my concrete last?
- What concrete works best with the soil conditions of my area?
- What curing methods do you use?
- How do you prevent your concrete jobs from cracking?
- Will you need to reinforce the concrete with rebar?
- How long will my project take?
These are just jumping-off points — use these questions to get a feel for each contractor and their experience. The more experience they have, the better they can answer your questions. Additionally, they’re more likely to offer references and other information unprompted if they’re experienced and have nothing to hide.
Overall, the contractor you choose should be professional, friendly and knowledgeable.
How to Find a Good Concrete Contractor
After outlining what you want from the project and getting a list of nearby contractors, it’s time to start narrowing your options down. With every contractor competing for your business, you’ll need to ensure the one you pick is trustworthy, experienced and correct for you.
Use the following tips to help you get the best contractor for the job. With an excellent concrete contractor, you’ll have a lasting, attractive project that enhances your home and makes the most of your budget.
1. Look at Each Contractor’s Services
What concrete services do they offer? A quality concrete contractor will offer many services, from driveway and patio building to concrete repairs. If you’re looking for a more specialized concrete contractor, expect them to have a different set of offerings.
Look for a contractor that performs the work you’re looking for and several other concrete jobs. Contractors who have experience in numerous concrete projects show they can handle a range of concrete projects easily. You want to look for someone who can do what you need but isn’t limited to that.
2. Use References
Using references is an excellent way to find quality contractors. Ask your friends and family if they’ve recently used a concrete contractor they really liked. If they vouch for the contractor’s work, the contractor will likely do quality work for you.
Explore each contractor’s online reviews, as well. While these sometimes aren’t as reliable as reviews from people you know, they’ll give you a clear idea of the contractor’s work. Look for consistencies in good and bad reviews — the more something is mentioned, the more likely it is to be true.
Additionally, request references from each contractor. A quality concrete contractor won’t hesitate to give you some references for their work. If they have lots of positive references on hand, they’ll be waiting to show them off. If they have few good references, they’ll be less willing to give you any, and you’ll know to avoid them.
Ask references questions like:
- Would you recommend this contractor to people you know?
- What concrete projects did you use them for?
- How long did the project take?
- Are you happy with the project’s quality?
- Did the contractor communicate well with you?
- What do you wish the contractor had done better?
The answers to these questions will help you get a feel for the contractor’s work. You can steer clear of their work if they have poor reviews or no references. Dive into their references thoroughly to fully understand the contractor and their work quality.
3. Review Past Projects
Ask each contractor for a portfolio of previous work they can share with you. You can review their past projects and get a feel for the look and style of their work. If you want to see more, try to browse online reviews for more photos.
Additionally, you can ask their references how their concrete projects have held up after the initial installation. A quality, reliable contractor isn’t afraid to let their work speak for itself — they’ll gladly hand over a portfolio showing off their work.
4. Get Quotes
Budget and price are often essential factors influencing the decisions homeowners make. Sticking to your budget is important, but don’t forget that quality usually means higher costs. Going with the least-expensive contractor option can often get you lower-quality work. Look for quotes close to your budget, but be prepared to pay a little more for concrete work if you’re looking for the best results.
You’ll already have your estimated budget for the project, but you need to get quotes in writing from every contractor to see a rough range of project costs. Ensure you get quotes in writing so you can reference them later if you pick that contractor. Compare written contractor quotes to see whose pricing is too high, low or just right for your project needs.
5. Check Licensing and Insurance
Always ask potential contractors if they’re licensed and insured. These assurances are essential if you want good, reliable contractor work. Contractors typically need to hold a general contractor’s or specific concrete licenses. While only some states require specific concrete licenses for contractors, it’s always best to go with a licensed contractor.
Contractors without licensing and insurance are unsafe to work with and aren’t cleared to perform concrete work on your home, as they haven’t taken the proper steps to get licensed by the state and haven’t agreed to follow state codes regarding their work. A contractor refusing to agree to state regulations will likely cut corners on local codes, increasing your risk of getting an unsafe concrete job.
Insurance is also critical. Insurance protects you, the contractor and their work if any issues arise. Liability insurance helps protect your investment if something compromises the concrete project’s quality and helps keep you from footing the whole bill. It also covers the contractor from these problems and any work injuries, making them a safer bet than uninsured contractors.
6. Look Into Scheduling Abilities
Concrete projects take longer than other home exterior jobs. Concrete needs to cure over several days before anything can go on it. It’ll take at least a week before you can do anything more than walk on your concrete and a month before the concrete fully cures. You need to know that the contractor can arrive and complete their work on schedule without the project impacting any important events you have coming up.
It’s best to go with a contractor that has openings for you around when you need the work done. If you have to complete your concrete project within the month, you’ll have to pick a contractor with openings during that month. If a contractor has no availability when you need them, you should find someone else unless you really want to work with that contractor.
You can ask them about their backup plans along with their job timeline and schedule. Weather can interfere with project completion, especially during the curing stage. Ask the contractor what they do if rain, wind or snow happens during the project. Look into their rescheduling options and weather plans to ensure they’re prepared for anything.
7. Get Everything in Writing
Whenever you’re requesting quotes, licensing, insurance or other information, always get it in writing. Without written documents stating the information, some contractors might try to walk back on what they initially promised. If you have their statements in writing, they can’t pretend they said something different, and you can go with a contractor who honors their initial terms.
Additionally, always request a contract once you select a contractor. A written contract will lay out all the project’s terms and information, protecting you from unauthorized changes down the line. Ask each contractor if contracts are their standard and get them to discuss what’s usually in their contracts. With everything in writing, you can incorporate your initial terms into your contract and ensure you’re getting a contractor who stands by their word.
8. Explore Warranties
Most concrete contractors will have an installation warranty to help cover issues caused by installation. Even the best contractors can have things go wrong, so it’s best to ensure they’ll offer a warranty that will pay for issues that may arise during the project.
Ask what damages the warranty covers and what happens if issues appear after installation. A good contractor will have a warranty and will be upfront with you about the warranty’s terms. Understanding a warranty’s contents will help you pick out the better contractor options available to you.
9. Pick the Contractor You Like
At the end of the day, the most important factor is your opinion of the contractor. A contractor could be extremely highly rated, but it’s best to look elsewhere if they’re rude or inattentive to you. Concrete contractors will work closely with you on your exterior project — you need to feel comfortable with them.
If you find a friendly, attentive and experienced contractor, they’re your best bet. You’re trusting the contractor to care for your home’s exterior and perform the job correctly. Go with the contractor that best suits your needs and makes you feel heard.
How to Hire a Concrete Contractor
Once you’ve found the contractor you want to work with, it’s time to schedule your job. Your contractor will need to know the project specs, your wants and other job details. You’ll request a quote from your contractor of choice through their website or phone number.
Then, they’ll get in touch with you about your concrete project. After your quote, they’ll work on drawing up a contract and scheduling the project. Work with your contractor to get the project that fulfills your requirements in a timeframe that works for both of you.
Once the contract is drawn up and signed, you just need to sit back and let your contractor complete the work. They’ll let you know when they’re coming, what you need to do during the process and how to care for your concrete. After completion, your contractor will review the next steps and things to look out for in the weeks following. You might need to contact them if the concrete cures incorrectly or if you have further questions.
You can then begin enjoying your new concrete project after a job well done!
Expert Concrete Services From Coldstream Exteriors
Coldstream Exteriors has delivered expert home exterior services to our clients for over 25 years. We use high-quality, durable materials for years of lasting exterior work. We’re insured, licensed and bonded, so you can trust us to handle your project carefully and efficiently.
In addition to concrete, we offer our customers unmatched roofing, siding, window and gutter services. With no money due upfront and affordable financing options, you can get the top-quality services you need when you need them.
Coldstream Exteriors holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating — you can count on us to deliver the project you want. We’re available 24/7 to help our customers with their exterior concerns. If you’re interested in upgrading your home exterior with our professional services, contact us for your free inspection today!