Sunday, August 21, 2011

Paving contractors have groupies too

The town is repaving our street. Work started last week with a huge truck/machine stripping the old pavement from the road base and other equipment preparing the surface for new pavement.

I was working in my office, which is part of our house, when a truck pulled up in the driveway and young man jumped out and approached the door. He claimed to be working down at the other end of the street, implying that he had something to do with the repaving project, and that they had some extra asphalt that might go to waste. He could get his crew right over and pave my driveway with this extra material for $3.50 a square foot.

I had heard about these “gypsy” pavers and decided to play along so I could find out more about this scheme. I told him that I’d have to check with my wife first and that she should be back in an hour.

I called our town’s DPW and asked about this company. The director confirmed that there was no contractor by this name doing any work for the town. I then called the town’s repaving contractor and spoke with the project supervisor who also confirmed that they were not subcontracting any of this work to the gypsy paver nor had they ever subbed work to that company.

He said it’s common for these companies to shadow them around the state offering on-the-spot repaving using a cold mix paving process with substandard materials. Cold mix paving is fine for paving over existing road but it needs to cure for a couple of weeks, be power swept, and then chip sealed.

Mary returned from her errands and I told her I was checking out this paving scheme. She said, “Well’s there a guy out there with a pick axe and a shovel tearing up our driveway!”

I ran out to stop the demolition and told the kid to leave my property. Their truck stopped at the end of the driveway a few minutes later scooping up the worker and took off.

Talking with a friend later that day, he speculated that starting the job without permission, no quotation, no contract, and no deposit was actually part of the scheme. “Oh, sorry,” the gypsy paver would say. “My boss told me to get started. I’ll call him right now.” His boss would then show up, apologize and offer a better price because of the screw up.

In my case, I ran the worker off before he and his boss could execute their scheme. Fortunately, he hadn’t done too much damage, though I spent a good part of the afternoon cleaning it up.

3 comments:

  1. Randy, a great warning, particularly to our senior citizen population who these people take advantage of. Like the roofing industry, if it sounds too good to be true....hide your wallet. I have found that dealing with the local established companies who pave might cost you a couple of dollars more, however, they put down a good product and stand behind their work. I have had great luck with Clover. I would also like to add that the same scam can involve sealing your driveway. If a guy shows up with 20 buckets of driveway sealer...don't pay him till the whole driveway is done and meets your approval. Again, I stick with Clover for sealing they have never failed me. And before the anon's attack me..NO I don't know one person who works for Clover...just had good luck with them. Just imagine Randy if that was a swimming pool company and they just started digging up your back yard....:)

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  2. @Miles S: Thank you for that information. I have contacted the company. I've decided not to print the names of any companies here that are involved in this scheme. I'll use this blog to expose their M.O. and hopefully save someone from falling prey to them.

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  3. I am 49 years old and this trick was pulled on my parents when I was nine. The trick was unsuccessful then and gladly, it was unsuccessful in Randys' case. They certainly are guilty of false advertising but a serious question....what else?

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