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.
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.