Resurfacing an Asphalt Driveway

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Old 04-14-06, 10:13 AM
C
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Resurfacing an Asphalt Driveway

Our existing asphalt driveway is 21 years old and looks it. We were going to replace it with concrete, but with quotes coming in at around $5K to $6K, when I stopped crying I realized resurfacing the asphalt is the wise choice.
The driveway is 25' long by 17' wide. It does have a puddling problem at the bottom, so that when it rains there is a 2 to 3 inch puddle.
Otherwise, we are looking at a fairly straightforward resurface. But what I find perplexing is that the quotes are all over the place. So far I have been quoted between $800 and $2,000! How can there be such a discrepancy for the same job? What should I look for?
 
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Old 04-14-06, 10:20 AM
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My asphalt driveway isn't rectangular, but would be something like 60' x 25' and only cost me $2200 to install four years ago. I would check into having it replaced and the puddling issue fixed at the same time.
 
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Old 04-14-06, 10:24 AM
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Well, in four years I must assume the price of materials has skyrocketed, especially here in south Florida. With the housing boom and the hurricane season repairs going on, building materials are scarce, to say the least.
All the contractors I have spoken with have told me they recommend leaving the existing asphalt driveway in place, and resurfacing it with 1.5 to 2 inches of new asphalt, and rebuilding the area higher where puddling is a problem. But it's that price discrepancy that has me puzzled.
 
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Old 04-14-06, 12:51 PM
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carbo - IMO that wide price variation is typical of contractor bids. A few years ago I got bids for a poured garage foundation. The bids ranged from $2500 (the guy didn't speak much English) to $7400. A year later I got bids for a 40" concrete sidewalk and precast steps. The bids ranged from $800 to $2600. Most recently I had a guy do one small room of sheetrock. I got 3 bids, $700, $1000 and $1100.
There are professional contractors out there that are also good businessmen. They understand their costs and know what they have to make to stay in business. They also understand competition and will really try to give you a fair price. There are also guys out there that will do a good job but don't have a clue when it comes to business and cost estimating. They will bid based on what they think they can convince you to pay. There are also incompetents and crooks. Sometimes I think the latter outnumber the former.
If you don't know the guy or know a guy who knows the guy, about the best you can do is pick a bid in the middle. IMO contractor provided references should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, he isn't going to give you names of people that were unhappy with his work
 
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Old 04-14-06, 02:59 PM
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John Menard (owner of Menard's) is in the same town where I am and his philosophy was to take a middle bidder and ask him to work for the dollar amount of the lowest bid. Seemed to get better work at a better cost that way. Must be doing something right to make it to the Forbe's list every year.
 
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Old 04-14-06, 07:03 PM
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That's a new concept to me but it makes a lot of sense. I've never done that. If I'm car buying I'll shop every dealer's price around but I won't do it with a contractor. However, IMO there is nothing wrong with dickering to get a lower price.
My real problem though is that it's too often a crap shoot when it comes to contractors.
 
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