Amateur Sealcoating: A Really Bad Idea As a homeowner, you’ve probably answered the doorbell to find a stranger standing before you offering an incredible deal on sealcoating your driveway – or any of a thousand other odd jobs. You may hear the old, “we were doing a job in the neighborhood and had some leftover…”. At that point, if you haven’t closed the door in their face, they may offer you huge savings if you’ll only let them get to work immediately. Don’t fall for it.
As an owner of a sealcoating company employing highly-trained and experienced professionals, it’s easy to say, without equivocation, that’s not how this industry works. Our crews are never sent off to find their own projects. They’re not salesman. When our residential crews head out for the day, they have a list we’ve given them detailing every driveway they have for that day. This schedule is planned out to the minute for the entire day. It’s why we can’t promise estimates faster than 24 hours from initial contact – we’re busy. Our technicians don’t have the time to go door-to-door soliciting sales from strangers. That’s impractical and inefficient – not to mention off-putting.
We never use high-pressure tactics to convince homeowners to use our services. It goes against everything we stand for as a professional service provider, and we’re pretty confident every other professional feels the same way. When we complete a driveway in a given neighborhood, we’ve arranged for the homeowner to allow our sign to go up in their yard for a certain period. That’s the extent of our marketing in the area. We let our completed work speak for itself.
The best way to decide for yourself if a sealcoating specialist who knocked on your door, or even one you’ve called yourself, is worth the money – ask them some questions. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people just take an “expert’s” word for something. That’s an easy way to get into trouble. You could find yourself dealing with a very shady character who is more interested in your money than your driveway. These people have made it difficult for many customers to trust true professionals like Seal The Way, so we felt it would be helpful to give you some questions to use to weed out the amateurs and the crooks. Try these five questions with your next sealcoating expert:
Will they provide proof of insurance? If they say anything but yes then they’re not to be trusted. You need to protect yourself and your property from any liability.
Are they willing to share examples of past work? A professional company will be happy to give you the location of several of their past projects so you can see their work for yourself. At Seal The Way, we keep records of all of our work, so providing examples of our work is no problem at all. It’s wise to request a driveway done the previous year to gauge how well their efforts stand up over time.
Is their proposal or estimate given in writing? Reputable companies give all of their estimates for service in writing. This estimate will have what’s considered to be a firm price – meaning no add-ons or hidden fees and no more discounting. When you see advertisements that say, “We match any competitor’s pricing!”, the process is based completely off of the written estimate. These promotions work because all professionals always offer everything in writing. If they won’t then you shouldn’t have anything to do with them.
Do they offer a guarantee or warranty? If so, what’s covered? Most reputable companies will offer a warranty of at least one year from the day of sealing covering peeling, flaking, or unusual wear of the sealcoating. They may also require a driveway that’s exceptionally dirty or infused with petroleum-based products like oil and gasoline to be pressure-washed before sealing to get any type of warranty. Basically, when offering a warranty or guarantee, it’s important for the company to protect itself, and dirty driveways hold sealers far less efficiently than clean ones.
Do they add sand to the sealer? This is a great question when weeding out the amateurs from the professionals. Why? Because adding sand to the sealer is an excellent way to give the finished product more traction and durability, but adding too much sand can ruin the application altogether, so professionals will always use an agitation system on their sealer tanks to ensure the sand stays suspended in solution. If there’s no agitation system, you should probably call another company right away – Seal The Way comes to mind.
Simply asking the right questions can be all the safeguards you need when dealing with amateurs. Keep in mind – there are good people trying to make a living out there by sealcoating driveways. You could probably find one if you tried hard enough, and suffered through a few terrible experiences first, but why take those chances if you don’t have to? Seal The Way is a locally-owned, family-run business that takes pride in serving our customers, our neighbors, and our community. Call us at (219) 433-3924 today to learn more about what we can do for your property. Our estimates are freely given and our advice is always right on the money.