Servicing VA, MD, WV & DC Metro

What Should A Proposal Include, Anyway?

You have met with your contractor, walked over the property and discussed the pertinent details and requests regarding your project. Now what happens, what’s next? Your contractor should now begin to prepare a proposal on how the job will be approached, how much it is expected to cost and how long it is expected to take.

There are various forms of proposals and the methods in which you may receive them; printed/mailed copy, digital document, email copy or even a simple call back with the information prior to submittal. The way in which you receive the proposal or how it is formatted isn’t as important as the information in which you have been waiting to receive.

Once you have received proposals back from various contractors you will need to evaluate the information within, determine what they really mean, and compare them against one another. As you already may be well aware of, this is the most difficult part. Trying to decipher the difference between them, the pricing breakdown, what all is included, and overall which proposal is the best choice for your community/property.  The main key is to remember that all effective proposals should contain enough detail so it is simple to understand what exactly will be performed, where and how. A detailed proposal protects you and your board by clarifying exactly what will be happening once the agreement is ratified.

Every proposal should clearly list all types of work that will be done and the methods used, with a complete description of that work and a cost breakout of each portion of the job. While the proposal format can vary substantially from one company to another, there are “must have” items that you should insist on seeing, including:

  • Clear, concise explanation of the job in general
  • Square yardage/footage or linear footage of each part of the job
  • Number of locations (of patches) and depth of patch repairs or sidewalk/curb & gutter sections
  • Site map showing exact locations of repairs and their dimensions
  • Sealcoating details including areas to be sealed, number of coats, additional (specific) requirements
  • Whether or not pavement markings are included (striping / line markings)
  • Crack sealing details including process and materials
  • Paving details including thickness of asphalt
  • Warranty information
  • Expected timeframe to complete job, scheduled day/time of work to be completed
  • Planned process to notify residents of project dates, times and contact information
  • How long the quoted price is valid or at what point (if applicable) the quote will have to be updated

Items which may aide in making the job go smoothly but aren’t necessarily requirements when submitting a proposal often include:

  • Photographs or maps of areas to be repaired
  • Cover letter (detailing/explaining the proposal)
  • Summary of qualifications
  • References

When you or the management entity begin the process of deciding how best to extend the life and improve the appearance of your asphalt pavement, you had clear goals and objectives in mind. Make sure that the proposal you are considering meets or exceeds those goals and objectives. Once you have examined all of the details in the proposal, you will need to take a step back to review the entire package. Depending on the amount of money involved and the extent of the repairs, this can be a fairly simple process. There are 5 stages to the pavement life cycle:

  • Stage 1: New Pavement (Initial Maintenance)
  • Stage 2: Initial Preventative Maintenance Phase
  • Stage 3: Minor Repairs and Continued Preventative Maintenance
  • Stage 4: Major Repairs
  • Stage 5: Extensive Repairs or Complete Reconstruction

If your project is in Stage 1 or 2, then the objective is usually fairly easy to define and understand. But if your job involves pavement in the later stages of its life cycle, you need to make sure that the proposals you are receiving are really in line with your overall plan. In later stages, there’s often disagreement among contractors as to how best to approach a given situation. This leads to a wide variety of proposals that can range from too little work (perhaps crack sealing and sealcoating an area that needs milling & paving) to an over-extensive proposal that includes unnecessary items to be performed.

Obviously the less amount of work done, the lower the cost of the project. Keep in mind that what might look like a “great deal” may in reality be a “scaled-down version” of the overall repair plan you really need. It might look as if you’re saving money, but if the solution is an inappropriate one, it could be a false savings. It’s true that larger, more complex projects have higher up-front costs compared to smaller, less difficult projects.  By making the appropriate repair at the most cost-effective time, you will be getting the most “bang for your buck” which will result in substantial long-terms savings for your community/property.

The bottom line is that you need to have a solid and clear understanding of any proposal before you sign a contract. This protects your property and helps ensure that you achieve the results you’ve anticipated. Pavement maintenance is one of the largest expenditures in a property’s budget. Mistakes in this area can have long-lasting impacts on not only your property, but your financial strength as well.

Please keep in mind that Dominion Paving & Sealing offers free inspections and evaluations all year round. Our project managers are state certified and experienced. They can assist with budget planning and maintenance plans to aide you in the future planning of your property. Contact us today!

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