Get Good Bids for Asphalt Projects

by Brian Pike, General Manager Rocky Mountain Pavement

(as appeared in Colorado Real Estate Journal)

ApplesMany old adages, like “comparing apples to apples” or “you get what you pay for” certainly are applicable when considering asphalt installation or repair projects.

As you begin to solicit proposals for your work, how can you make sure you get quality bids and select the best contractor for your project? It all begins with the collection of thorough proposals from reputable contractors, for the same scope of work. Consider the following when developing your requests for proposals.


To begin, you can take a few steps to assure you get quality, comparable bids.  Know your work and provide all bidders as much detail as possible.  Work site maps and a clear scope of work can be very beneficial. Encourage value-added input from your contractors, but make sure all contractors bid the same work so you may make a fair comparison.

  • When discussing depths or thickness of asphalt, always have the contractor specify a “compacted thickness” upon completion. (The structural integrity of 2 inches of compacted asphalt is significantly greater than the same depth prior to compaction.)
  • Avoid “lump sum” bids. Require your bidders to include units of measurement and the associated unit price in their proposals. (I like to use square feet and per-square-foot price on most items.)
  • Have prospective contractors line-item each type of work with unit and subtotal pricing in their proposals. For example: patching, overlay, striping, etc.
  • Avoid using low price as the sole deciding factor and keep in mind that the low bid in many cases is not necessarily the best value.

Using this information will allow you to better evaluate the proposals and ultimately get the best value on your project.


The second important part is selecting a reputable contractor.  This is just a matter of checking each company’s credentials.

  • Find out how long they have been in business in the area.
  • Require copies of their insurance certificates and make sure they are licensed, insured and bondable.
  • Check the the Better Business Bureau and get a BBB Reliability Report.
  • Ask each contractor for a copy of the warranty it provides, in writing, as a part of the proposal.
  • Ask for a list of recent references and letters of recommendation.

Most contractors will be happy to furnish this information to you.  If they are not, beware.

By soliciting detailed proposals from quality contractors you can “compare apples to apples” and make sure “you get what you pay for.”

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