This is about more than paperwork. Contractors who go to the trouble and expense of important assurances do so because they provide quality work.
Licensing, bonding and insurance – Don’t they all basically mean the same thing? When contracting with an asphalt paving contractor, each of these things offers distinct benefits and reassurances to the customer.
Let’s break down the definitions of each:
Licensed asphalt paver – Licensing is of course granted by the local municipality or the state. In California, the Contractors State License Board (*CSLB) is the body that issues licenses to contract in all aspects of construction. Pavement contractors are largely licensed under the “A” category of general engineering; licensing assures the property owner that the asphalt paver has specialized engineering knowledge and skill in what paving and surfacing work requires, which can include digging, moving, and placing material that forms the surface.
A parking and highway improvement contractor license (832.32 CCR) applies and installs protective coatings as well as vehicle stops, guardrails, directional lines, buttons, markers, signs, and arrows on the surface of the pavement.
Insured asphalt paver – Because of the heavy equipment involved, asphalt paving contractors are like many other parts of the construction industry. They need to be insured to cover property damage those machines might cause. This protects the customer as much as the contractor. In addition, the contractor should have workers compensation insurance to cover injuries that might be suffered on the job. That’s a value to the property owner as well, because in the case of an injury the business or homeowner could otherwise be found liable to some degree for dangerous conditions.
Bonded asphalt paver – Bonding is insurance also, but of a different type ¬– and is hugely important to the customer. If the work is done poorly and needs repair or even causes damage to other parts of the property, bonding will cover the costs of repairs – even if a different contractor has to be hired to do the work.
Paving contractors that can provide these assurances to the customer might also charge more than those that do not. If that is the case, it’s due to both the cost of obtaining those assurances, but also the cost of having a company that provides quality work at that level. Shortcuts that some contractors take might save money in the short run, but accidents and shoddy work cost more over time.
How does a potential customer know if the asphalt-paving contractor has these three things? The licensing is a matter of public records, which can be checked against a paver’s claims. But a more sophisticated operation would voluntarily provide you with written proof of licensing, insurance and bonding. Ask for it along with a bid.