How to Make Sense of Your Driveway Quote

February 4, 2022

Interested in a new driveway? You’re probably in search of different quotes to compare before you hire a contractor for the work.

The process of obtaining a quote can be unclear and it can be hard to understand the different elements of a quote once you receive it. There are certain things you want to understand to determine if a prospective contractor is offering a fair price. The parts listed in a quote- like the materials used in installation- are also critical components of how long your driveway will ultimately last. 

We’ve compiled some basic information to help you understand a quote for your driveway project.


How the Contractor Determines the Quote

For driveway projects, the quote will be based on the square footage and materials needed. Those measurements are determined during an “on-site” where the contractor can look at your property and calculate the baseline price that will be included in your proposal. During this on site, the contractor should also be able to determine if there are other factors that would impact the timeline or price of your project (more on that below.) 

Once the contractor has completed the on-site, they will prepare your quote. Wait times to receive your initial quote can vary depending on demand and the contractor’s schedule.

How The Price is Calculated

Reputable contractors should present a quote with different elements of the project clearly itemized. At bare minimum, the quote should include a total cost that includes material and labor.

Other factors that impact price that should be reflected in your quote are charges based on the amount of material that needs to be hauled away, location (front or back yard) and potential site complications such as difficulties with access, having to work on steep slopes, vegetation around the project area, and more. The price for different driveway styles will also vary. 

Another thing to be aware of is permit costs. Many initial quotes will not include permit costs, as fees vary greatly from city to city and are dependent on the project side. Customers are typically in charge of applying for the permit, but you may see a fee associated with permitting on your quote.


Elements of the Quote

When it comes to quotes, the more detail the better. 

Installers sometimes cut down on cost by using lower quality material (lower PSI concrete & rebar) and by using less material (spacing the rebar really far apart, using less baserock and therefore not excavating deep enough, pouring a thinner slab of concrete, etc.) These things can significantly reduce the lifespan of your driveway. 

A detailed quote should contain the following: 

 

Excavation depth 

Type of baserock

Amount of baserock in inches

Type of rebar

Rebar spacing

Strength of concrete (PSI)

Thickness of slab, etc.

Additional labor charges due to the terrain configuration, excessive roots, obstacles and installations present on site, or anything else that can aggravate the work conditions, like excessive tree roots, concrete cutting, etc.

If your quote does not have things itemized or doesn’t list out these items, you should follow-up to ensure you are paying a fair price.


Understanding Specs

The specifications or “specs” for concrete installation are the measure of the strength of the concrete. This is critical to know so that you have the proper concrete installed for your needs. Many contractors will offer a variety of specs, ranging from standard to more premium. Depending on your need and usage the concrete specs will vary. Surfaces with heavier vehicular traffic (more vehicles or heavier vehicles like commercial trucks, for example) need to be quoted differently to reflect that higher grade usage.

Concrete Strength depends on combination of factors:

  • Water to cement ratio
  • How well all the ingredients are mixed (cement - water - fine and course aggregates)
  • How much air the mixture contains
  • The age of the concrete (with time concrete gets harder)
  • The curing process

There are various types of concrete which are distinguished by total yield strength. Contractors will suggest different PSI based on what your concrete surface will be used for. In most cases, residential paving concrete PSI can range from 2500-4000.

Where to Go with More Questions 

Driveway projects are complex- which is why we always recommend leaving them to the experts. A good contractor will openly discuss any questions or concerns you have. 

When your contractor gives you a price quote, it’s always good to ask probing questions about the concrete specs, like:  

  • How many inches of baserock will you use for this project?
  • What type of rebar will you place and how far apart will you space the rebar?
  • Are you placing the rebar on the baserock or on dobie blocks?
  • What PSI concrete do you use?
  • How many inches of concrete do you recommend for my specific need?

 

It’s always wise to compare a few different quotes to make sure you get a fair price. However, if a significantly lower price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for major red flags for contractors and do research on a contractor before hiring for your project. 

You can also refer to our Help Center for more useful information about driveway projects. 

 

Ready to get started? You can request a free quote by clicking the link below. Join the over 5,000 happy customers who are enjoying their new fences and driveways built by Ergeon. 

REQUEST A FREE QUOTE 





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