Are you looking to hire a contractor to pave your yard? The following tips may be of interest to you before you have paving work done.

Tips for choosing a trusted contractor for asphalting or paving work:

  • Ask your neighbors or family members to pass on the name of the contractors they received good service from.
  • Request recommendations and contact other clients to get their opinion on the services they received.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions to the company's representative. If they have thorough knowledge of the service they offer, they will provide clear information.
  • Do not trust someone who approaches you with just a telephone number as contact information. In case of a problem, you could have trouble tracking down that person.

Verify whether the contractor has an itinerant merchant license

A contractor is considered an itinerant merchant if they solicit your business outside of their actual offices, for example, if they come to your home without your requesting it.

This type of merchant must have a license from the Office de la protection du consommateur and provide a written contract.

Getting information about a company

You can get further information about a contractor using the tool Get information about a merchant. By entering the name of a contractor into the tool, you will know:

  • if they are licensed, in the case of an itinerant merchant;
  • if the Office has previously intervened with them;
  • if it has received formal notices from other consumers.

Verify whether the contractor has a liability insurance

If the company is insured, you will be better protected in case any of your property or that of a neighbor is damaged or if a person is injured during the work.

The Office recommends requesting work estimates from a few different trusted and experienced contractors. The law does not require that contractors provide such estimates. Serious contractors should nevertheless agree to provide them.

Contents of an estimate

The estimate could include, for example:

  • the depth of the required excavation work;
  • for a foundation, the quantity, type, and quality of the material to be used, especially the thickness of the stone to be used, once compacted;
  • for surfacing work, the thickness and type of asphalt to be used, the use of decorative stones or not, and, if applicable, the type of stones to be used;
  • the dimensions of the surface to be asphalted and, if applicable, the area to be covered by decorative stones;
  • whether a geotextile membrane is to be installed;
  • whether the debris will be collected;
  • the scheduled work completion date;
  • the duration and terms of the warranty offered;
  • the total cost of the work to be done.

Concluding a detailed agreement with the contractor you hire is to your benefit. The more details your contract contains, the better informed you will be regarding what to expect.

Contract concluded in person

The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends that you always request a written contract from the contractor you hire. A written contract will make it more likely the results will conform to what you expected. It will also make it easier to assert your rights if the work is not properly done or not completed.

Useful information to be included in the contract

The contract does not have to adhere to a specific form, especially if you are doing business with an itinerary merchant. Make sure that everything that was promised by the contractor is included in the contract, along with all important details.

The contract should include:

  • the contractor’s name and address;
  • the scheduled start and end of work dates;
  • a statement in which the contractor commits to abide by the municipal regulations and the National Building Code standards;
  • the contractor's liability insurance policy number and the name of the insurance company;
  • a detailed description of the work to be done, along with the type and quantity of materials to use (make sure to append the estimate to the contract);
  • the total charges and terms of payment.

To ensure the work will be done within the specified time limits, ask for the following note to be added to the contract: "The work will be completed before or on (date); otherwise the contractor will refund the down payment paid by the client."

Also make sure to indicate the contractor must obtain your authorisation before doing work that was not included in the contract.

Contract concluded with an itinerant merchant

Did you sign a contract with an itinerant merchant? it means that they solicited your business outside of their actual offices. They might, for example, have come to your home without your requesting it.

The law prescribes that such a contract must be concluded in writing and that it includes all mandatory information. For further information, refer to the page What a contract with an itinerant merchant contains.

A contract concluded with an itinerant merchant can be cancelled within 10 days. For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract concluded in person.

Contract concluded by phone or online

If you plan on choosing a contractor over the phone or online, know that the law provides that a distance contract must be provided in writing.

Information to obtain before signing a contract

Before concluding a contract, the contractor must provide certain mandatory information. For example:

  • their name, address, phone number and, if available, their fax number and email address;
  • a detailed description of the services offered;
  • the total amount you will need to pay and, if it applies, the amount to be paid on periodic payments;
  • the terms of payment;
  • the start date of the construction work;
  • the duration of the work;
  • the cancellation terms, if they are provided for;
  • any other condition or restriction that applies to the contract.

Transmission of the written contract

The contractor must provide a written contract within 15 days after you entered into an agreement. This will allow you to verify whether the contract's contents correspond to the offer that was made to you. The contract must be presented in a way that allows you to hold on to it.

Content of the written contract

The contract must include your name and your address, the contract signature date, and all the other mandatory information the merchant must provide before you enter into an agreement.

The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends that you not sign any document before making a final decision to hire a contractor for asphalting or paving work. Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have the right to cancel a signed contract if you change your mind within 10 days.

For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract.

Some contractors might request a down payment before starting the work. Here are tips on how to make your payments.

Making payments to an asphalting contractor

The law does not detail how contracting work should be paid for. If possible, do not provide a down payment to a contractor, or pay only a very small sum. Some consumers have lost money after a company closed its doors, for example.

Paying an itinerant merchant

Did you sign a contract with an itinerant merchant? it means that they solicited your business outside of their actual offices. They might, for example, have come to your home without your requesting it.

This type of contractor request or accept a down payment within the 10 days that follow the signing of the contract. They may do so under one condition only: if they have delivered goods you purchased, such as materials. This rule applies because, over those 10 days, you have the right to cancel your contract. You should therefore refuse to allow the work to begin before the end of that 10-day period to avoid any conflict.

If goods were delivered to you, the contractor may ask for payment, but they are required to deposit that money in a trust account until the end of the 10-day delay.

Some merchants are exempt from this requirement, provided for in article 255 of the Consumer Protection Act. Refer to our tool Get information about a merchant to know whether the contractor you hire benefits from such an exemption.

Making a payment over 2 months before the start of the work

If the contractor requests a payment to be made over 2 months in advance:

  • check whether they have a trust account;
  • write down the check payable to “[name of the merchant] in trust.”

A trust account will protect you in case the company goes bankrupt or closes its doors. The amounts deposited in such an account could serve as damages if something happens.

Some merchants are exempt from having this type of account. Refer to our tool Get information about a merchant to know whether the contractor you hire benefits from such an exemption.

Knowing the regulations if a contract is concluded by phone or online

If you concluded a contract by phone or online, the contractor might request or accept a payment before the work begins under only one condition: if you pay by credit card.

You recommend this page: https://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/

Last update : November 22, 2022

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.