You might think that publishing a magazine devoted essentially to paving & pavement maintenance "best practices" might deter fly-by-night folks (as usual I won't call them contractors) from plying their poor service and thievery in a nearby town but apparently that's not the case. Pavement is headquartered in Fort Atkinson, WI, and in nearby Jefferson a disreputable contractor has been going door to door offering a "good deal" because he has "leftover asphalt." Local police won't call it a scam but I will. I haven't received the typical number of calls this year complaining of this kind of operation, so maybe there are fewer of these people out there. On the other hand, maybe the market has gotten so accustomed to dealing with them that these charlatans are just a "normal" part of doing business in this industry, but I hope not. Here some easy ways to differentiate yourself from the fly-by-nights that plague your customers and damage your market and the industry image: * Carry insurance and reference it in your bid and marketing materials * Use a pre-printed bid form that includes your company name, physical address, and phone number * Have a website -- even a basic site is better than no site -- and refer prospects to it * Paint your name on your vehicles -- magnetic signs can mean there's a reason to remove the name from the truck * Have strong references and encourage prospects to contact them These are only a few ideas -- respond with some of your own tips -- but perhaps the most important step you can take is to provide this type of information to your marketplace so your prospects know what to look for.