If you’ve decided this is the year of the swimming pool, congratulations!
You’re joining almost 500,000 people in the state of Texas who also dreamed of a pool in their backyard. You’re also about to become the most popular house on the block.
You’re excited but also a little apprehensive. You’ve heard at least a few swimming pools gone bad stories, right?
Investing in a custom built swimming pool isn’t like purchasing a pool-in-a-box from your local discount store. If you don’t like it you can’t pack it back in the box and drop it off at the customer service desk.
If you choose a reliable pool contractor, you won’t need to worry about swimming pool nightmares. Nor will you wish you could put the dirt back in the ground and put up a swing set instead.
But how do you pick the best pool builder?
It’s not difficult if you follow our tips. Read them and get ready to break ground.
Meet in Person
We live in a world where life’s transactions happen with a click of the mouse. For many purchases, we never talk to a human over the phone much less in person.
Even for major purchases people often don’t consult with someone face-to-face. Consider the latest trend of ordering a new car from what amounts to a vending machine.
Most people wouldn’t dream of picking a contractor from a vending machine sight unseen. It’s the same with your swimming pool installer.
Feel free to call and get estimates over the phone or by e-mail. Just make sure you meet in person before the first shovel digs into your backyard.
A reliable pool contractor expects to come out to a prospective client’s home before beginning work. This is a consultation where you talk about your dream swimming pool and your budget.
They inspect your site. They’ll share some of their own ideas. By the end of the consultation, they should have enough information to create a swimming pool proposal.
Meet with at least 2-3 contractors before making a final decision. As long as you’ve asked the right questions, this first date should give you a good idea of which company is right for the job.
Ask Key Questions
Don’t let the excitement of building a pool overwhelm you to the point where you can’t think straight. Right about now you’re dreaming of sinking into the relaxing cool waters of your very own pool.
Before you take the plunge, ask questions—lots of questions. Your questions should go beyond the price of the pool and how long it takes to build.
Dive further into the question of how long they’ve been in business. Of course, you’re looking for experience but more important is how much experience they have building the type of pool you want. If their niche is fiberglass pools and you want a gunite pool, keep looking.
Another obvious question is whether they’re licensed but you should also ask about insurance. Be aware that not every state requires licensing for pool builders. All pool companies should carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
Both types of insurance protect you. One protects you from poor workmanship. The other ensure you’re not liable for injuries that happen to your contractor or one of their employees.
You could also ask them if they can have your pool ready by next weekend for your kid’s birthday party. A sense of humor is important when building a pool, no?
A reputable pool contractor doesn’t earn their reputation by accident. Most pool builders keep a list of their happiest clients who don’t mind talking about how happy they are with their swimming pool.
You ask your babysitter for references. Your employer asked you for references. Why wouldn’t you ask a pool builder for theirs?
The key to a reference list is actually contacting the references.
You’re looking for information about what kind of experience previous clients had working with the pool company. You also want to know what it was like working with their crew and any subcontractors.
Ask about the final product. Were the results what the client hoped for, or were there things that didn’t meet expectations?
The most telling question is whether the client would hire the contractor again.
A swimming pool is a major investment and an emotional purchase. There’s a certain level of trust that comes along with the entire process. A good pool contractor builds that trust well before breaking ground.
Don’t feel awkward asking for references.
Don’t Sign a Contract on the First Date
Did you buy the first home you walked through? Most home buyers look at an average of 10 homes before making an offer. You probably don’t need to see that many pool installers.
Remember earlier when we suggested meeting in person with 2-3 pool builders before making a decision? Even if you fall in love with the first one, it’s still a good idea to talk with at least one other builder.
After your initial consultation, you’ll get a proposal. The proposal should include information about the type of pool, the estimated time-frame and cost. This is a proposal, not a contract.
Read each proposal and ask for modifications if necessary.
Compare proposals. One builder may offer an extra water feature at a discount. Another builder might throw in an upgraded deck.
Take time to go over all proposals before you hire your builder. This can prevent future problems with contracts.
It’s in the Details
Few people enjoy reading contracts, especially when they have a lot of fine print.
Your contract contains the details of your swimming pool project. Details include:
- Description of services
- Itemized breakdown of materials
- Project deadlines.
- Inclement weather agreement
- Responsibilities of pool company vs. homeowner
- Payment terms
Read the contract and ask for explanations of every detail. No, you’re not a pest. Understanding your contract helps prevent future misunderstandings.
Ready to Hire Your Pool Contractor?
Whether you want it for the endless vacation factor or you hope to add value to your home, building a pool is a big deal.
If you follow our tips, you can find a reliable pool contractor who will ensure you get the pool of your dreams.
Ready for the next step in the swimming pool project? Contact us and we’ll set up a complimentary consultation.