What you should know before you decide on a swimming pool contractor

A new swimming pool is a big decision and a large investment.  It is important to know who you are working with and how a company carries out the entire process.  Several large well respected, well established pool contractors and pool and spa organizations throughout the states have compiled a list of information any homeowner considering a pool contractor should think about before making a final decision.  They are listed by what professionals consider importance.

  1. Before contracting with a pool company, check to see that they are licensed with the state.  A residential builders license is preferred over a maintenance and alteration license as it requires the builder to possess a much broader knowledge of the building code and requirements than a maintenance and alteration license.  Review their complaint record with this agency.  Also check the pool builder through the Better Business Bureau.  At the BBB Web site it indicates that, "To have a Satisfactory Record" with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct."
  2. Make sure the registered business name is at least 2 years old with any company you are considering.  New ventures tend to fail within the first 12 months of opening.
  3. Visit the pool company's showroom, store front and office location.  A company that has a store front, full service department and showroom with the products they are selling is not likely to go missing any time soon with your investment.  Meet the employees, do they seem knowledgeable and professional?  You will probably be dealing with these people.  If during the construction process you have questions and needs these are the people who will be handling them for you.  Do you get a good feeling from them?
  4. Ask the pool builder for a list of customer references.  Contact those people and ask them how they felt about the entire pool building process, before and after the sale.  1 or 2 references are not a good indication of the builders customer satisfactory history.  Go look at the work the builder has completed.  Up close and personal will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on your project.  Make sure you are looking at pools the builder in question has actually built as a company and not a subcontractor.
  5. Do not pay for your entire project the day the contractor starts the job.  This goes for any pool type, including fiberglass.  Pool contracts should be paid in stages with the homeowners making a minimum of 3 payments as work progresses.  You should always allow yourself some leverage to ensure work progresses as forecasted.
  6. Make sure you have a signed contract outlining all expected costs associated with the project.
  7. If a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.  If you shop based on price alone you are destined to be disappointed and usually are.  Bottom line "you get what you pay for". Beware of deals like this.
  8. Swimming pools are custom construction projects and are built by many individual trades and pool contractors with different standards.  All pools are not built the same, unlike products which are manufactured in a factory under controlled conditions with a swimming pool much of what you do not see will impact the cost of pool ownership.

A little goes along way.  Visit all of the pool builders you are considering personally.  It's not always best to have them come to you.  See what your working with and what type of commitment they have to the pool business.  A bit of research now will ensure your pool meets your expectations now and for years to come.  With this type of investment it would be a shame to be disappointed with your final project.