Let’s say you wanted to get a swimming pool built in your backyard. You hire a contractor, the pool gets built…and you realize you have a leaky, disgusting pond instead of a pool.
Ok, so perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is the same. It’s true that if you don’t find a good swimming pool contractor, you’ll end up unsatisfied and out anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. So what can you do to prevent a terrible pool building experience?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. After decades of experience in the business, here are our top mistakes to avoid when hiring a swimming pool contractor.
1. Don’t Pick the First Swimming Pool Contractor You See
It’s tempting to hop on Google, search for pool contractors, and pick the first one who pops up. Saves you time and energy doing all that pesky research, right?
Well, you need to do that research. Otherwise, you run the risk of ending up with a sub-par contractor. Find out what each contractor specializes in and track down customer references and reviews on sites like Angie’s List to get an idea of the contractor’s reputation.
It’s also important to ask a lot of questions when in the “interview” process. This way, you get a more personal feel of who you’re dealing with. Professional pool builders don’t mind walking you through the finer points and explaining everything from start to finish.
2. A Pool Is More Than a Price Tag
Another point to consider is that opting for the cheapest pool is not always the best option. You’re sacrificing quality for a lower price a majority of the time, and a company will rarely disclose upfront what you’re losing in exchange for the discount. If you figure out what you’re losing for the lower price, you’ll be in a much better position to judge.
That said, it’s important to also keep your spending under control. Go into the process with a pre-defined budget. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of “Well, it’s only a hundred more dollars to get this ladder, than we’re back in business”, and keeping a budget helps you from spending too much and picking a contractor in your financial ballpark.
There are also some price pitfalls you should stay aware of when choosing a pool contractor. For example, if the contractor asks for a large majority of the payment upfront before any work gets done, you should get suspicious and look for someone else. The standard for most contractors is a small payment to start, with the rest paid in increments as work is completed.
3. Have a Plan Before You Buy
Before you take the plunge (get it?) and buy a pool, make sure you know what you want and where you want to put it. For example, think about what function you want the pool to serve. Are you hosting massive pool parties, or only using the pool yourself for exercise?
Having a clear idea of what you want helps the pool contractors create your dream pool rather than having to fill in the blanks and deliver something that’s not to your liking. You will also want to consider where the pool goes.
For example, building the pool over electrical systems or under power lines is very dangerous and could lead to injury or death. To avoid this, make sure you survey the area where you want to install the pool and remove any dangers you find or relocate if you can’t remove the hazards.
This is another place that an experience contractor makes a difference. They will be able to help you build the perfect design and plan based on what you want and the backyard space you have to work with.
4. Check Their Insurance
Need a mistake to avoid making? Well, hiring contractors with no liability insurance is one of the worst mistakes you can make in this particular realm. Turns out that if the contractor lacks the insurance and gets injured on the job, you will get hit with all the financial responsibility for paying medical bills, damages, etc.
Thus, before you hire a pool contractor, find out not only if they have insurance but to what degree their insurance provides protection. You’ll also want to ask if they hire out sub-contractors for handling any of the work.
This is because in some cases if a sub-contractor gets injured on the job and they don’t have coverage, you can hit with their bills if they get injured even though you didn’t hire them directly. It doesn’t hurt to check your homeowner’s insurance too, as some policies provide protection against this kind of thing (they tend to require you to not have known you were hiring an uninsured contractor or sub-contractor though).
5. Avoid the Flakes
Another red flag for pool contractors is if any part of their business seems flaky. One example is if the company doesn’t have a central headquarters and is instead a traveling business of sorts. This means they don’t have a central location where you can go with questions or complaints, which should set off some alarm bells regarding their trust level.
Another sign the contractor is flaky is if they hesitate to put anything in writing. Make sure you get a written contract designating the specific terms of the project both so that the contractor knows exactly what’s expected of them and you have proof of the transaction in case any disputes arise.
6. License? We Don’t Need No Stinking License (Well Actually…)
Finally, make sure your pool contractor of choice has an actual license to do their job. Not only is it illegal for them to operate without one, the lack of license means they never took the qualifying courses required to get certified. As such, they will lack the essential knowledge needed to craft the pool you want (or even make a safe pool).
And did we mention it’s illegal? Yeah? Cool.
Are You Ready for the Summer?
In the end, there are a ton of mistakes to avoid when hiring a swimming pool contractor and these are just a few of the most common. If you’re looking for a top-tier contractor to deliver the pool of your dreams, contact our local office near you.
Now get ready to go live your biggest poolside dreams!