Swimming Pool Blog

Your swimming pool is a sanctuary

What to Look for in a Pool Builder

A pool is a great leisure and wellness feature for any backyard, and the building process should, ideally, be just as stress-free. That means hiring an industry-leading contractor both for the success of your project and your overall peace of mind. 

Knowing what to look for in a pool builder will help you make the most informed decision. But what should you research, and where do you start?

The Ultimate Guide on What to Look for in a Pool Builder

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know to find a pool builder that can bring your backyard oasis to life. To make it easier, we’ve split the key points into four categories:

●      Contractor Details

●      Customer Engagement

●      Certifications

●      Service Details

In each category, we’ll go through the insights that will help you make an informed decision, starting with basic contractor details.

How Easy Is It to “Get To Know” Your Contractor and What They Offer?

In this day and age, a contractor’s details should be easy to find and tell you a lot about them. Their website is a great place to start. If a service company doesn’t have a website available, your job is that much easier 一 filter them out. If they do have one,  here are some specific things to look for in a pool builder.

Experience

A contractor’s “About Us” page should offers useful insights, starting with how long they’ve worked in the industry. While every business starts somewhere, a business that is well established carries fewer risks. A swimming pool installation is a huge investment on your part; eliminating risk early protects the returns you’ll see down the line.

Hiring an experienced contractor also helps you avoid pool builders who might still be learning on the job, and it reduces the risk of sinking money into a fly-by-night outfit. An established pool builder will have worked on a variety of different installations in their time, and that’s valuable knowledge that will directly benefit you throughout the process.

Contacts and Credentials

Once you’re comfortable with a contractor’s experience level, you can move on to more specific research. Start with contact information: physical location, email address, phone number. If you can speak directly to an agent, all the better. This info helps you find local contractors while making it easier to verify their trade credentials. 

Most states require pool builders to carry a specific, state-certified license, so be sure to confirm your potential contractor is up to date with their licensing. 

Pricing and Quotations

With the contact information in hand, you can also inquire about service rates. Most contractors won’t publish an exact price list, but for a good reason. Every project comes with complex variables and job-specific costs. Still, ask for a quotation or free estimate if they can offer one. 

Even if you don’t have all your project costs down, an estimate can help you work out your pool-building budget. A top contractor will also include any costs you might miss when they offer you a quote.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool?

How Does the Contractor Engage with Their Customers?

Contractor details give you a good idea about the company in general. Over the course of doing that research, you may find yourself talking directly to a pool builder or a customer support agent. This is a good opportunity to evaluate how the contractor interacts with clients.

How a pool builder communicates tells you a lot about their approach to customer service. It gives you a better idea of how easy they are to work with, especially if you can outline their track record with previous clients. But what is considered essential in a contractor’s engagement style? Take a look.

Knowledge and Professionalism

When it comes to what to look for in a pool builder, professionalism starts with how clearly one can break the process down for clients. Pool installation needs a working knowledge of several technical fields, including plumbing, excavation, and electrical systems. 

These fields deal with complicated ideas. A knowledgeable pool builder has the skills to apply them correctly when the time comes; however, they should still be able to explain key concepts in an accessible manner. A contractor’s responsibility is to simplify the facts so you can maintain control of your project. 

Customer References

A reputable pool builder should be able to provide testimonials from happy customers. If they can’t, or they avoid the question, then it’s best to look elsewhere. You’ll ensure better support and service from a pool builder who consistently produces good results. 

Think about how you want to feel at the end of your project. Filter for contractors who understand what that level of customer satisfaction involves. If possible, ask around to see if anyone you know has experience with their service.

Ratings and Reviews

While talking to a potential contractor, ask them to direct you to any public reviews they know about. They might have a review section on their website or know which platforms rate pool building services in your area.

While reviews provided by the contractor are a good start, you can verify them through your own research. Search for Google reviews through your Web browser or go to the company’s social media profiles. Business pages on Facebook usually have a review section with a five-star rating system. 

What Certifications Does the Pool Builder Hold?

Trade credentials prove that a contractor meets the competency standards of their regulatory board. Once you know they’re certified, you can look into more specific credentials. A builder will need proper licensing before they can install a swimming pool in your backyard. Some of these are for state regulation, others are for client protection. 

Ask a potential contractor about the certifications below.

Insurance Policy

If a pool builder accidentally causes damage to your home or your neighbor’s property, or if someone gets injured working on your installation, make sure you’re protected from fault. In the contracting business, the best way to do this is to work with an insured service provider. 

A contractor should be able to offer general liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance. If they do, you can ask them to provide a copy of their insurance certification.

Permits

A permit is critical to have in hand before any project is started, especially in instances where digging and excavation are involved. Every state will have its own guidelines, so be sure to check with your contractor, who should know the rules and regulations.

For example, contractors in California need one of two permits to build a swimming pool. The LA County Department of Public Works provides a good overview of the options:

“[A] Combination permit covers the construction of the swimming pool as well as the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work directly related to the construction of the swimming pool. The other option is to obtain separate Building, Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanical Permits for the work covered by each of these permits.”

Warranty

Don’t forget to ask a pool builder about the warranty they offer, what it includes, and how long it lasts. Specificity is key. Whether you’ll need a 15-year surface warranty or a lifetime structural warranty, it’s best to have all the options upfront. 

Related: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Swimming Pool Contractors

What Services Does the Pool Builder Offer and What are the Details?

Lastly, when considering what to look for in a pool builder, it helps to know more about their installation process and work practices. These service details will help you gauge if they’re the right fit for your project. Before you agree to a service, find out the following.

Timelines

Ask a potential contractor how long it will take to complete your project, even if they can only offer an estimation. Make sure they’ll be available to start on an agreed date, especially if you’re contracting them during busy seasons like early spring. 

While unforeseeable delays can happen, an experienced pool builder will account for them better when estimating a schedule. The final timeline should be clearly written in the service contract.

Contract Details

There are other details you’ll want in writing, too. A pool building contract should include a comprehensive description of the services, materials, and equipment involved. Project deadlines and payment terms should be clearly stated. Finally, the contract should outline the protocol for dealing with issues like severe weather conditions.

Products and Contracting Partners

Most contractors can guarantee their service and protect you through a warranty plan, but that might not cover the quality of their subcontractors. Products like pool pumps, heaters, and decking are usually covered by manufacturers or not at all. You can ask a pool builder about where they source materials and to whom they outsource extra services.

Let an Industry-Leader Build Your Dream Pool

California Pools is a recognized leader in the swimming pool and outdoor living industry with franchises across the country. Backed by more than 75 years of experience in swimming pool, spa, and deck services, we know what it takes to design and build your dream backyard oasis. 

Whether you’re looking to install a waterpark-like design or a simple lap pool, our outdoor transformations are constructed by experts who are focused on keeping to your budget. Make your next home improvement project the best one yet, and get started on a quote today.