If you’re thinking of getting a pool installed or expanding an existing pool, you have your work cut out for you. It’s not as simple as you think.
A lot of homeowners throughout the United States believe that they need to pick up the phone, get in touch with the right contractor, and all of a sudden, they have a nice-looking pool.
If only things were that easy. You have to understand that your choice of contractor is going to make or break your pool fantasies. Let’s get that clear. It’s a fantasy right now.
Frequently the image of that home edition that you are thinking of getting put in is probably going to be very different from the pool that you get. Too many homeowners throughout all 50 states in our country, get this wrong.
There’s often a big disconnect between what they imagined and the actual structure that they get. Make no mistake. It costs a lot of money to get a pool put in, and it also requires a lot of money to maintain it.
Assuming that you’ve done all the heavy mental lifting of truly deciding that you need to get this done, the next step is to put that same amount of focus on picking out the very best pool contractor.
This is where asking the right questions to come in. You have to understand that when you ask somebody certain items, you clue them in to the fact that you know what you’re doing.
They can blow smoke up your backside. They can give you all sorts of double talk. They can play any game.
Asking the right questions does a fantastic job of filtering out serious contractors from fly-by-night operations that are just interested in separating you from your hard-earned dollars.
What are the questions that you need to ask? Here they are in no particular order.
Are they bonded and licensed in pool construction?
The first thing you need to ask is if they have the proper paperwork from the appropriate authorities. It’s that simple.
If they don’t have a license, or if they don’t have a bond for whatever screw-ups they commit, you have no business entrusting them with your hard-earned money.
It is that simple because you don’t want somebody who is going to run away with your cash. It doesn’t matter how cheap their quote is. If they are not properly licensed and bonded in your jurisdiction, stay away from them.
Do they have the proper insurance?
Proper insurance doesn’t just involve accidents that can happen in the worksite. It can also cover any malpractice as far as their construction work is concerned.
As you can probably already tell, putting in a pool requires a lot of steps. It requires a tremendous amount of equipment.
There are just so many things that could go wrong. You have to make sure that whoever you choose to do business with has the proper financial arrangements in place that would ensure you’re not exposed to any potential losses.
How long have they been in business?
This seems like a very innocuous question. It may sound simple enough. If you think about it, it needs to be backed up by more than words. When you ask how long they’ve been in business, somebody could say they’ve been in business for a few years.
That’s well and good, but do you have proof to back that up? Do you have the right paperwork? Do you have accreditation? Do you have certifications?
This can go a long way in ensuring that you are dealing with someone credible. At the very least, they should be expert enough to the point that they can do a good job. One key indicator of this is competence, as measured by years.
Look for references
This is where a lot of homeowners screw up. They do. Why? It’s one thing to ask for references, it’s another to pick up the phone and track those people down. You need to do both.
Don’t think that just because you are asking for references that this is enough in of itself to scare off fly-by-night operators and scammers. No. This is hardly enough.
A lot of shady companies would not bat an eye and give you a nice long list of seemingly legit references. They are banking on the fact that you probably will only call a couple of those references and not be bothered with the rest.
Bad move. If something goes wrong and you didn’t check out the references, it’s on you. It is. Go through the reference list. Ask important questions. Get to the bottom of your doubts.
Insist on a contract
We talked with Jim Gaunt of All American Pool and Spa in Redlands, CA. “With the cost of building a pool and all the available options, there is no way a credible contractor would even attempt to build a pool without a contract”, states Jim, ” it not only protects the customer but also the contractor.”
We’re not just talking about some writing that encapsulates the significant points of your agreement. We’re talking about a real contract drafted by a real attorney.
At the very least, it should be some legally binding memorialization of everything that you have agreed to. Do your part and get the right eyeballs on that piece of paper.
We’re talking about reaching out to an attorney. We’re talking about making sure that you are well protected against so many things that can go wrong while you’re getting a pool put in your backyard.
You need to be active. You need to reduce your exposure to any financial and legal risk.
What trade organization memberships do they have?
Another way you can weed out fly-by-night operators and companies that genuinely deliver dependable service is when they have gone through the time, effort, and bother of actually joining the right trade associations or organizations and appropriately accredited.
When you are dealing with an authentic professional outfit, they go all the way. They not only join organizations, but they move up the ranks.
They become trendsetters. They set the standards. They take the torch and run with it as far as professionalism goes.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a company that is just two guys in a truck and a couple of power tools, you might want to think twice. You can allow yourself to be blinded by the ridiculously low offer.
You might end up doing business with a company that wouldn’t know the first thing about putting in a pool. Sadly, you would hardly be the first homeowner to make this unfortunate mistake.
Can they guarantee their work?
We have left the best for last. Any pool construction company worth its salt would be confident enough in its level of competence that they would back up their work.
They would say to you in no uncertain terms that if something is wrong or if you don’t get what you explicitly agreed to, they’re going to redo the job.
This is crucial because you want peace of mind. You haven’t done business with this company. You don’t know them from Adam. You don’t know the first thing about them.
Do yourself a big favor. Make sure that their warranties or any other kind of verbal guarantee are in writing. Make sure that everything is clear so you can at least get some level of legal protection if something doesn’t happen according to plan.