How to Choose a Pool Contractor
So you’re ready to build a new pool or need renovations to an existing pool. You’re probably going to drop a few to several thousand dollars. Have you done your homework? The first question you should ask is who will you be dealing with and how long they have been in business. Before settling on just any local pool builder do some research, there are too many ‘fly by night’/’one pole’ pool builders out to steal your money and leave you with a mess.
Following these tips could save you from making a bad mistake costing you thousands and never getting a decent final product.
Never sign with a company until you thoroughly check them out and make sure you read the contract closely. Remember, price isn’t always everything:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”: – Benjamin Franklin
1: Ask any potential pool contractor one simple question. How long have they been in business? Once you find out, check out their story. Find out if or how many times they have changed their company name, moved to a new location, changed phone numbers. Any reputable company has no reason to ‘run’; what are they running from? This is a huge red flag that they may not be honest and reputable.
2: Find out the name of the owner(s), check them out too. Google the company name/ owner’s name. Also search secretary of state by owner’s name, officers, etc. Use resources like public court records, local licensing boards and insurance records. If they have filed bankruptcy two or more times BEWARE. If they do not have a current license or it is under another name BEWARE. Do they have current general liability and workers compensation insurance? Is that insurance in the company name, the owner’s name or someone else? If the insurance is not current or in a different name, this is another huge red flag.
3: Are they asking you to pay by check to the company name or the owner or other person? Another huge red flag that they are not running a legitimate business and may rip you off. You should always be able to pay to the company name not a person, even if the company name contains the owner’s name.
4: Get references. How old are the jobs presented? Any reputable company should be able to present you with a good sized list of references. Those pools should be recently completed, within the last year. If the majority of the references are not local or are older than two years this is a major red flag. Either they are not building many pools thus calling their experience into question or they are doing poor work so there are few satisfied customers.
5: Don’t just rely on the online review sites. It is all too easy for a shady company to ‘pad’ these reviews and make themselves look great. This also applies to the Better Business Bureau, you have to pay fees in order to become an accredited business, if you don’t pay you lose this accreditation and at that point it is just another review site. There are many websites such as Guild Quality which are more reliable resources. They survey customers for companies and use the information to rate them. While these could also be ‘padded’ it would be very evident in the number of surveys they have on record versus how long they have been a member. Lower numbers would indicate selective survey requests and fewer satisfied customers
6: Beware of landscapers! Landscapers are just that, they specialize in landscaping not building pools. How many pools have they done? You don’t want to rely on someone to build or renovate your pool if they don’t know anything about what they are doing. They may offer the ‘same’ pool or renovation at a better price but do they really understand how to plumb it? Do they know how to measure that liner to make sure it fits correctly? Have they ever applied tile before? Do they understand the industries construction practices and pool building codes. Better yet if they are in the business and serious about it, check their credentials with your local Chapter of the Association of Pool and Spa professionals (APSP).
The following websites will be very useful in completing your research on any pool contractor you are considering. Some of these links are specific to Georgia but you should be able to find them for another state also.