How to Pick a Pool Builder in 3 Easy Steps
There you are, imagining the perfect poolside barbecue, watching the sunlight play across the water in your mind’s eye. To realize that dream, you need to find the right pool builder who understands your vision and won’t fleece you in the process. Pick a builder easily by following these three steps:
Step 1: Do Your Due Diligence
In addition to asking for references, there are important questions to ask.
- How many pools has the builder completed in the past 18 months?
- Request references from those projects — ideally, a builder would offer every name on the list to show a 100% satisfaction rate. If no names are offered, pick a different builder — transparency is vital with the level of trust required for this kind of project!
- Request the names of their vendors, too. How vendors are treated is telling.
- How long has the builder been in business?
- Is the builder a Better Business Bureau member?
- How many unresolved complaints does the BBB have on record? Every business has complaints from time to time; what matters is resolution and customer satisfaction at the end.
- Has the company (or the owners/chief officers) ever left a pool project unfinished?
- Is the company a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
- How is the company structured? At tax time, if you’ve written checks to an individual (i.e. John Doe, DBA Really Awesome Pool Builder), you may be on the hook for employment taxes.
The other items you should ask to see are proof of Workers Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, and a Dun & Bradstreet credit report. You’ll want to see the builder’s portfolio, of course, and that leads to Step 2.
Step 2: Take a Field Trip
A representative will come to your home to see the space and take measurements, but you should take the time to visit the builder’s showroom. It’s another opportunity to ask all those questions from Step 1, plus those certificates of insurance should be on file and easily accessible. Now is the time to pay attention to sales tactics, quality of showcased materials, and ask about typical project schedules and how the builder will work around inevitable hiccups in the process.
Step 3: Watch for Red Flags
Listen to your gut — if you hear something too good to be true, see something that seems amiss, or just don’t trust what’s being presented, look for another builder. These are some red flags that should grab your attention:
- Lowball estimate or a bait-and-switch ad
- High pressure to close the deal right now
- Pressure to finance through the builder
- Pressure to build beyond your budget
- Insisting on cash payments
- Excessive deposit expectations
- Unprofessional attitudes and behavior
A little preparation will help to ensure that you can trust the builder you choose. Ask questions, talk to a variety of references, and take your time. We’re happy to talk to you about your vision for your pool, the building process, and what you can expect from us.