A swimming pool is both a major purchase and a huge life decision. It’s something that you, your family, and your friends will be enjoying for hopefully decades. So you definitely don’t want to take it lightly and make rash decisions.
The contractor you choose is arguably the single most important decision you can make during this process. If you make the right decision, you’ll end up with the pool of your dreams. But if you make the wrong choice, you’ll have a story that will haunt you for years to come.
Here’s some advice on how to hire the best pool builder contractor:
1. Decide What Type of Pool You Want
There’s three main pool liner materials: fiberglass, vinyl, or concrete. You should give this some thought beforehand. This is important, because depending on the type of material you prefer, you should make sure your contractor has proven success with it. Most pool contractors lean towards one type or another and may not have the best experience with certain materials, ie concrete.
2. Start Your Search
The general rule-of-thumb is to get a minimum of three bids on your project. This way you’re not only more likely to hire the best contractor for the job, but you’ll also get the best price.
Here’s some of the best sources for finding pool builder contractors:
Yelp - probably the most popular business review platform. They also do a great job preventing fake reviews, so you can rest assured that the results are fairly accurate.
Referrals - if you have friends or family that have had a pool installed recently, talk to them, find out how it went. If they had an amazing experience you’ll definitely want to keep their pool contractor in the running. You may also get a better quote and service if they know you were referred by someone.
Better Business Bureau - although companies can pay the BBB to “become accredited”, which is a tad controversial, at least by searching the BBB you can see if there’s been any complaints logged against certain contractors.
Angie’s List - although not free, Angie’s List prides itself on only having legitimate reviews. If you find the right contractor, the money you may save will more than cover the small subscription fee for this site.
HomeAdvisor - they are basically a directory of pre-screened contractors. You can search for companies in your local zip code, then read their reviews and contact them to get bids.
At this point, you’ve hopefully contacted at least three local pool builder contractors, and have scheduled a time for them to come to your house.
If you happen to be in The Woodlands, TX, Cypress, TX, areas, we strongly recommend considering Carnahan.
3. Meet The Contractors
Prior to the arrival of the contractors, there’s a few things you should decide, not only to save time when you’re with them in person, but to avoid any sales trickery and be more knowledgeable about the project in general.
- Chlorinated or salt water?
- Electric, gas, or solar water heater?
- Manual or automatic pool cover?
Do some research on the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision.
Now when they show up, here’s some questions you’ll want to ask:
- How many years have you been in business?
- What’s your estimate on the timeline to complete this project?
- Who will be the foreman for the project? How long have they been building pools?
- What type of equipment will you be using? Will you need to take down any fences, etc. to get it onto the site?
- What are all the permits you’ll need to get? Will there be any work required from my end?
- When can you start?
- How do payments work?
- What type of communication do you typically use with clients? Phone, email, text, etc?
- Can you provide references?
- What other services do you provide? Perhaps you also are in the need of some landscaping.
4. Check Their References
Most reputable contractors will be prepared with a list of references. Keep in mind that these are likely to be clients that have had positive experiences (why on earth would they be silly enough to provide you with a bad reference, right?).
If the reference is willing to let you, it’s best if you could actually go take a look at their pool. This way you can see for yourself if the result is up to your standards.
And while talking to them, it’s a good idea to cross-reference what they tell you with what the contractor told you. If things don’t add up, that’s not a good sign.
5. Get The Quotes
Hopefully by now all the contractors in-the-running for your gig will have sent you their estimates.
6. Make a Decision!
- In a perfect world, there’ll be one contractor that:
- Gave you the best quote
- You felt the most comfortable with
- Had the best references and/or online reviews
- Has the most experience
However that’s typically not the case. So you’ll need to carefully review all the information they’ve given you. You may have some follow-up questions too, so don’t hesitate to call them back and get all your answers.
If you are leaning towards the most expensive contractor, there may also be some wiggle room in their quote. So it’s worth telling them what other bids you’ve received and seeing if they’ll negotiate.
Here’s some things to be cautious about. Maybe they could even be considered as “deal-breakers”:
- Slow communication (takes multiple days to return your call)
- Rude, either in person or on the phone
- Unable to provide you with references
- Pressures you to make a quick decision
Hopefully this guide will steer you in the right direction when you’re looking to hire the best pool builder contractor. Good luck!