Once you decide that you want a new swimming pool, the next thing to do is begin the pool planning process and find a reputable and knowledgeable contractor to do the work. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most important things you need to know when vetting your swimming pool builder.
Appropriate Licenses and Insurance
The first thing that you need to know about your pool builder is whether they have the proper licenses and insurance. All companies who build swimming pools must carry a current, valid license to work as a swimming pool contractor in their specific classification. Some general building contractors can also work on pools if they hold a swimming pool specialty classification.
Any landscapers or plumbers that work on your pool should also have the appropriate license classification.
Don’t just trust their word that they have appropriate insurance either. Make sure that you verify the insurance and license before you sign any contract or hand over any cash.
At the very least, swimming pool contractors should have General Liability Insurance. Other policies that they may have include:
- Pollution insurance
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance
- Umbrella insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
Also, ask if they can help you with appropriate pool permits.
Years They Have Been in Business
I also recommend that you ask your builder how many years they have been in business. It’s worth mentioning that a good percentage of contractors fail within their first three years of business. So it’s best to look for swimming pool builders who have been in business for three years or more.
Customer References and Reviews
Don’t be afraid to ask about customer reviews. I recommend that you call at least 10 of the references to get a good idea of customer satisfaction. When you talk to other customers, be sure to ask them about the best and worst parts of their experience. I also suggest that you ask the references if they would use that contractor again.
You should ask the builder how many pools they have installed overall. Then find out how many pools they have built in the past year. Remember those numbers when they give you their references. Be cautious of any contractor that provides less than 50 percent of their reviews.
Products That the Pool Builder Uses
Ask your contractor for a list of the products that they intend to use. Then look at some reviews for those products. Just like you want to choose a builder with positive customer feedback, you want products that get good reviews too.
Another thing you can do is to ask when you call the references about products. Do they recommend the products that were used in their pools?
You should also look for products that come with warranties.
Do They Have a Workmanship Warranty?
Look for contractors who offer a workmanship warranty. This is important because many problems can come up during the construction of your pool. A workmanship warranty would cover issues like structural problems and plumbing leaks. At a minimum, you want a workmanship warranty of one year.
Beyond finding out the duration of the warranty, it’s also important to find out what the warranty covers. And ask about repairs too. Does the warranty cover the costs of repairs? For more, read my full guide on pool warranties.
Design and Planning Process
The design and planning process is vital, and you want to be a part of that. Your swimming pool builder should give you a detailed plan before construction begins. Some of the questions you want to be answered in the planning phase include:
- Where will the pool go?
- What type of pool do you want?
- Where will the filtration system go?
- What is your fence layout?
- How will the pool work with your patio?
- Do you have an access lane for construction?
- How will you pay for it?
Next, you need to find out about the installation process. Ask your builder if they have any unique construction or installation policies that make them stand out. And ask them for details about the construction, including excavation. You need to know what the process will be in regards to the dimensions of the pool, elevations, and the layout of the pool, deck, and pool enclosure.
Pricing and Contract
Finally, you want to get details in the contract about the exact pricing. I would say that the most important things you need in your agreement include:
- Service description
- Required materials
- Project deadline
- Weather delays
- Payment terms
- Use of equipment
- Details about responsibilities
One thing worth noting is that some swimming pool contractors try to make their price seem lower than what it will ultimately be by not including everything in their initial quote. Be sure that you ask for a complete quote, including all of the throw-ins like patio and fence work.
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Hopefully, we’ve helped you find answers to some of your questions about vetting a swimming pool builder. Now that you know some of the things to look for, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right contractor. Good luck in your search and don’t hesitate to shoot me a note if you have any questions.