Building a swimming pool is a complicated task, and you should only bother hiring the best pool contractors out there for the job. But how do you know if a particular pool builder is good at their work? The trick is to ask the right questions. Reviews and word of mouth are good sources of information, but the best way to assess a pool contractor's merit is to pose your queries directly to them. Here are some questions you should be asking when you're hiring a pool contractor.
What Is Their Experience Level?
Extensive experience is undoubtedly the single most important thing to look for in pool contractors. With technology evolving rapidly, swimming pools have become more sophisticated and complex. Newer features are cropping up, and details like weeping walls, grottos, in-floor cleaning, and even vanishing edges that give the impression of an infinite pool are being preferred. These features can be expensive, and if your pool isn't being constructed by someone with sufficient experience, they can turn out to be costly errors that you don't want to be burdened with.
Talk to a few pool contractors and ask them how many years they've been in the business of pool building. Look up some information about them online and verify whether the facts they give you match any figures you find on their own website or on other aggregator websites that offer information about local pool contractors. It's best to go with a company that has at least five years of experience, because a huge majority of pool builders go out of business within the first three to five years. You'll want a pool builder who has survived this mark.
Do They Have A List Of References?
This is a question many homeowners will remember to ask. But the most common error is being satisfied with a list of around two or three references. You don't want to fall prey to the same mistake. Remember that a seasoned pool contractor with years of experience behind them should be able to provide you with a list of at least fifty references. It may seem like a lot, but it gives you the freedom to pick a few names randomly off the list and talk to them. This is a lot more credible than receiving only a few names that the pool contractor believes reflect his best work.
Talk to the references you pick off the list and ask them about their experience with the pool contractor in question. Find out how easy they were to work with, and how close to their initial request the final pool built was. You'll also want to know if the pool contractor completed the job on time or if there were any inexplicable and avoidable delays. Remember that it's important to talk to some previous clients, primarily because it can help you make a better decision about going forward with the contractor in question. You get to hear real experiences as opposed to reviews online, which could just be paid reviews.
Are They Licensed And Insured?
One of the first things you should ask potential contractors is whether they are adequately licensed and insured. Licensing gives them the right to build and construct pools, and working with unlicensed pool contractors could leave a potential lawsuit hanging over your head. The other important aspect here is insurance. There are two kinds of insurance you'll want your pool contractor to have. The first is workmen's compensation insurance, and the second is general liability insurance.
These insurance schemes protect you from having to pay for the workmen in case the pool contractor fails to pay them, and from being responsible for any lawsuits or other liabilities to the laborers working on building the pool. It's also not enough to simply ask your pool contractor whether they're licensed and insured. Ask to see the papers, and, finally, ask for the name of the company they're insured with.
A legitimately insured business will offer up these details without a second thought because they have nothing to hide. However, a pool contractor whose insurance may have expired or a builder who probably has no insurance won't be comfortable sharing these details. In all likelihood, they may offer you a set of important-looking papers but leave you with no means of contacting the insurance company.
How Quickly Can Any Pool Contractors Build Your Pool?
The time it takes to build a pool depends largely on the kind of pool you want. Concrete pools, for instance, take longer than other options because the concrete needs around four weeks to cure, during which time no other work can be done in the pool itself. Landscaping and other peripheral activities can still be performed, though, so, ask your pool contractor for an approximate estimate on the time they'll take to build the pool. It's a good idea to know the expected turnaround time because it helps you set reasonable expectations about when your pool will be ready to use.
Remember that building pool requires the use of heavy equipment and manual labor. And if you've asked for a few additional features that don't generally come with the model you've chosen, you'll have to factor that in, too. Seasoned pool contractors will generally be able to give you an accurate estimate of how long it'll take to see the project through to completion. Knowing this ensures that both you and your pool contractor are on the same page, and it helps avoid mismatched expectations.
Can You See Any Pools In Person?
Most pool contractors will share photographs of their previous work. And while this is a good place to begin, it's not enough. Nothing beats seeing a pool or two in person because that gives you a better idea of how good the contractor you're considering is at their work. It helps you gauge the true quality of the pools they build. Seeing a pool in person also gives you a glimpse of the true quality of the pools constructed by your pool contractor. You can see for yourself whether the pool is sturdy and sensibly designed.
Good pool contractors will have no reservations about offering you details of pools they've constructed in any homes nearby or letting you call up some of the people on the list of references and ask if you can visit their pools to see how they're built. It's also a good idea to see if your landscaping company can provide you with details of any pools that you could view in person. This is an important aspect, and you shouldn't overlook the vitality of seeing a few pools in person. Photos do not always do justice to the real thing, and it's not easy to determine if there are any flaws in a pool by simply viewing the photos.
Do They Offer Pool Maintenance/Warranty?
Once it has been constructed, your pool needs to be maintained properly, cleaned on a regular basis, and the chemicals need to be correctly balanced. Most competent pool contractors offer a free maintenance plan that extends to at least a year after completion. It's important to ask your pool contractor upfront whether they offer any kind of pool maintenance because if they don't, you'll have to subscribe to a paid plan.
Some companies also go the extra mile and offer maintenance training, where you learn how to operate the pool on an everyday basis. This helps you avoid any errors and saves valuable time by allowing you to learn the ropes from an expert.
Another essential aspect you should enquire about is the warranty. Ask if a warranty is included in the contract because it will protect you from the consequences of any errors your contractor made while building the pool. Although most professional builders don't make many complicated mistakes, it's always safer to have a warranty to fall back on in case something goes wrong.
Are They A Member Of The APSP And BBB?
The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are both organizations that dictate the highest level of ethical standards from their members. The APSP lays down the ground rules for constructing safe and functional swimming pools and charts out the construction standards for the pool industry. Members of the body need to strictly adhere to these standards.
All professional and competent pool contractors are members of these organizations, and considering the fact that the fees to join the APSP and the BBB are easily affordable by any successful pool-building company, there's no reason why a genuine pool contractor shouldn't be a member. If the pool contractor you're looking at isn't a member of these organizations, it may be best to look at other companies to build you your pool. If a contractor does confirm their membership, ask to see proof of the same.
If at any point during your discussion you get the vibe that your pool builder isn't being completely honest with you, it's best to trust your gut instinct and look for other pool contractors. Trust and the necessary level of comfort are extremely essential when it comes to choosing the right pool contractor.