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How to Choose a Swimming Pool Contractor

Updated on September 27, 2013

Making a Good Choice

If you're thinking of getting a pool, schedule an appointment with a licensed pool contractor (some states do not require a license).

Timing is important too. Many builders have a busy season and a slower time of year which pretty much follows the swim season. Therefore, for best service, contact the builder in the beginning of the calendar year. Waiting until Memorial Day to start the process and hoping for a July 4th Pool Party is just not going to work in most cases.

It's highly unlikely any reputable builder will have your pool finished for you to enjoy all summer and in some cases, maybe not at all. It's like ordering a pizza during halftime of the Super Bowl. Think you'll have that pizza before the game's over? The idea is to start talking to a pool builder now.

Things to consider when choosing a pool builder:

  1. Are they established in the community? Ties to your local community mean the contractor is committed to building and maintaining a positive reputation.
  2. Are they responsive to your inquiries---promptly returning your calls? They might also have an email address for you. Multiple ways to contact them help you when the contact person is 'in the field'
  3. Do they take the time to educate you on pool building and ownership?
  4. Is safety emphasized? For instance, here is one
  5. Do they know anything about energy efficient equipment?
  6. Do you like them? You have to feel good about the company.
  7. Are they a state certified builder? Licensing ensures the highest level of commitment to building - and requires the builder to take continuing education courses as well as carry proper insurance.
  8. Will they provide you references?
  9. Unhappy customers? Ask them about customers who were not happy and how they handled the situation. The 'how' is really important. Also check the state licensing agency for complaints and other sites available.
  10. Will they let you see a job they have currently in process?
  11. Do they provide financing services or do they just send you to figure it out yourself?
  12. Is the owner of the company accessible?
  13. Do they have a website that provides information and contact points? Of course, I'm partial to my own but there are many good sites out there that are worthwhile.
  14. How does the money flow? Builders build your pool with your money, no doubt. However, do they require 50% up front? Understand that before you start.
  15. Guarantees? If they seem too good to be true, they might be. Look for quality in guarantees, not speed. Economics (and payments that match progress) make reputable builder move things along.
  16. Are they experienced? This is a double edged sword for sure. You want someone who knows what he/she is doing but not someone who have been in a pool building rut where all the pools look the same and there is no innovation. There are far too many pool builders with '20 years+ experience' who stopped learning anything after about 5 years. Imagine you have someone doing it the way it was done 15 years ago.
  17. How is the pricing? Pool builders pricing is about the same wherever you go, so don't fixate on price. Most differences are really not real - just some builder's effort to make it difficult to compare. Choose the builder that you are comfortable working with. Whether it is a little more or less shouldn't be the overriding concern. Also, if you find yourself choosing based on price you haven't found a builder for you. Price buying is used because it is, obviously, quite quantifiable. When you are choosing on price you really should think about continuing your search for a builder for you.

Most horror stories occur because someone didn't take a few moments to think about some of theses issues. Pool building -- which usually involves lots of backyard mess in the process - need not be messy in your head


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      Sammy Jo 

      5 years ago

      This is a very helpful article Maria, thanks for the list. Along with the luxury comes a lot of responsibility to consider.

      Sammy Jo

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great tips Maria. Especiall the importance of the safety drain.


    • profile image

      Grandpa Schutz 

      10 years ago

      Looks great to me. Unfortunately I already have a large pool in my back yard. However if the rains don't come I might possibly require a pool to put all those fish into. If so I will be contacting you to get a real deal on one of your beautiful pools.


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