As the summer season approaches us, COVID-19 concerns and closures have led to families staying home more than they are accustomed to. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the pool industry has seen explosive growth. Personal pools are a safer option than their public counterparts. But with so many contractors to choose from, the process of getting the right contractor may seem daunting. Here are several things you can do to weed out the undesirables so you can only use the best pool builders.
1) Talk To Family And Friends
One of the easiest things you can do is to simply communicate with your friends and family. Even if they themselves do not have a pool, chances are they know someone who does and you can ask about their experiences with a given contractor. By taking this route, you will also be able to see the contractor’s work up close. But, even in circumstances where you receive several good referrals, it’s important to note that there are still several areas you will need to evaluate before working with any contractor.
2) BBB Accreditation
In order for a business to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau they have to demonstrate sound business practices and they have to live up to the BBB’s high standards on privacy protection, customer service and advertising. This is why the BBB Accredited Business Seal is so sought after by local and large companies alike. The seal symbolizes that the company can deliver on their promises.
3) Years In Establishment
Said in simpler terms, would you feel comfortable with undergoing a surgery procedure which is being conducted by someone who just graduated med school, or would you be more comfortable with a seasoned veteran with over 10 years of experience? Installing a pool is a major investment for your home. Therefore, you should only work with contractors who have established a clientele history and reputation. Look for the best pool builders in Austin because they have time to fine tune their craft and will have dozens of customer referrals that they can provide you with.
4) Check Organization Memberships, Licensing And Certification
Even though licensing requirements vary state to state, each state has a regulatory website that anyone can use to check the credentials of a given contractor. In addition to evaluating whether or not a given contractor is licensed and insured, you should check local and state ordinances to see what type of certifications a contractor could get.
5) Listen To Your Gut
It may sound cliché, but how often have you ignored your gut instinct only to regret it after the fact? Regardless of how alluring a quote may be, or how much positive reviews a company may have, if your gut feeling tells you that there’s something ‘off’ about the contractor you should listen to it. A professional contractor will do their best to ensure that their customers feel safe, appreciated and comfortable. So if something feels off about a given contractor, do not ignore your gut feeling.
6) Compare Costs
As mentioned, do not go with a contractor simply because they have the best ratings or because your loved ones recommended them. Ideally, as is the case with any project, you should talk to at least 3 contractors to see what’s available. Ask each contractor to provide written quotes with a thorough breakdown of the various expenses of the project such as the cost of materials, labor and more. If a contractor refuses to provide a written bid, then do not work with that contractor. Reputable companies will be more than happy to give you an honest breakdown surrounding the quote they gave you.
7) Determine If You Can Meet Payment Schedule
Even if you find a company you would like to work with, you should understand how their payment schedule works before choosing them. Unless you can pay for the entire project upfront, you will have to pay through a payment installation plan. This plan typically consists of paying your contractor once a certain milestone has been reached. Such as to get payment once they have excavated the site, then another payment to get the materials, then another payment once plumbing is installed. Each company has a different payment structure. Unless you want to pay them upfront and hope they do a good job, as opposed to paying them, milestone by milestone to ensure their work is of the highest quality, you should evaluate each contractor’s payment schedule.
Certifications and licensing is different from insurance. Many contractors skirt by, as a result of highlighting the fact that they are certified but fail to reveal to their customers that they aren’t insured in one of three areas. The installation of a pool consists of using heavy machinery. Regardless of how long a company may have been operating, accidents occur unintentionally. A reputable company will have property and personal damage liability insurance. You should also verify if they have worker’s compensation insurance. This helps to pay for the medical expense of an employee who gets injured while working on your property. It’s important to highlight that state laws dictate that if someone gets injured while working on your property without worker’s compensation, you and the owner of said company could be sued in court.
9) Get Details Of Contract In Writing
Once you have chosen a contractor that you would like to work with, it’s important that you get the contract in writing. But, the question that lies to be answered is what should the contract consist of? Some of the things that should be included are:
- During the excavation process, if something pops up, how will the price be adjusted?
- What kind of equipment will be in use, how will it impact your property?
- How will they prepare the site without damaging the surrounding area?
- If zoning laws require that a fence is built around the pool, is this a part of the package?
- Warranty terms
- Estimation of repair and maintenance expenses.
- Itemized expenses for the pool and all additional features such as pool cover, diving board and infinity edge.