Questions to Ask Your Pool Builder

When getting a pool built or installed it’s wise to know and ask the right questions. There is always the chance that something unforeseeable can happen during a pool build, but many problems can be prevented by, simply, asking a couple of questions before you get started.
Below are some things to discuss with potential pool builders to prevent any potential for future problems or misconceptions.
Discuss the purpose of the pool and write it down. Discuss this with your pool builder.
First determine the type of pool that you want: taste, location, and budget
Get some basic pool equipment knowledge; do you want DE filter Sand etc.
Ask to get promises builder is making in paper
Unfortunately we can’t rely on the word of everyone. In the event that a pool builder promises something, get it in writing. This is part of business and there should be no hesitation or ill will on the side of the pool builder for putting anything on paper.
Ask the builder about their “Draw Schedule” for payment.
Pool builders will ask for payment for your pool build in installments. An a early lump sum payed to a pool builder too early in the pool build can cause problems. It’s common for builders to ask for 75% of the total amount due at the gunite or cement stage in the build. The problem is that this can make it tempting to abandon a pool build if they run into cash flow problems. A common rule of thumb is for the builder to collect no more than two thirds the amount at the time of cement or gunite. Anything more combined with red flags should be avoided.
Ask if you can pay each installment after work is done. ie. When gunite is installed pay afterward.
The builder will usually ask for a deposit for the build and take installment as the project progresses. Asking a pool builder to except payment for installments after work has been done can motivate builders to do good work allow for a well maintained build schedule.
Ask what backfill will be used. Different soils drain differently.
How many pools have your built in my area?
Different types of pools work better or worse in different types of the world and builders have to account for this. For instance. in freezing temperatures concrete or gunite can freeze and expand causing structural and plumbing damages.
How many pools like mine have you built?
Just because they have built a several fiberglass pools does not mean they have the expertise of a gunite builder. Another point is with the constant change of pool technology you will want to make sure your builder is experienced in this new technology.
Do they have a physical address or a brick and mortar store?
If a pool builder does not have a physical address it’s easier for them to pack up and move from community to community without harming their reputation. Having a permanent place in the community with a reputation to back them up is important.
Do they have employees that will be working for them, and if so, do they have workers compensation for all employees?
Pool businesses will often have a high turnover for employees, so you want to make sure their employer is taking care of them. This keeps workers with the company for longer periods which, in turn, provides workers with more experience in the field. Ask for a copy of the general liability and worker’s compensation documentation. If they do not carry the liability and something goes wrong on your property, you could be liable for the costs.
Do you use a subcontractor to install and if so are they licensed and bonded to protect you if things go wrong?
There is nothing wrong with the builder who subcontracts out some of their work, but you will want to make sure the company that the work is being contracted out to is fully licensed and bonded. This will make things much smoother in the event something goes wrong. The last thing you want to happen is some disagreement between the builder and subcontractor that has the progress of your pool build hostage.
Ask for references (3)
Ask for three references and try and make them random to avoid any bias. If possible ask the owners about two problems that might have occurred and how they went about fixing them.
Are you a member of the BBB?
Ask your builder if they are listed in the Better Business Bureau and check there ratings before moving forward with any type of contract.
Can you show me copies of lien wavers showing sub-contractors and vendors have been paid for past work?
-Any sign of non-payment can be bad. If vendors or sub-contractors have not been paid, this bill can fall back on the homeowner. If you cannot receive copies ask for the number and names of at least three vendors or sub-contractors they have done business with in the last two years. Any non-payment issues will be gladly reported from either.
Can I get an itemized breakdown of all parts, materials, labor costs and services?
Have you or your partners ever declared bankruptcy or gone out of business? How long have the current business owners been operating under their current name?
Some pool builders will declare bankruptcy and go out of business, leaving work unfinished and opening another business to pick up where they left off.
Can I see your Dunn and Bradstreet Report?
The Dun & Bradstreet Report will show the credit of the business. A bad rating shows irresponsibility within the pool builder, which can mean bad news for you in the future.
Will I make checks payable to personal or business account?
Checks that are made into the name of the owner can be cashed at your bank, avoiding taxes. If the IRS finds out it could come back to the homeowner. Check payable to a business have to be deposited in the business account which reduces the likelihood that the builder will run off with your money.
Is all necessary work in my contract?
Some builders will leave out additional costs, such as patio and rock costs. A good pool builder will have a good idea of whether he will hit rock in the pool build and account for this. If a builder does not account for either you could be receiving some unexpected costs associated with your pool build.
How long is the warranty on the pool, pool equipment and pool builder?
If it’s fiberglass there are two different types of warranties, structural and the gel coat finish
Check and read the warranty for Vinyl liner pools. Many of the vinyl liner warranties cover the seams on then liner, but only will replace them if there is an immediate problem.Gunite or concrete pools don’t have a manufacturer, but can have a workmanship warranty
Workmanship Warranties should cover major issues, such as: plumbing leaks, leaks in pool fittings, structural movement or settling of pool or patio.
Ask who will be servicing my warranty and how long for. Many times, problems can arise after the temperature change in the winter and it’s good to know your warranty covers you for more than a single year in the event that temperature changes damage your pool.
How much experience do you have installing my product ie: fiberglass, gunite, vinyl
Can you show me a certificate of insurance to prove your fully insured in the incident that things don’t go as planned?
If there is any damage to the yard or landscaping will you repair it?
What are the existing requirements for electrical, plumbing, zoning and grading and who will be performing each?
This will show if the builder is well prepared and has a good grasp on what will be required for the job.
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Kevin
When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.