Questions To Ask a Pool Contractor
At FindPoolFinancing.com we want you to know everything you need to before you buy a pool. By the end of reading this article you’ll know how to hire a pool contractor, as well as what questions to ask a pool contractor. We want you to be delighted with your pool and your pool-buying experience–no matter who you wind up building a pool with. That’s why we offer you this helpful guide–to give you the info that you want to separate the competent and trustworthy pool builders from all the rest, and then make the best choice possible.
We advise you to interview prospective builders in person, over the phone, or via email. Ask them a series of queries to determine their business equilibrium, their technical competence, their authenticity, and their dedication to customer satisfaction. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself if it is possible to trust the builder you are speaking with. But these 14 questions to ask a pool contractor will give you some terrific insight into the individual and business that you’re intending to do business with.
Protect Yourself From A Bad Pool Building Experience By Asking The Right Questions
Before you even consider building a pool, read the following list of questions to ask a pool contractor before you build a pool.
14 Questions To Ask A Pool Contractor
1. WHERE IS YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS? DO YOU HAVE A SHOWROOM?
This industry is famous (or notorious ) for what’s known as the”one-poler”–a few guys working out of the pick-up truck, trying to build pools. Anybody who resides in an RV, home, or apartment construction and works from the back of a pick-up truck can leave city from the blink of an eye with all your money. Check to see whether he owns his own residence, or is just leasing. A pool builder who has strong ties to the community is not very likely to leave town fast.
Start looking for a pool builder that has a showroom or long-term lease in a commercial building. A showroom enables you to see the builder’s products, see his surgeries, and meet a number of his workers prior to signing a contract. This shows they are serious about their business, and not planning to leave town suddenly. This type of builder can also be more likely to have the financial resources to take care of things if there’s a problem with your pool.
2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
Shady pool builders do not like this question, because it’s too easy to check out. It’s sadly common in this industry for someone to create some pools, run into financial trouble, go bankrupt, and leave a lot of half dug pools in people’s yards. Then a few months later, open a NEW company with a new name, and begin all over again. They may alter towns in an attempt to put their bad standing . But sometimes they’ll open that new business right alongside the ashes of that previous one, hoping most people won’t notice that they left their previous clients.
By the way–when a pool builder goes out of business, your pool warranty disappears. Why risk your home and fiscal investment to save a few bucks?
The rule of thumb is that if a pool builder has been in business less than fiver years, consider someone else. Or be very safe, and just deal with pool builders who have been in operation for ten years or more. Just a few reliable and dependable pool companies will make it beyond the ten-year mark, at which point you should not have to be concerned about their stability.
3. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SUED BY A CUSTOMER?
This should be an easy question to answer. Those who haven’t will respond with a resounding”No.” Those who are well aware that thanks to the world wide web, their secrets are not safe. So they will either need to acknowledge it, and give you a sad story about why it was not their fault*, or you simply won’t hear from them .
*Notice:”Whose fault it was” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you are stuck with an unfinished pool without a guarantee!
4. CAN YOU GIVE ME THE NAMES AND PHONE NUMBERS OF AT LEAST THREE SUPPLIERS THAT YOU’VE DONE BUSINESS WITH FOR THE LAST TWO OR MORE YEARS?
This is a superb source of information, because providers who have been cheated by a pool builder will be more than happy to let you know about it. Much more to the point, if the swimming pool builder doesn’t pay the providers’ bills, the homeowner may get stuck paying it again. (See Question 13: “Vendor Liens”.)
You ought to be able to choose freely from a list of at least 50 names, preferably a hundred or even more. A shorter list likely means your pool builder has not built very many pools, or has had difficulty satisfying his customers.
You should definitely talk to five people randomly in the list. It’s also a good idea to organize a meeting at one of those houses. This gives you an opportunity to see the finished product, while also talking directly to the homeowner who worked with the builder.
5. ARE YOU A CURRENT MEMBER OF THE APSP AND THE BBB?
The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) both demand ethical business practices from all their members. The fees to join are by no means urdensome, so there’s no cause for a bona fide, ethical-minded pool builder not to combine.
The APSP writes about the construction standards for the pool industry, and its members devote to the adherence of those standards. Ideally, the pool contractor should be able to show you a current”Certified Construction Professional” certificate, that’s the highest level of certification provided by the APSP.
If a swimming pool builder isn’t a member of the BBB and the APSP, which should be a clear warning to look someplace else.
6. WILL MY CHECKS BE MADE PAYABLE TO A BUSINESS ACCOUNT OR TO A PERSONAL ACCOUNT?
When the company name and the primary’s name will be exactly the same, it can be hard to differentiate between bank accounts. For example, if the pool builder’s name is Johnny Smith, and the test is made to”Johnny Smith,” then he could go to your bank and cash the check and avoid paying any state or Federal income taxes. In the event the IRS finds this, you might be held accountable.
When you write out a check to a business which is incorporated (“Inc.”), or has the principal’s name as merely part of the company name (e.g.,”Johnny Smith Pool Construction Co.”), then the lender must deposit the check in the pool builder’s checking accounts. This greatly lessens the chance that the builder is going to run off with your money.
7. CHECK OUT THE BUSINESSES DUN & BRADSTREET RECORD
The Dun & Bradstreet company keeps track of a business’ credit score. A very long history of on-time obligations and great credit ought to be reassuring. Conversely, too little history suggests they haven’t been in business very long. (A terrible payment history must be a clear warning that there’s potentially big trouble ahead.
An upstanding pool builder will have no trouble sharing his Dun & Bradstreet report with you.
8. DO YOU HAVE WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION AND GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE?
A”subcontractor” is someone who’s hired from the pool contractor to perform work on your swimming pool, however, isn’t an employee of the pool builder. He could be a plumber, a laborer, an electrician, or gunite shot. Anything that happens to these laborers on your house could turn into a liability for you.
Workmen’s Compensation insurance will protect you from needing to pay for the subcontractor’s missing salary. A General Liability policy will protect you from lawsuits and other obligations to those laborers.
An inexperienced pool builder may have neither of these policies, and set you in danger. A professional pool builder may possess , and protect you from any obligations.
9. WHAT INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD I CALL TO GET A COPY OF YOUR CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE?
Watch their reaction when you ask this question. If they begin to squirm, start searching for a different builder. Likewise, if they say”I’ll get you a copy,” or simply show you something out of their briefcase, find another builder. Everyone can easily alter the dates of an expired policy. That’s why the certificate of insurance must come directly from the insurer to you. A professional pool builder will not be afraid to provide you with the name and phone number of his insurance carrier.
10. HOW MANY PROJECTS HAVE YOU DONE THAT WOULD QUALIFY YOU TO BUILD MY POOL?
This is another fantastic question to help ferret out the inexperienced, inept, or intentionally dishonest pool builders. Today’s pools are substantially more complicated than they were 15 years back. New features like”vanishing edge,””in-floor cleaning,””grottos,””weeping walls,” and many others take experience and engineering know-how. There are stunningly beautiful, but can be very expensive and disappointing disasters if constructed by somebody with inadequate experience.
Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the pool builder’s clients that have the distinctive features you are thinking about. Call them and ask whether the attributes work as promised, and when they had any trouble with addressing the builder. A professional pool builder will be more than prepared to provide you all the names you want or need.
11. WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU HIT ROCK WHILE DIGGING MY POOL?
In almost any part of the country, it’s possible for a pool builder to strike stone as he’s digging out your pool. There are several ways to get a swimming pool builder to handle this. Some pool builders may come to you requesting more cash to compensate for their unpreparedness. Others might offer you a”stone clause” or insurance policy in advance, to”protect you from potential additional expense.” Yet another approach is to prepare a”rock allowance.” In the event the time digging the pool exceeds the allowance, and heavy equipment needs to be brought in, you’ll probably have to pay more income out of your pocket.
In the end, none of these methods is”right” or”wrong.” The most important things are that the agreement related to”stone” or”water,” electrical work, etc., is spelled out clearly in the contract, and that you completely understand the arrangement and are familiar with it.
12. HOW DO I KNOW YOUR PRICE ISN’T A ‘BAIT & SWITCH’?
There are dozens of variables that affect the cost of a pool. A residential pool builder will never quote you a price without performing a yard survey and finding out your requirements. They’ll perform a specific design for your backyard and then provide a quote. Many builders will give you an artificially low price to cause you to have a salesman come to your house. Any pool builder which uses this”bait and switch” technique ought to be avoided.
13. WILL YOU FURNISH LIEN WAIVERS FROM VENDORS AND SUBCONTRACTORS TO PROVE THEY’VE BEEN PAID?
That is critically important! The best nightmare for any homeowner buying a pool would be to cover 60% to 75% of their money for the pool and also have the pool builder bypass town when he’s only done 20% of their job. These shysters invariably leave the subcontractors unpaid, which means they’ll all come knocking on your door searching for payment.
A lien waiver is a receipt showing that funds are paid to a supplier or subcontractor, and they have no lien rights against your home. When your pool is complete, you should have lien waivers from all vendors and subcontractors to demonstrate that you do not have to pay them again. A professional pool builder will supply you with lien waivers for all work and materials used for your pool–no questions asked.
14. WHY SHOULD I TRUST YOU TO BUILD MY POOL?
If your pool builder has survived the list of 14 questions to ask a pool contractor, congratulations! You may have found a excellent solid pool builder to deal with your project. But there’s still one more problem –how do you feel about them ? There’s no wrong or right reply to the above question, but it’s a great way to acquire a sense of the personal integrity of the individual who you’re dealing with.
This query ought to let their true personality shine through. After all, you’re going to be working closely with this individual for the next two to three weeks or longer (depending on the size of this job ). You’ll need to make sure it’s somebody you feel great about, and may trust.
Bring This List Of Questions To Ask A Pool Contractor With You When Buying a Pool
We hope this list of questions to ask a pool contractor makes it possible to create the best possible decision when buying your new pool. With all these questions in hand, you need to be able to find a sense of which pool builders can be trusted, and which pool builders are at risk of creating an unpleasant experience for you.