TIP # 1: Seek out at least three bids from swimming pool contractors.
Swimming pool construction is handled by specialized swimming pool contractors who are experienced in ground conditions and climate of the region. Make sure that your contractor has experience building swimming pools, especially the type of swimming pool that you are interested in installing. When you get your bids, look carefully at each swimming pool estimate to assure that you accurately compare one estimate with the next. It is very easy to miss details when comparing estimates. You may even want to create a swimming pool spreadsheet to compare one pool estimate to other pool estimates. Pay special attention to the types of materials that the contractor will use to construct the pool; project extras such as water to fill the pool, special features, energy efficient pumps, going green, salt systems, patio/decking; warranties on the swimming pool and equipment; project timelines and the types of pool equipment that the pool contractor will use such as pool filter, the pool pump, number of skimmers, returns, turnover rates, number of lights, steps, swimming pool vacuums, etc. Many companies will entice a buyer with low prices and then increase the price dramatically with extras that may be included in another pool company’s base pricing- make sure you compare the bids equally across the board. Try to use a company that sells the pool as a whole package to get better pricing or has an all-inclusive policy.
TIP # 2: Get at least three references to help you accurately assess the pool builders’ workmanship and customer service.
Ask the references about how and why they picked this contractor and about their experience work with the contractor. Find out if any issues came up during the project and how they handled the issues. Ask if they would have done anything differently in hindsight. If you cannot see the finished swimming pool project first hand, ask the pool contractor for pictures. The nature of references is that almost every reference will be positive. Do not depend on references to be a critical analysis of the pool contractor. The reference should give you an idea of how the contractor works on the project and how specific projects and issues were handled. Also, ask for trade references to show relationships within the pool industry, ask for architects, engineers and project managers that have real working relationships with the pool company to show the strength of the pool company’s business.
TIP # 3: Plan your payment schedule and follow schedule.
Most projects involve subcontractors, employees, equipment suppliers, and others that are paid as a project proceeds or as needs arise. A delay in payment may slow down or even stop aspects of your project mid-stream. A slowed or stalled swimming pool project almost always increases the overall cost of the pool project. If you anticipate issues with the payment schedule, speak up early as the contractor may be able to move the project schedule around to protect you and your pool project. While you should not wrongly hold back payments, don’t make your final payment until your swimming pool is completed. Your previous payments during the project should ensure that construction and equipment, decking or fencing by the contract has been completed. Your final payment is your strongest insurance that your pool project will be completed as agreed. If you must make your last payment early, make sure that you get in writing a list of what still needs to be completed and the timeline for the remaining tasks. Do not pay cash in a lump sum for your swimming pool. Most contractors expect to receive money at stages during the project. Contractors that request you to pay for the entire project in cash up front are operating illegally. Maryland Home Improvement Commission law states that a contractor can only take a 33 percent deposit.
TIP # 4: Communicate with your builder at all times.
Find out who will be responsible for supervising the work on your pool and keep in touch with them. Find out their full name, office and cell phone numbers, and email if available. Do not assume that the contractor will know what you are thinking about the progress of the project. If concerns, questions or comments come up, you must let the builder know immediately. Do not keep quiet or delay telling the builder. Silence and delays will only increase the cost of correcting the problem. Keep accurate records of all papers relating to your swimming pool. This information will help you maintain and take long term care of your pool. Many of the questions that might come up over time about your pool will probably be answered in the papers that you received during the pool construction.
TIP # 5 Use web resources to help learn about and plan your project.
Swimming pool safety tips from the Consumer Safety Protection Commission –
New guidelines for swimming pool MAIN DRAINS-
Pool maintenance guide-
Landscaping around swimming pools-
Fence design and selection –
Solar heat supplement to conventional heaters in pools-
SURFING IN A POOL –