Buying a swimming pool typically involves many hours of research as you learn about available options and what would work best for you. Choosing a pool is not something that you as a consumer get much practice at, especially for inground models. There’s no course at the community center on “How to Purchase a Pool” or “Best Practices in Pool Company Selection”. Information is available at every turn and it’s great to read up and educate yourself. We would even go as far as to recommend research as a great first step in the purchasing process overall.
Everyone however, arrives at a point, where you need to start speaking with pool product specialists and/or installation companies as you zero in on the different aspects of your pool project and backyard dream. Just like any industry, when speaking with multiple professionals you may come across different opinions and different ways of looking at things. From a procedural standpoint this is normal but doesn’t really help in figuring out which experts to trust and ultimately who to go with for the project.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 things to consider as you go about determining where to purchase your pool from.
One of the largest factors in the public perception of any business is what their customers are saying about them in their reviews. There really is no other tool to best gauge how your interactions and experience may be with a company then to look at the reviews left by other customers. The 3 most popular places for reviews to be left are Google, Facebook, and Yelp, with Google being the most popular by far. We would suggest looking for examples of positive customer service, quality workmanship, and practical advice given. Any noticeable trends in the opposite direction on these types of points would be a red flag worth investigating.
How Long in Business / How Much Experience
How long has the pool company been in business? How much experience do they have installing swimming pools? This may be one of the most common mistakes that people make by not checking out the experience level of the folks that they are electing to do business with. Company history and background along with asking for testimonials or recommendations from previous customers are a great way to determine if an organization has the knowledge and professional ability to get the job done. All pools are not built equally and much of what you don’t actually see will impact the cost of pool ownership over time. Consider the saying, “If you think the cost of a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”
A Physical Location (not the back of a pickup truck)
Does the company have a retail store, or a show room? Having a place to meet with the company staff that isn’t in your own backyard or the back of their own work truck is also a very good sign. Visiting the business will also tell you a lot about the type of operation it is. How about a website with at least general information? Take a look at the pictures used to see if they are stock pool photos or actual pools that the company has built. Photos of pools the company has built provide examples of their work to help you base your decision on.
Insurance coverage and licensing
Does the pool company doing the excavation and construction work in your backyard have the proper training and qualifications? Also, on the off chance an accident should happen on your property, does the company that you are signing a contract with have the proper liability and workers’ compensation insurances covering both people and property? This is a very important thing to check so that on the very remote chance that anything should happen, you as the customer, wouldn’t need to become involved in anything. This proof that you should look for usually comes in the form of what is called a “binder”. This is a document showing the different types of insurances that a company has as well as the specific dollar amounts for each. A pool builder should have this as part of the sales conversation or furnish upon request at the very least for peace of mind.
It is imperative that you understand what you are getting before you sign a pool contract. You should have a clear understanding of what is included and what is not, as well as any items that you may be responsible for during the process and project. No one expects you to understand everything the first go around and most companies will anticipate questions and concerns. Even if something is promised verbally it should be captured within the contract to avoid any confusion and to protect both you and the company. A member of ownership or a project manager should also make themselves available for construction updates and serve as a resource to answer questions as is needed. There may also be a job site manager who is someone that you would see during the day to day operations. This person would also be a contact who is able to answer questions.
Doing some research on swimming pools up front is very important but also asking questions and vetting the companies under your consideration to work with cannot be ignored. A bit of short-term investigation will save you time and potential headaches in the long run.
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