Before signing any contracts, it is essential to interview prospective builders either in person, over the phone, or via email. You can assess their business stability, technical expertise, credibility, and dedication to customer satisfaction through a series of questions. Ultimately, you must determine if you can trust the builder you are engaging with. These 15 questions will provide valuable insights into the individual and company you are considering for your project.
This industry is notorious for the "one-poler," a pickup truck operation that can quickly disappear with your money. Avoid this risk by choosing a pool builder who owns a home and has strong community ties. Additionally, look for a builder with a showroom or long-term lease, demonstrating their commitment to the business and providing an opportunity to assess their products and operations before signing a contract. This type of builder is also more likely to have the financial resources to address any pool issues that may arise.
Is it possible to hide an unfinished pool without repercussions? The answer is a definite “No.” The internet has made it nearly impossible to keep secrets. Those who have attempted to hide an unfinished pool will have to confess either and provide a sob story to justify their actions, or they will avoid the topic altogether. It’s important to note that assigning blame is irrelevant when you’re left with an incomplete pool and no warranty.
This is a valuable resource, as suppliers deceived by a pool builder will gladly share their
experiences. Furthermore, if the pool builder fails to settle the suppliers' invoices, the homeowner may be burdened with the payment again. (Refer to Question 13: "Vendor Liens".)
You should have the option to select from a comprehensive list of at least 50 names, ideally a
hundred or more. A shorter list may indicate limited pool building experience or difficulties meeting customer expectations. To better understand the builder's work, it is essential to speak with a minimum of five randomly chosen individuals from the reference list. Additionally, arranging a meeting at one of the completed homes allows you to inspect the final result and directly communicate with the homeowner who collaborated with the builder.
The BBB requires ethical practices from all members. Joining is affordable, so honest pool builders should be members. If a pool builder isn't a BBB member, it's a clear warning to find another option.
Differentiating between bank accounts can be challenging when the company and principal names are the same. For instance, if the pool builder is named Johnny Smith, and the check is
made out to "Johnny Smith," he could cash it at the bank without paying taxes. Being caught by the IRS could lead to your liability.
When writing a check to an incorporated company or one with the principal's name as only part of the company name (e.g., "Johnny Smith Pool Construction Co."), the bank will deposit it into the pool builder's checking account. This significantly decreases the chances of the builder absconding with your funds.
Dun & Bradstreet maintains credit ratings for businesses. A favorable credit history with timely payments is reassuring, while a limited history suggests a short time in operation. Conversely, an adverse payment history indicates potential troubles ahead. A reputable pool builder should readily provide their Dun & Bradstreet report.
A pool builder hires a subcontractor to work on your pool but is not an employee. This could be a plumber, laborer, electrician, or gunite shooter. Any accidents or injuries involving these workers on your property could lead to liabilities.
Workers’ Compensation insurance helps cover the subcontractor's lost wages, protecting you from paying out of pocket. A General Liability policy protects against lawsuits and other liabilities related to these workers. Choosing an inexperienced pool builder who lacks these policies puts you at risk. Opting for a professional pool builder ensures they have both types of coverage, safeguarding you from potential liabilities.
Observe their response when you pose this query. If they seem uncomfortable or uneasy, searching for a different builder may be wise. Similarly, if they respond with "I'll provide you
with a copy" or show you a document from their bag, it is recommended to seek another builder. It is easy for anyone to modify the dates on an expired policy, which is why the insurance certificate should be obtained directly from the insurance company. A reputable pool builder will
readily provide you with the contact information for their insurance company.
To verify their expertise and the quality of their work. Additionally, consider asking for
recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors who have recently had a pool built. Gathering as much information as possible will help you make an informed decision and ensure
your pool is built by a skilled and experienced professional.
In any location, pool builders may encounter rocky terrain while digging. They have different ways of dealing with this situation. Some may request additional payment to compensate for unforeseen challenges, while others offer a rock clause or insurance policy to safeguard against unexpected expenses. Another option is a rock allowance, where extra costs are incurred if heavy equipment is required for digging beyond the budget.
There is no right or wrong approach, but clarity in the contract is critical. Understanding and being comfortable with the agreement regarding rock, water, electrical work, etc., is essential.
To ensure a pool company's false advertisement is not tricking you, ask about the possibility of a "Bait & Switch" when they quote you a price for a swimming pool via various channels. Remember, numerous factors influence the actual cost of a collection. A reputable pool builder will always conduct a yard survey and create a tailored design for your yard before providing a quote. Avoid any pool builder that resorts to the unethical practice of luring you in at a low price only to change it later.
This is crucial! A homeowner's worst nightmare when purchasing a pool is paying a large portion of the cost, only for the builder to disappear after completing only a fraction of the work. Unfortunately, these dishonest individuals tend to leave their subcontractors unpaid, resulting in them seeking payment from the homeowner.
A lien waiver proves that suppliers and subcontractors have been paid, ensuring they have no
claim against your property. Once your pool is finished, it is essential to have lien waivers from all vendors and subcontractors to avoid any double payments. A reliable pool builder will readily provide lien waivers for all materials and work used on your pool – without hesitation.