You have finally decided that you are going to take the plunge (that's a swimming pool pun!) and build a pool in your backyard. You now come face to face with the toughest part of the pool building process. That is, how do you go about sorting out all those pool builders and picking the right one? Here are some tips to help you get organized, and that I hope will assist you in becoming a happy pool owner in the near future.
1. Find some pool builders and review their Web sites. You can find the largest swimming pool builders, with information about their companies and links to their Web sites, here. Look for the styles and designs that appeal to you. Pick out a few pool builders and contact them for an appointment.
2. Make sure the dealer has a CSP Certified Service Professional on staff (the designation cannot be awarded to a company). The National Spa & Pool Institute trains, tests and retests pool service technicians before certifying them as service professionals and designating them as CSP Certified Service Professionals.
3. Ask the pool builder for a list of customer references. Contact those people and ask them how they felt about the entire pool building process, before and after the sale.
4. If the salesperson makes any promises or claims affecting the purchase, construction or warranty of the pool, get it in writing.5. Don't rush into your decision. Comparison shop. Get bids from competitor companies.
6. Visit the pool company's office or showroom. Do the employees seem knowledgeable and professional? You will probably be dealing with these people, and, if any problem arises, these are the people who will be handling the issue. Do you get a good feeling from them?
7. Read all the written materials that are provided to you. Don't sign any proposals or contracts until you are sure about the deal.
8. Before contracting with a pool company, check to see that they are licensed with the Registrar of Contractors. Review their complaint record with this agency. Also check the pool builder through the Better Business Bureau. At the BBB Web site it indicates that, "To have a 'Satisfactory Record' with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct."
9. According to the Better Business Bureau, a contract which has been signed by the customer is not binding on the pool company until signed by an officer of the firm, and its terms are subject to change. The BBB further advises that, "potential customers should be aware that, if they sign a contract at the builder's place of business but do not finance the pool, there may be no rescission or three-day cooling off period. The finance contract has a 3 day rescission clause, but this does not affect the pool contract. Therefore, customers wishing to cancel the contract may have to pay a penalty of up to $1,500."
10. Beware of any swimming pool contractor who requires a substantial down payment, or who wants high percentages of the contract paid before much work has been done. The Registrar of Contractors provides some standards for payment at their Web site.