Preparing to spend a fortune?

Things to consider when selecting a pool contractor.

With 28 years of hands on experience in the local pool industry I can offer sound advice on most any pool related topic, however I can't make you take it! 
As someone who has personally built hundreds and serviced thousands of pools on the gulf coast I can tell you, poorly done pool projects are like bad concrete work, they're everywhere you look!  I'd be stretching it to say that one in ten projects I've viewed over the years could be called a good job.  I'm not trying to tell you that I'm the best or the only  good pool builder in town,  I 'd  love for you to be the judge of that.  I am telling you that good pool builders are not common and most of the ones you interview if you call around blindly won't measure up.  It's up to you to sort them out.  The facts and opinions I've laid out here are designed to help you separate the men from the boys and ultimately make my job of educating consumers towards a reputable contractor easier. Most people will tire of interviewing contractors after two or three in-house appointments, they will then settle for one of the three even if they spoke to three bad contractors!
The secret is to make your interviews count. Seek out referrals and don't waste your time talking to a contractor who's not highly recommended. This amounts to the fast track to a decision you won't regret. 
Everyone knows someone who either owns a pool or has had one installed. Go out of your way to get some feedback.   Don't settle for a luke warm recommendation. I've seen many projects that owners have spoken well of, all I can say is some people are much too kind.  Perhaps they don't know what a good job looks like or are too ashamed to admit they've been ripped off.  Find a strong, enthusiastic recommendation and follow up with close inspection of said project to insure you’re on the trail of a good builder.

Some people will basically call every contractor in town. Usually their decisions seem to be based more on price than on finding the right contractor.   Two interviews with highly referred contractors should get the job done. If your truly not comfortable with either of them get a third appointment. If after speaking with three reputable contractors price is the issue, you may have unrealistic budget expectations. There is a market for this, It is not the quality market!  When an excessive number of contractors are called out on a project quote, good contractors usually back off.  No one appreciates having their time wasted.  With a little preliminary work you can easily figure out what price range you want to be in and who you need to call to find it.  I personally have no problem quoting price ranges based on a specific size pool over the phone,  I'd rather someone decide If I'm in their price range before we set a precious after hours or weekend appointment. 

Concerning price, you should not pay too much, nor should you pay tool little. Good pool builders are not cheap and cheap pool builders are not good. 

The names of some pool builders or companies have been known to strike fear and words of caution. The names of others invoke pride of ownership and praise. By all means ask around!

Aside from people you may know, an excellent place to pick up a good referral is any pool chemical retailer who does not have anything to do with pool construction. These retailers are as unbiased as you'll find. Pool owners congregate in pool stores. The managers and employees of these establishments often here tales of poorly performing contractors and of the good guys you should be talking to.

There are also many independent pool cleaning and minor service operations on the gulf coast. These owner operators make their living working on pools built by various builders. They don't just hear reports but actually see projects daily.  I don't think you'll find a better source of quality referrals. Speak to several sources and call the contractors who's names come up over and over again! 

Service after the sale is important to every new pool owner.  Choosing the right company will ensure that you get it. Initially you'll rely on your builder to show you the proper operation of your equipment and water chemistry, this brief pool school will give you the confidence to care for your pool without being overwhelmed. A good contractor will be willing to provide some follow up training as you become more familiar with your pool. Good advice is also just a phone call away.

If a warranty problem should arise you'll count on your builder to honor his craftsmanship warranty or to help facilitate the warranty of any equipment used on your project.  Even after warranties expire you will at some point require service.  Who better to help you with your service needs than the company who constructed your pool? 

If a builder can deliver a pleasurable contracting experience it bodes well for all aspects of service after the sale.  If he can't you might be in trouble!  I'm aware of too many projects where the original contractor is not welcome at his project and who's craftsmanship warranty crumbled faster than his prematurely poured concrete decks.

As a contractor genuinely interested in turning out a superior product and leading the way in intelligent pool construction, my practices are often adopted, my products imitated and my original thoughts and writings sometimes used by competitors. 

Please remember you saw it here first!

Keith's Quality Pools
Keith Reynolds

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