Pool contractors had a disproportionate amount of complaints on review sites in 2016.
To avoid adding to that statistic, here are some tips for finding a trusted pool contractor.
Swimming pool contractors: Look in the right place
To find a trusted pool contractor, you have to know where to look. So, the first step is making sure you’re looking in the right place. This guide spells out the steps you can take to vet a swimming pool contractors. However, there is a faster, easier, and free way of doing it. Try HomeAdvisor ProFinder, a free service that puts you in touch with vetted professionals in your area.
Referrals swimming pool contractors
As with most things, personal referrals are almost always the best place to start. You’ll get honest opinions from people who have firsthand experience with a pool contractor. This will make it easier for you to narrow down your options and find the best person (or people) for the job.
Chat with friends, family members, neighbors, and even online community groups to find personal referrals. Ask them about their experience with their pool contractor to get a better idea of what you should look for.
Other than the obvious question of who they worked with, ask questions such as:
- How did you find them?
- How long did it take them to do the job?
- Were they easy to work with?
- What kind of issues did you have with them, if any?
- What did you like the most about them?
- How did they handle unexpected challenges?
- If you had to do it all over again, what would you have them do differently?
- Would you use them again?
Swimming pool contractors reviews
Online review sites can be extremely useful. Read through both positive and negative reviews to figure out the overall opinion of a contractor.
Consumer protection lawyer, Jesse Klaproth (Klaproth Law, PLLC), says, “After you have narrowed down contractors, perform a Google search to see if the contractor has been sued or if there is any negative information about the contractor on the internet.”
It’s helpful to know whether or not a contractor has had any legal issues in the past, and how those issues were resolved. A quick internet search will pull up any major problems consumers have had with a particular contractor in the past.
Ask the swimming pool contractor the right questions
A contract can be your best protection when hiring a pool contractor. It can also be your worst nightmare if you aren’t sure what to look for. And if you don’t ask the right questions, you could end up with the wrong contractor.
That’s why it’s crucial that you ask every pool contractor about these important contract details before making your decision.
Swimming pool contractors Insurance details
Klaproth says that “many contractors list ‘fully-insured’ on websites and in advertising materials, but often do not carry the proper insurance or have allowed it to lapse.”
He suggests asking for proof that a contractor has worker’s compensation and liability insurance. If a contractor is not insured, your home insurance might not cover any injuries or other mishaps. This could land you in legal hot water.
Swimming pool contractors licensing
Is the contractor you want to hire licensed to work in your state? Even if a contractor often completes jobs in your area, it doesn’t mean that they have the proper licensure. In Klaproth’s opinion, it never hurts to ask for proof.
Making copies of all insurance and licensing documents is never a bad idea either (or snap a photo with your phone). If it does come down to a legal battle, you’ll have what you need to prove that the contractor you hired claimed that they were insured and licensed.
Swimming pool contractors permits
Some cities and towns require special permits before any construction work.
It’s important to “make sure that the contractor agrees to obtain all necessary permits to perform the work. If the contractor fails to obtain the permits, the homeowner can be fined or it can cause problems in the future when you try to sell your home,” Klaproth states.
Aside from the other pool warranties, you should get, it’s important to find a contractor that offers a workmanship warranty. Mistakes happen, and you don’t want to have to pay the price for it (literally).
This warranty is beneficial if something gets overlooked or someone makes a mistake during the installation. It usually covers plumbing leaks, leaks in the pool fittings, and structural settlement.
It’s important to find a contractor who offers a warranty longer than one year. That’s because most of these problems typically don’t appear until at least one year after installation. So, if your contractor only offers a one-year warranty, you’ll be stuck with the repair costs.
If a contractor doesn’t offer a warranty on the installation job, it might be worth it to cancel that name off your list.
Swimming pool contractors: Contract red flags
Most homeowners are unaware that contractors sometimes use various company names. This often happens if one person in a company is insured or licensed, but the workers are not.
Klaproth says, “Make sure the name on the contractor’s license and insurance match the name on the contract. Contractors often set up different LLCs and do business under different names.”
He also notes that you should be wary of paying for any pool in full upfront, adding that most contractors ask for three payment installments. When you pay those installments, “always pay by check or credit card to create a paper trail and to avoid any potential tax issues,” he says.
Even though it can be tempting to pay with cash to get a better deal, you won’t have any record of payments or withdrawals if you do go the cash route.
Make sure everything is in writing
The good news is that there are lots of pool contractors. The bad news is that you have to be careful about who you hire.
It’s important to “make sure everything you agree to is in writing and in the contract. Make sure the contractor signs the contract so there is no dispute later as to the original contract. If the contractor refuses to put something you agreed to in writing and sign the document, that is a big red flag that they may be untrustworthy,” Klaproth concludes.
Every situation is unique. The contractor that your neighbor hired and loved may not be a good fit for you. Read contracts carefully, ask to see proof of licensure and insurance, and look for any warning flags (like refusal to sign a contract or past legal issues).
How to pay for your pool installation
The average cost of an in-ground pool installation is $45,280, according to HomeAdvisor. However, you could end up spending significantly less or significantly more. The total cost depends on the type of pool you choose.
Regardless of the price, though, most people don’t have the funds to cover the costs upfront. That’s where swimming pool financing comes into play.
One of the best ways to finance the cost of your swimming pool is through a personal loan. Use SuperMoney’s loan offer engine to receive personalized loan offers from leading lenders.
Then, compare the details of each lender on our personal loans reviews page.
Harriet writes mostly about technology and finance. She has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Success Magazine, in addition to SuperMoney.