HOW TO BE THE SMARTEST POOL SHOPPER OUT THERE

 

There are all kinds of pool shoppers out there as well as all kinds of pool builders.  Recently a couple of other guys in the pool industry told me that they have over heard another pool builder in the Houston area repeatedly say that “I want the marriage and divorce with my customers to both happen as soon as possible”.  Sounds like a pretty callused pool builder don’t you think?  It sounds like that guy is treating his customers like ‘a one night stand’ so to speak.  Here are my thoughts on how you avoid being a ‘one night stand’ when purchasing your family a new pool.

I. TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED TO FULLY EDUCATE YOURSELF. 

As the saying goes ‘Information is power’.  This certainly applies to any subject including swimming pools.  A truly educated pool buyer is almost always the ‘happiest’ pool buyer too.  Why you ask?

A. They start their investigative process very early and prior to the swim season.

B. They know in advance the options they want and the options they can afford.

C. They know what they want the end product to look like even before the project starts.

D. The educated pool buyer tends to plan things in advance.

E. Every dollar the educated pool buyer invests on their new pool is done so wisely.

 

II. EDUCATED POOL BUYERS DON’T MAKE PURCHASING DECISIONS ONLY ON THE LOWEST PRICE.

I think we all can admit that price is a big factor but by making a decision solely based on the lowest price is like picking a spouse solely on the basis of how pretty or handsome they look rather than knowing about their character and integrity.  OK you say, what other factors should I consider besides the lowest price?

A. You want to select a pool company that is interested in a forever relationship

with you.  That type of pool company is interested in keeping you happy and

you telling your friends, family, and co-workers that the only pool company

they should consider is your pool company.

B. You want to select a pool company that is as thoughtful of your interests

as much as they are for their own interests.

C. You want to select a pool company that uses long term proven methods

of construction.  You should not expect to be a guinea pig or have to look

over your pool company’s shoulder.

So you ask how does one tell one type of pool builder from the other.  Here’s the way American Fiberglass Pools recommends you ‘vet’ your pool company.

A. Always check references.  Any pool guy that can at least ‘hit his weight ‘ as the old baseball axiom goes should be able to provide 5-6 references of pools built over the course of several years.  If they are a relatively young pool company, chances are they were previously in the construction business, the landscape business, a home builder perhaps.  Have them provide several references from those previous lines of work.

B. Check out the companies you are interested in speaking to at your local Better Business Bureau.  Chances are most of the great pool companies you find will be members and have good ratings of A or A+.

C. Try to narrow your choice of pool builder to only companies that have been in YOUR marketing area for 10 years or more.  This greatly enhances the chances that they are familiar with all aspects of building a pool in your particular soil conditions and the 10 years also shows some long term stability.

D. Always request a Certificate of Insurance, made out to you ideally.  Proof of General Liability and Workers Compensation insurances need to be provided.  Insurance from sub trades will not protect you in every instance.  The insurance MUST  be from the pool builder.

Ask the pool companies for a list of sub-trades that they use.  Ask for payment in full affidavits on every sub-trade that will work on your pool project.  (This makes sure all sub-trades have been paid in full for work on your pool project.)

E. Study in advance which options you will be most interested in.  Perhaps that will be a saltwater system, 4 color LED lights, or maybe additional pool deck that can accommodate a table, chairs, and loungers.

F. Request a quote in advance of an actual visit by a pool company representative.  Of course you should take into consideration that the quote will always be subject to a site review by the pool company.  But, you should know somewhat about whether you can actually afford a pool by requesting a quote first.

G. Investigate various financing outlets.  Again, knowing what your monthly payments will be in advance and having a pre-approval will allow you to be even more desirable to the ‘good guy’ pool companies you have decided to talk to.

H. Schedule the site reviews by the pool companies you have educated yourself about and get the exact quotes on the pool and options you have selected.

I. You finally got there!  Pick out your pool builder taking into consideration all the items above.

How long should this process take if you follow every step?  Perhaps a week to ten days in most cases.  Getting your pool builders to provide as much information to you up front as possible is the way to go!  Good luck!!

Thought of the day:  “This above all: to thine self be true”.

William Shakespeare: Hamlet (Act I, Scene III)

 

 

 

 

RIO BRAVO

RIO BRAVO

 

 

 

63 Responses to “HOW TO BE THE SMARTEST POOL SHOPPER OUT THERE”

  1. T H says:

    Ironically I think I had a guy like you described that built my last pool. I don’t want to bore you or your readers with all that went wrong but suffice to say that I will never ever make the cheapest price be my determining factor on a major purchase again!!

    • wayne says:

      Hey TH, sorry you had such a bad time with your last pool builder. Going with the least expensive price regarding construction projects almost always becomes a regrettable experience. Especially if that cheaper price is drastically less than the other bids you obtain. Unfortunately you had a learning experience.

  2. Gone Fishing Guy says:

    Thanks for the shared insight. I think too many people do not truly check out the contractor they select. After their decision the stuff hits the fan bigtime. I want a pool now! I have followed your blog for months. American Pools has all the right credintials needed to work for me. 44 yrs. in the same business is a great start.
    Call me at 832*******.

    • wayne says:

      You are quite correct sir! We are pleased that you decided to work with us on building your new American Pools model Frio. Hopefully your new home will be completed in November as projected.

  3. Jamie Ward says:

    Sure wish you could let us out here in TV land know who that pool company you referenced is.

    Sure want to avoid that guy!

    • wayne says:

      I think you will know them when you run across them. They have high pressure sales tactics, want you to deposit immediately, and always have just one pool in stock that happens to be the exact pool you are looking at. Needless to say, I think most of us folks that are Texas don’t like this used car salesman approach to selling pools.

  4. marcus says:

    I think I know that pool guy too. Is he up on i45 north?
    I have heard some stories if that’s him.

  5. Tom Freemann says:

    You sure seem to go out of your way to assist & educate people that you do not even know.
    Thank you!
    We are wanting to build our fiber glass pool this fall so that we beat the rush in Jan,/Feb. 2016.
    Question…What makes your pools different from ******* Pools in particular? What type of backfill material do you suggest?

    Our phone is 713-***-****.

    Thanks again!!

    • wayne says:

      Hi Tom, American Pools are 100% fiberglass with no fillers or cores. American Pools are build like tanks, thick fiberglass laminates create a very strong structure. In the Houston metro area will strongly suggest a torpedo sand back fill. This type of back fill will not compress into the clay or black soil over time and create issues. I’m glad that we were able to finally get together 2 weeks ago and that you decided that American Pools would be your pool builder of choice.

  6. Rueben says:

    The pool company that built our pool 4 months ago was a joke. The gunite shell cracked within 30 days of completion. You can’t swim in a pool if it will not hold Water! The pool builder refuses to assist us saying that we needed a bigger retaining wall. Only HE designed the wall and HE built the wall.
    I have read that you do expert witness work related to poorly built pools. Are you interested in coming to San Antonio to help us if we have to file a lawsuit against **** Pools?? If so, you can contact me at 210*******

    • wayne says:

      Always hate to hear about anyone having an issue with a pool builder. I have worked in San Antonio a few times as a pool expert witness. I look forward to meeting you in mid October to do an expert report for you.

  7. Darin M. says:

    What do you think about selecting a pool builder that will not visit your home to do an estimate?

    • wayne says:

      DO NOT buy a pool from a builder who will not come to your home to do a site review in order to provide an exact price. If you do buy from that pool builder, you are setting yourself up for ‘allowances’ to be added to the cost of the pool.

  8. I was not birthed yesterday.... says:

    We almost bought a new pool from a company that had lots of allowances listed on their sales contract. I thought that I would be ‘set up’ to have unforeseen additional expenses by signing the document.

    Is this a normal practice in the pool business?

    If you don’t do this too, you are welcome to call us for a estimate.

    281 ***-****

    • wayne says:

      Glad that you caught onto to this scurrilous tactic before you became another victim. THIS IS NOT a normal practice for the pool business. We thank you for becoming another one of our over 44 years of satisfied clients.

  9. Geoff says:

    Thank you for being so educational.

    You share a lot of important subjects with us.

    • wayne says:

      I enjoy sharing my thoughts on the pool industry with others. After 44 years plus in the business, I still look forward to greeting the day’s work! I much appreciate your kind words.

  10. A.Merrimen says:

    Impressive suggestions. Thank you.
    We live in Spring,TX. We are wanting to be careful during our pool contractor selection process. Everything we have found on American Fiberglass Pools are positive results.
    Please call us @ 281******* so we can meet you and make our decision quickly.

    • wayne says:

      Thanks for joining us here and we look forward to assisting your family upon completion of your new home. You are going to love the Pecos model American Fiberglass Pool.

  11. Dumb & Dumber says:

    We actually met with you back in March.
    I wanted to select your company to build our pool. You were about 9% higher in price than the company we ended up using.
    My worse half wanted to use a slick company that is located in an old used car lot. The sales guy must have been a carry over from the used car outfit.
    We were lied to from the beginning, told they could handle anything that came up, all thru the work on the pool, and after completion when we needed help.
    I really encourage everyone out there thinking about getting a pool NOT to go with the cheapest price on a new pool. Go with the most experienced pool guy and the most professional.

    • wayne says:

      Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with a pool builder. I too wish we had been able to work together back in the spring. Thanks for your insight to have a pool “built by the most experienced pool guy and the most professional”.

  12. A. B. says:

    Wish we had read this last month before signing up to use the pool company we selected. Pools are supposed to be fun but frankly we made a bad call.

    • wayne says:

      Sorry for you too. I know it is easy to get caught up in the ‘fluff’, but you really need to know the background of your pool guy or gal.

  13. Ed R. says:

    A lot has been said previously about not having the cheapest pool guy be your builder. I have to concur. I did just that 6 months ago and will pay for it a long time to come. Yes these guys were fast but now I know their speed made them overlook the details that every project have. They poured the concrete pool deck on top of mud since it had been raining, the pool deck is cracking in a number of places and looks terrible. We have now had 7 leaks in the plumbing to repair, some of the leaks were caused by too little glue being used on the pipe and fittings. The pool light quit working 3 wks. after the pool was built. It was replaced 3 times by the pool builder, it is out again and the builder will not come back. Bottom line I went with the cheapest bid, bought the hype about swimming in 3-5 days and now I’m really stuck!!! Buyer beware ********** Pools.

    • wayne says:

      Gee…sorry for you as well. Bottom line you just cannot get the quality you deserve by going with the cheapest price.

  14. Pauline Haggard says:

    Your company did a wonderful pool project for us back in 2012. When our salt system acted up you had it fixed the next day.

    You were definitely not the least expensive quote we had but your work was detailed and beautiful. Your service is outstanding and we really like that you will answer your cell phone 7 days a week.

    We have recommended American Pools to all our friends. I am very sure that you will build some additional pools thanks to the work you did for us.

    Our thanks to American Pools again!

    • wayne says:

      Hey Pauline, thanks for the breath of fresh air! We certainly appreciate the kind words and please join us again soon!

  15. Bertha says:

    I have heard nice things about you & your company from 2 co-workers. Give me a call please so I can say I have an American Fiberglass Pool too!

    409-***-****

    • wayne says:

      Welcome to our family of American Pools clients! We enjoyed working with y’all and I would like some pics from you when your landscaping is completed.

  16. Dan Gladding says:

    Please give me a call. Our interest is strictly in a fiberglass pool. Particularly your Frio model as we want an 18ft wide pool.

    281*******
    All of our education on pools says that fiberglass is much better than a gun item pool. Your company reputation is sterling.

    • wayne says:

      Welcome very soon to our family of American Pools clients! As soon as your new house has closed by November 4th, we will be ready to get started. Your model Frio American Fiberglass Pool is already completed in our factory and will go to make ready next week.

  17. Josie Hagopian says:

    You built our pool last year and were kind enough to share this topic with us back then, We performed 99% of your suggestions and could not be more pleased with the way our American Fiberglass Pool model San Jacinto turned out.
    We wish all of your fantastic crew continued health and prosperity!

    • wayne says:

      Thanks so much for the kinds words. Please send us a pic of your pool. I do not get to Austin all that often.

  18. Leona B. says:

    What is the latest on swimming pool financing? Has it eased up and if so how much?
    My husband and I both have scores in the 680′s.
    Please call us asap as we really want a fibre glas pool and like everything we have read about your firm.

    512-*******

    Thank you!

    • wayne says:

      We have both secured and unsecured financing programs available for folks with 680 FICO scores. Give me a call for the details.

  19. Patricia Granger . says:

    I believe that it pays to use the most experienced contractor to build anything. Using the lowest price guy will get you every time.

    We used a cheap home builder 26 years ago and learned our life lesson then.

  20. L. Druid . says:

    My wife and I were pleasantly surprised and very pleased that American Pools did such a fantastic job on our pool construction last month. your workers were top notch, especially Henry. I have never seen anyone run machinery like him.

    Thanks for exceeding our wildest expectations on the pool. By the way, you were not the least expensive price we received.

    • wayne says:

      Thanks for the kind recommendation of American Pools. Henry has been with us for 36 years. Everyone just loves his attitude and workmanship.

  21. Ted R. says:

    I have built 4 pools thru the years, 2 of them with American Pools. I must admit that the projects went a whole lot smoother with you folks. I have never selected a pool builder that was the cheapest price.

    • wayne says:

      Hi Ted, you have always been a smart business person in my book. We enjoyed working with you and wish you only the best!

  22. Mark . says:

    We went cheap and really made a big mistake. It will take too long to reference all the issues we had during and after the pool construction. We need help. We need an expert witness to look at our pool and evaluate where we go from hear. We live between San Antonio and Austin.

    • wayne says:

      Sorry to hear you have had issues with your pool construction. Give us a call here at the American Pools factory and we will see is we can be the expert witness you need.

  23. H for HELP! says:

    We went cheap and really made a big mistake. It will take too long to reference all the issues we had during and after the pool construction. We need help. We need an expert witness to look at our pool and evaluate where we go from hear. We live between San Antonio and Austin. If you are interested in assisting us, give us a call at 512*******.

    Thank you

  24. Another Dummy says:

    Thank you for the great suggestions.
    I only wish I had these to follow earlier this year.

    My pool builder was the least expensive quote I had. He told us he could handle any issue and that he did not need to see our yard.

    Big mistake to have believed him. We had problems from the very start that continues to this day.

    He blames the problems on me. They built the pool from start to finish. Never will I build anything based on the lowest bid.

  25. Johnny says:

    Everyone out there please take my advice.
    Do not buy a pool from ********** Pools.
    They will have the least price but the work is absolutely terrible.

  26. Wade Pratchett says:

    We are ready to build a pool. Our education on pool types keeps leading to fiber glass.
    We really like that you actually make the pools and have such longitivity in the pool industry.
    You can call me on my cell phone number most anytime @713-***-****.

    • wayne says:

      We thank you for your interest and the kind words. Your pool is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks.

  27. Gloria says:

    How can some of these pool guys keep leaving their home states with lots of issues and turn up in a new state with another name?

    Seems like there ought to be a law preventing this.

  28. Amad says:

    How do so many of these pool guys keep leaving their home states with lots of issues and turn up in a new state with another name to start ripping off a new group of consumers?

    Seems like there ought to be a law preventing this.

    • wayne says:

      Unfortunately in Texas we have no licensing or bonding necessary if you want to be a pool builder. It is just too easy to leave those problems in other states behind and open up here. Frankly, this is why there currently are so many new pool builders here from California, Florida, and Michigan. How long they stay in business here before returning back home is anyone’s guess. I suggest that you google the name of the owner along with their home state. Some of these guys even use their old name from that state so include that in your search too.

  29. Halle Mims says:

    Just wanted to thank you again for the fantastic work your men did building our Frio diving pool this spring. The best part was the communication during the project. You always answered your phone even on the weekends!

    • wayne says:

      Hey Halle, unless I’m asleep or sitting in someones home talking about our beautiful, affordable, VERY LOW maintenance American Fiberglass Pools, I almost always answer my cell phone. I really do not want our clients to wonder or worry about anything so I encourage them to call me. Our troops enjoyed working for your family and thank you for the very kind compliments.

  30. Judie F. says:

    We were so impressed with all your men during the install of our pool in July. They picked up ALL trash all day long which really made my husband happy. A friend of ours recently built a pool using a different pool contractor. There was no effort made to keep the work area clean during the entire construction. The attention to detail is what made me happy. Henry especially made me feel at ease and it was like he was building HIS pool instead of OUR pool. Thank you American Pools for such a fantastic job!

    • wayne says:

      Hi Judie, we do take pride in keeping out job sites as clean as possible. Everybody loves Henry! Thanks for the kind thoughts and hope your friend was at least happy with the final product when his pool guy was complete.

  31. Lily says:

    We did everything you recommend back in April when we bought our pool. We live in Florida so we could not buy from your company.
    Everything went well on the pool installation and the service after the sale has been excellent.
    Now that you have blogged this topic , no one should be able to say they could not have known how to select a pool builder.

    • wayne says:

      Thanks to you folks in the Sunshine state. Glad to know that your new pool construction went well. Please join us again.

  32. Gordo Escalante says:

    I enjoy the thoughts you share on this blog.
    My wife and I want to build a fiber glas pool this fall.
    Please call me to set a time for an estimate.
    361*******.

    Thank you!

    • wayne says:

      All things are ‘go’ on this end! Your beautiful, affordable, VERY LOW maintenance American Fiberglass Pool model Trinity will start construction next week. I really want a pic of your pool over looking Aransas Bay for our new brochures.