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)