The Don'ts of Purchasing a New Pool
THE “DON’TS” OF PURCHASING A NEW POOL
I have been around the pool business now for 43 years. I have seen many pool companies and pool products come and go. I can tell you straight up that it amazes me how many times I have heard the folks tell me they have had a bad experience with another member of the pool industry. Here is my “short” list of “don’ts if you want to receive exactly what you are expecting to get in a new pool purchase.
1. Never buy a pool over the phone: If a pool contractor is too lazy to come to your home to take all factors into consideration that can give you a final purchase price, run away, don’t walk! Why is this so important? In my opinion you are setting yourself up for additional costs, change orders, and frustrations. I can assure you that if the pool guy / gal does not visit your home to do a site review, they will not be fully aware of important things like:
a. How to get the pool excavated.
b. What size equipment to excavate with.
c. Where your utility lines are located (gas, electric, sewer, water, telephone, cable, & sprinkler system). Are any of these lines requiring reroutes? If so, how much more money will they cost to do so?
d. Where are trees and bushes located in the yard that may be in the access or pool area? What trees and bushes do you intend to keep? What is the additional cost to get them removed or the stumps dug up and hauled away.
2. Never give a deposit, no matter how small, using a credit card over the phone. I hear all the time, especially in Houston, Texas area, that folks give these types of deposits and for whatever reason change their mind and never receive their deposits back. Bottom line, it is impossible for a pool builder to give you an exact price on constructing a pool unless he / she looks at the site.
3. Never sign a contract at a business location, always sign in your home. Why? According to the way I have been informed about this subject, your 3 day right of rescission is waived automatically unless the paperwork is performed in your home. You likely will have to forgo receiving any deposits back if the contractor is unscrupulous.
4. Never buy a pool from a contractor that is substantially lower in price from all the other bids you have. Never buy a pool from a contractor that tells you they have “figured out how to provide a quality product at the lowest price”. My experience in the industry tells me that 95% of pool builders are paying the same price for most of the items necessary to construct pools on an “apples to apples” basis. The companies that don’t know how to create budgets, analysis cost, supervise their workers, etc., may be able to offer a better price for a year or two, then most likely they will be gone forever, just like your warranties.
5. Never buy a pool from a contractor that will not disclose to you where he has been in business previously, under what name(s), and the circumstances of them now being in your area. It is unfortunately that there have been numerous pool contractors relocate during the last few years. It is further unfortunate that Texas has been the final destination for most of them. Why? Since Texas does not require pool contractors to be licensed or bondable, it is just too easy to begin new pool businesses here. If you have all the facts in hand about the past business dealings of a transplanted pool contractor, you should be able to research whether they were previously good or bad builders and how they are addressing warranty claims for previous clients in other states if they filed bankruptcy before or after arriving in Texas, etc.
6. Never buy a pool from a contractor that cannot or will not provide you with a Certificate of Insurance, this applies to both General Liability and Worker’s Compensation.
7. Never buy a pool from a contractor that you don’t feel comfortable with one that acts like a used car salesman, that you catch in obvious untruths, wants you to sign today or the special price goes away, or does not present all warranties on the products used to build your pool. Always take the time to read, understand, and ask questions about the contract, warranties, and agreed conditions. Do not accept the old adage that “Nobody reads this stuff” of “it’s all boiler plate items you have read before”. My experience is most contractors, including pool builders, home builders, and home improvements, will provide you only what the contract says what they have to. You want to understand the where, when and how of every situation that may occur.
8. Never buy a pool from a sales person that is too flashy or too homey. You should expect professionalism from the very start to the end of the construction process. It literally starts with them respecting your valuable time and showing up on time for that very first visit.