If you’ve decided to invest in a swimming pool this year, you’re not alone. Rising temperatures combined with social distancing concerns have likely contributed to the 50% increase (over 435,000 in 2020 compared to 290,000 in 2019) in those searching for pool contractors on bbb.org.
If you’re planning on building a pool, you’ll be spending tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important that you choose the best contractor possible.
The Better Business Bureau provides the following tips to make sure you’re not left high and dry with a bad pool contractor:
Research and gather information. Search for a contractor’s Business Profile at BBB.org for free information on their history of complaints, verified customer reviews, and see if they are an Accredited Business. BBB Accredited Businesses make a commitment to uphold the BBB’s accreditation standards including: to build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.
Ask for references and ask questions. Ask the contractor for a list of recent local references you may contact. Ask the references about the services performed and their overall experience with the contractor and the quality of the work. Ask if the contractor stuck to the estimated budget and completion date for the project. If possible, inspect the contractor’s work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.
Ask for multiple quotes. You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements. BBB Accredited pool contractors also have a button, which allows you to request a quote from BBB Accredited pool contractors.
Get it in writing. Always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand everything before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates including a timeline, a detailed description of the exact work to be done, any material costs and payment schedule.
Understand your payment schedule. Many pool companies ask you to pay for your pool in payment installments, which may include an initial deposit before work gets started, then additional payments when work reaches certain agreed-upon milestones. Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full up front. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or use a credit card. Paying with a credit card will provide some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.
Ask questions about service and warranty. How do they handle service and warranty calls? Is there staff or a department dedicated solely to service?
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.