Swimming pools are wonderful, if you do some planning. Avoid a disaster before buying a swimming pool by learning a few simple tips.
Are You Buying a Swimming Pool?
A pool can be very rewarding, but it makes sense to educate yourself before making a decision to invest. Look for companies that have the heart of a teacher…not a pushy salesman. Before you start wading through the internet and scheduling dozens of contractors to come by and give you a free estimate for your swimming pool construction, read these 10 tips before buying a swimming pool and learn what to look for.
1. Shopping for a pool before you have an understanding of your budget.
Swimming pools prices range from the mid $20K to as much as $200K. On average, a swimming pool with nice amenities like bubblers, tanning ledges, and upgrades will cost between $30K-$60K.
2. Not asking the pool builder enough questions.
Do not assume that every builder is going to educate you, or has the ability to do so. The more you understand about the pool construction process, the better buying decisions you will make. Being knowledgeable about what you want helps you and your pool contractor. Do your homework. Your online resources are endless, so use them! Some pool contractors ask you to pull your own electrical and building permits. This is usually because they do not have the appropriate licenses and/or insurance that local codes require. That should raise a red flag. Beware – if you pull the permits, YOU are liable for damages or injuries. For example, if their bobcat runs into your home and collapses a rear corner of it, or if someone gets seriously hurt, you are liable.
3. Analysis paralysis.
This is when you get 10 or more estimates for a swimming pool and then can’t make a decision because all the information jumbles together and confuses you. Do your research and get 3-4 estimates from reputable swimming pool companies. Then make your decision, and go with it.
4. Not checking out the experience level, history, testimonials, or background of a contractor.
What makes them qualified to build a swimming pool? Do they have any certificates or formal training? Consider the saying, “If you think the cost of a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”
All pools are not built equally.
Much of what you don’t see will impact the cost of ownership.
5. Buying a swimming pool based on price alone.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. If you shop for price alone, you are destined to be disappointed. Like most things in life, the bottom line is you get what you pay for. Be on the lookout for the bait & switch tactics some pool companies use.
6. Shopping over the phone for a pool.
Don’t do this. It’s impossible and a huge waste of time. Visit the swimming pool builder or have them come out to your home and provide an estimate. Visiting a contractor’s place of business will tell you a lot about the type of business it is. Also check out their website. See if the pictures they post are stock images or pictures of pools they have built. Hint hint…
7. Assuming swimming pools cost less to build in the wintertime.
The pool industry has seen increases in steel process, concrete shortages, gas increases, and insurance premium hikes. Like most products, pools do not get cheaper as time goes on. Swimming pools will never be less expensive than they are today.
8. Not reading contracts.
It’s important, no imperative, that you understand what you’re getting. If a turn-key project is what you want, make sure all phases are covered. Is electrical, concrete, gravel backfill, and dirt hauling included? Make sure everything is in writing. If something is promised to you verbally, make sure you get it in writing. It is very difficult to cancel a contract after the 3 day rescission period. The contract should protect you and the contractor.
9. Focusing on the aesthetics & not the mechanics of the project.
Swimming pools are custom construction projects that are built by many individual trades, and differentiating pool standards. All pools are not built equally. Much of what you don’t see will impact the cost of ownership. Hydraulic design, flow rates, pipe size, pump and filter types, chemical management systems and many other factors will make a difference in the ability of your swimming pool to stay clean and sanitized. These choices will affect your monthly operational costs, and the amount of time you’ll have to enjoy your pool throughout the season.
10. Not thinking about safety.
Swimming pools can be a great place to relax, exercise, and just enjoy the outdoors. They can also be dangerous. Make sure you know what your city requires for barriers and fencing. More importantly, make sure you protect the ones you love, and protect the ones that cannot protect themselves. Most localities require fences around the perimeter of a pool. It’s common sense and highly recommended even if your city or county regulations don’t require it.