Identifying a trusted contractor who is properly licensed, shows respect for your property, and does what they say they are going to do (on time and under budget), is no mean feat. We strongly recommend that if you are considering a pool installation you do your homework to vet the company that is going to be bulldozing in your backyard!
Here are our Top Five Tips:
- Leverage the people you know – for a first-hand account of a project’s success, look no further than those who had a pool installed. It may not be a friend or family member, but someone you know may have a neighbor or business associate who can provide feedback on their contractor.
- Make a list – if you’ve never done a construction job of this scope, you will want to understand as much about the process as possible. No question is stupid, it’s your money. If a contractor gives you a difficult time and/or does not provide answers to your satisfaction, you may have just had a glimpse of the first red flag!
- Social media reviews – take these into consideration, but also be wary that people sometimes tend to post negative ones rather than taking the time to sing praises. A former client blowing off steam may only be providing one side of the story. Additionally, some excellent companies may not be particularly good at asking clients for testimonials about a job well done and do not have a strong social media presence. While they are doing themselves a disservice, it does not necessarily mean they don’t have a ton of clients who had a great experience working with them.
- The Internet is of course an encyclopedia of information that provides the foundation for your research. If you have identified some local contractors, start a comparison spreadsheet for each. Note that regulations governing pool construction varies from state to state, but you can protect yourself by collecting some detail on their reputation:
- The Better Business Bureau is a traditional place to start for a summary of customer complaints and their resolution.
- Either obtain the contractor’s license number from them or their website and search your state’s records to ensure it is valid and not expired. For example, in Florida, you can visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and find current licensure details.
- Once you’ve decided on a contractor, obtain estimates in writing, and request a list of recent clients and their contact information. Then call them. The rise of reputation management firms enables disreputable companies to squash negative feedback; nothing beats speaking directly to a former client and doing your own research for the complete story.