Has the heat of the summer got you thinking about investing in a pool? It may be a wise investment, providing relief from the heat, entertainment for your family and may even add some value to your home, but be sure to do your homework before making decisions.
“Like any other home improvement project, consumers need to consider their options,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “Don’t make quick decisions, ask questions and make sure you understand the agreement and contract before signing any paperwork.”
BBB of Central New England advises consumers to consider the following tips before buying a swimming pool:
Determine the Type of Pool. Ask yourself why you want a pool and what is it for? Reasons may range from recreation and entertainment to physical therapy and exercise. Asking yourself these important questions will help you determine the type of pool that is the best fit for you. After you determine its use you can consider if you want above-ground, which are generally less expensive, or an in-ground pool. Space should also be considered when determining what type of pool is best.
Get at Least Three Estimates and Ask for References. Get at least three bids from swimming pool contractors and compare them side-by-side. Be sure each bid includes: the materials being used, the quantity of materials, size of the pool, and the itemized cost. Remember the lowest bid may not always give you the best value for your money. Check out bbb.org for reviews or complaints for swimming pool contractors in your area. Ask your bids for references that you can contact. Ask the references about their experience with the contractor and if they were satisfied with the contractors work.
Check the Contractor’s Credentials. The contractor should be able to provide proof of their license, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. Check with the licensing board to verify the contractor has met all of the licensing requirements for your state. The contractor should have knowledge about zoning, building, and grading requirements for your property. Ask about the other contractors working on the job. Be sure all the subcontractors have obtained the necessary licensing and insurance. Ask if the contractor provides lien waivers. Lien waivers show that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid and will protect you from being liable.
Understand the Costs. When hiring a contractor it’s important to avoid paying the full amount upfront. Some pool builders offer financing through their own lender. Be sure to shop around at multiple lenders for the best terms. Be aware that in-ground pools are more expensive than above-ground pools because of the materials and construction that are involved when building them. Buying a pool comes with additional costs including: putting up a fence, installing a filtration system, installing heating equipment, plus increased taxes and utility bills.
Get Everything in Writing. Take your time reviewing the contract. Before signing the contract be sure to understand all parts of the agreement. The contract should provide details about the pool being built, the start and completion date, the total cost, and the payment schedule. A reputable swimming pool contractor will provide a warranty for their labor and materials and make sure it’s included in the contract.