As the hot, humid south Louisiana summer approaches, some homeowners may start looking around to have a pool or spa installed to help beat the heat and make summer more enjoyable. This is no cheap endeavor, as a new pool can cost upward of tens of thousands of dollars. It is crucial to find the right contractor to make the job go quickly and easily.
As with any industry, there are true professionals and craftsmen and there are bad apples looking to make a quick buck. Dishonest contractors leave homeowners with substandard or incomplete work and financial loss. Issues often stem from customer service problems and the failure to complete work or honor warranties.
Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana reminds consumers to check out pool companies before signing a contract.
Start With Trust® Check the business out at bbb.org/acadiana. Remember to contact the business and verify the full name of the sales representative you’re dealing with, the name of the company’s owner, the physical location of the business and phone numbers.
BBB maintains records on both accredited and non-accredited businesses. Either way, you want a business with a satisfactory record. If a company advertises it’s accredited, this is the time to verify that the information is true. There are non-accredited pool contractors who exploit the BBB name and logo in order to gain a consumer’s trust. If you find a business lacks the integrity to tell the truth, it may be time to reconsider using them on the job.
It is also a good idea to review the company’s website and marketing materials. A reputable company won’t limit the ways you can reach them. Be sure to have more than only a first name and a cell phone number for a company contact.
Find out who is doing the actual work and check their licensing status with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at lslbc.louisiana.gov.
BBB offers these additional tips when looking for a pool contractor:
- Look for a pool contractor willing to provide references and find out if the references can be contacted. A former customer who is happy with the work performed usually loves to brag about the contractor and the good job done.
- Obtain several written estimates helps to ensure you’re getting a fair price. Remember, the cheapest bid is not always the best offer. See what types of materials are going to be used and how the materials differ in price and quality from one bid to the next. If you encounter difficulty in getting an estimate from a particular contractor, move on.
- High-pressure sales pitches and scare tactics aren’t acceptable. Don’t feel guilty for refusing the sale if you aren’t comfortable. It’s your money and ultimately you are the one who has to live with the final product.
- Be sure the contract contains a full description of what work will be done, the materials that will be used, a timeline, a payment schedule and details of the contractor’s warranty. Make sure any changes or promises that take place during the job are made in writing. If you find yourself facing a contract that’s confusing, don’t sign it until you understand what it is you are agreeing to.
- Be sure the contract contains provisions for “change orders” and the consumer will be notified of all additional required work, equipment and related expenses before the work is done. This protects the consumers from nasty financial surprises during the course of the job.
- As for payment arrangements, avoid paying in advance and avoid paying in cash. It’s better to pay the contractor by credit card or check. It is standard practice to pay in one-third increments – one third at the start of the job, one third half way through and one third at completion.
- If you finance the project, be cautious of financing offered by the contractor. Compare fees and interest rates of the contractor’s lender to those offered by your bank, as they may offer you a better deal.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 24 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.
BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.