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Thread: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

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    Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    We thought that we could have a pool built for about 28 to 32k. Then came all of the things we did not know would cost extra such as footers for screen enclosure, child fence, bobcat fee, inspection fees, etc. All, adding up to about 5-6k more than planned. We had several quotes come in 36 to 38k and a few well over 40k. Of course the ones that were over 40k claim to be the "quality" builders rather than volume.

    We decided to step back and save some more $ as we were over our budget and finishing the project in time to actually use it much in 2015 was eroding.

    We are now restarting so that we can plan to have it built and be ready for the 2016 season..

    The difficulty I am having is deciding between the so called "quality" builders that are quoting 5-10k more than the the others. There is no guarantee that the extra $ will be trouble free or that the "lower" quality builders will build a pool that isn't trouble free. The "quality" builder will claim that the others are terrible yet they build hundreds of pools and have built thousands over the years and appear to have a good reputation as well. Could it just be the volume helps keep the cost lower? I have noticed that some of the "quality" builders have their own crews rather than sub-contracting. They all generally use the same products.

    Thoughts on helping me navigate this?


    Would also appreciates some ideas on negotiating in this industry. I can't quite figure it out. Some builders have "packages" that seems to already be discounted. Others will say, they will through this and that in. Others list a discount on the quotes and others nothing in writing or verbal...

    Here is a picture of the design. We are probably going to move the AC units and extend the deck over there as well.

    Thank you!!!

    pool-design.jpg

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    When it comes to building or contracting anything, you have to go with your gut in the end. It helps if you can get a reference or two from each builder. If they don't provide a reference, I'd call that a red flag. Call the references provided with your top 2 or 3 choices. Which builder is the most professional? Detailed, itemized bids are a plus. Nothing in writing, even just a bid is unacceptable. You're making a major investment in your life. It's your money.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Negotiate the final price not individual items. Get multiple quotes and tell them what the other builders quoted. Even show them the quote if they ask.

    We managed to get the "quality" builder in our area to within $1000 of the other guys. For that price the quality(in business over 30 yrs and built my aunts pool 25 yrs ago)became worth the extra cost.


    What part of Tampa??


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Moving the AC is going to cost a pretty penny as well It all adds up.

    I agree that you should compare the quotes side by side. Tell them that x company will this for $$ but y company will do that for $$. Do your best to compare apples to apples.

    CALL their references AND go see them! Would they use that company again? What was the company best at? worst at? etc.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Quote Originally Posted by Riddleeagle18 View Post
    Negotiate the final price not individual items. Get multiple quotes and tell them what the other builders quoted. Even show them the quote if they ask.

    We managed to get the "quality" builder in our area to within $1000 of the other guys. For that price the quality(in business over 30 yrs and built my aunts pool 25 yrs ago)became worth the extra cost.


    What part of Tampa??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Land O Lakes

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Too far for my builder. Also ask people what they would do differently.
    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
    Hayward Maxflo VS pump
    Hayward Star-Clear C1200

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Last fall I had 4 bids ranging between 29-36K for our pool. We didn't go ahead with the pool at the time but took it up again this spring and wanted to get some more estimates.

    Received 7 estimates ranging between 36-45K... for the same pool!?

    The only logical reason would be that spring summer is their busy season so they can charge more. If you are resigned to not swimming until 2016 then I'd wait to sept/october and get other bids.

    We've decided to go with an owner build as none of the PB's we dealt with gave us any confidence.

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    We just went through the same process and took a year to make a decision and get our ducks in a row after the the sticker shock. In our location pool builders are slammed right now, there are a lot of people pulling the trigger now that housing prices have had a couple years of positive growth. The players also shrank with many PBs shutting down in the down turn. Also, one of the big PBs here went under taking about a 500k of peoples money and leaving unfinished projects and unpaid subs all over the area. One family had stroked a 100k check and only made it to concrete (and a lien was placed against their house for that because the sub was not payed).

    We chose a builder that had done two pools for people that we knew personally, so that was a big factor as he came personally recommended. He was also very competitive in pricing. A friend did an owner build a couple of years ago and it went well over all. You just have to really be on top of things and do your homework as well as be on site for every major part of the project (a good idea even with a PB). Had the PB we are using not been an option for us, we would have considered an owner build very seriously. Good Luck!
    2015 Freeform shotcrete pool build in FL. RE: New Builder Build in FL, advice/comments please!!

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    I am in Tampa and also having difficulties finding a PB!! I have had 4 quotes with 2 more this week. 2 pb swear by Ozone and the other salt water systems. From what I read here I should go Salt water system.
    In addition last pb trying to get me to go solar!!! I live in 2 story so I will not see them. I just have no experience or find info if they really would be beneficial or should I just get a heat pump. Any guidence would be beneficial. I see solar panels online on craigslist cheap and wonder do they not work and if they do I could buy them a lot cheaper and have someone install them for me. Just question if they work. I also am in sticker shock but antsy to get going and hope 2 find a pb by end of week.

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    We are getting closer to final quotes. Have one for just under 40k, another about 44k and waiting on 3 more, 2 that will likely be on the higher end and 1 that should be around 40k as well. The design has been updated a little as shown below.

    Kaya16, all of my reading and speaking to several owners that have switched to saltwater, it is definately the way to go. I have even heard of pool service companies installing them at their cost because it saves so much on pool chemicals.


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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Just an observation - you might want to remove your name and address off the plan.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Marla, thanks, updated.

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    from my experience on the pool that I am having built now and getting several quotes is that it doesnt really matter who you use becuase they basically use the same people to build the pool. All of the builders in my area use the same people for the gunite, the same people to dig the hole and some of the same concrete people. They also use the same people to do the plumbing. I believe if you let it be known up front that you are looking for quality and tell them that you are extremely picky and they know this going into it you will be fine anyway you go. This is just from my experience here. If you are getting any custom finishes I would suggest asking to see some of the tile guys work or the concrete guys work ahead of time.

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Currentking, i think you are right for the most part. We do have quotes on the way for 2 builder's that have there own employees doing most of the work and sub out little... . They are the more expensive builders and they have told us that upfront

    Matt
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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    that is what i was told here also and after talking to the workers that came out to do the work they say that they do work for the company but also work for the other companies as well. Good luck with your build. It will be a fun rollercoaster!

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    We went with a company for our first pool that does everything in-house. The downside to that is really the accountability. If our current builder, who subcontracts, spies a issue, they deal with the sub to fix it. There is always someone doing a double-check. I didn't see a difference in timing between the two. I can only say that I have felt much more at ease with this build than my last. I agree that references are critical. Talk to someone who just finished and someone who used them 5-10 years ago.

    Building 20x40 free-form pool; pebble sheen, caretaker in floor, swg, intelliflo pump, heater. Sundance 800 spa happily in use. More to come!

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    One if the builders has done 2 on our street with in the last 2 years. Spoke to one of them tonight. . They were happy and have a very nice pool.

    Theur price for screen enclosure is too much though by at least 1500. More to figure out.
    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    If you found someone that will do the enclosure for less tell them. They might meet the price.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    If you found someone that will do the enclosure for less tell them. They might meet the price.

    Kim
    I am definitely planning to do that and if they don't meet it, I will just sub that out myself. The different is about 2k.

    At this point, I am considering a Owner Build. At least researching it.

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    Re: Choosing a builder is so difficult - Tampa, FL

    We're in a similar boat here in the Orlando area. When we bought our house, everyone told us around $25k for a pool to fit our yard, so we saved out that much, but all our bids are hovering around $35-$40k. Not sure what that's all about. It is VERY difficult to compare apples to apples too, because they all have their personal preference and seem to insist on putting those into their bids, regardless of what we've told them. We're leaning heavily toward the pb that gave us the lowest bid, not so much because of price, but because his design is closest to what we actually asked for, and not all padded with things we didn't ask for. But... some of those extras do look enticing once you look into them. It's all so confusing! Good luck!!! I'm going to be watching your build thread closely.

    Oh! I wanted to add one thing after reading your op where you mentioned child fence as an added expense.
    We've been told by several builders that door and window alarms are actually less expensive than the child fence option, but ymmv.

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