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Thread: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

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    Kpag's Avatar
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    Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Is this just my personal experience? The pool builders I have dealt with getting bids seem to overpromise, underdeliver and fail to communicate. They will say "you'll have this quote within 24 to 48 hours" and many days later you're still waiting. Some we have never heard back from. I know this is the worst time to be getting quotes, but it's getting a little annoying. We are just doing a remodel but need gunite and are using travertine and glass waterline tile. Maybe it's just a low margin job to them, but I don't like having to hound people to spend five figures with them! Harumph!!
    IG ~12000 gallon 1988 freeform pool with IG spa, Hayward equip, Ecostar pump. Remodel done: NPT Arctic 1x2 tile in Lagoon w/ gray thinset & Light Pewter grout, French Gray PebbleSheen w/ grey fittings, Leuders buff eased edge limestone coping w/ Light Buff mortar, buff mastic

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    This time of year they are really busy and most are doing 50 things at once... I know exactly what you are saying, you would think they could atleast use a calendar...
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    I'm assuming that we haven't heard back from a few contractors (not just PB's) because the job might not have been particularly easy. If someone has 50 potential projects to work on, why not dismiss the ones that might take too much time and/or might not be as profitable?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    I experienced the same thing, i am sure they are making judgement calls on where to put there time based on the probability that you will use them and the profit they will make on the job.
    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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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    One of my frustrations when building our pool was never knowing who was going to show up and when. And even if we were told, it often didn't happen. That includes the biggies like the digging, the gunite, and the plaster.

    I just had the upstairs bathroom repaired, remodeled, updated (after 27 years) and felt like I was in heaven, because I always knew when subs were coming (usually within a 30 minute window) and what they would be doing. I always had the contractor's ear if there were questions or language barriers with the subs.

    At first it rankled me that all those things were so difficult with the pool build. Then it dawned on me (yes, I'm slow) that pool builders can take advantage of the fact they don't need to get into the house. They have access to the work site. Still, I've heard with some PB's the communication isn't always bad. And I did survive the pool build.

    I think with a lot of the experienced builders, they are after the big exciting jobs. After I got to know my PB better, he more or less admitted that the grander and more innovative the design, the further he was willing to drive. I guess in a way, I can see his point. But who's taking care of us 'little guys'?

    Just know you're not alone! I agree..... 5 figures should get you more attention....

    Keep us posted!
    Suz
    Suz~Cypress area~ 2015 pool build. 23K gallons. IG swcg system. 35'x18'; 573sf; 104' perim; depth 4'-7'. Bubblers, sheer descents, 7' spa. Jandy: color LEDs; 2HP 2sp pump; 1HP 2sp pump; spa pump; 580 cartridge; 400K BTU; Dolphin M500; PS8; Inline chlorinator not used; Aqua Pure 1400. Blue Granite Sheen. Travertine deck. Lightstreams Peacock Blue TF-100, K-1766, SpeedStir

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    Kpag's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    It's just so strange: a business where most of the businesses AREN'T run like businesses.
    IG ~12000 gallon 1988 freeform pool with IG spa, Hayward equip, Ecostar pump. Remodel done: NPT Arctic 1x2 tile in Lagoon w/ gray thinset & Light Pewter grout, French Gray PebbleSheen w/ grey fittings, Leuders buff eased edge limestone coping w/ Light Buff mortar, buff mastic

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    I had one PB contact a full 2 months after he was supposed to, and prefaced the email saying - "As discussed, I am connecting back with you after the holidays..." Immediate delete. I dont mind someone telling me that they goofed up and forgot / got busy with other stuff, etc. But please do not insult your customers intelligence.

    A second PB - I had to push and prod. He promised great things in terms of design but was terribly basic- wasn't worth the wait at all.

    A third PB gave a one page proposal with a price quote of 99,990.00 - zero details about anything.

    A fourth spent 2 hours discussing a bunch of stuff and I never heard back from him - ever.

    I had two great bids - one from whom I eventually went with ( Oleary Pools) and the second was a company in Tomball. Both of them were really good and other TFP members had used them. I decided with O'Leary because he was local and the other company was not comfortable with a salt pool. I think selecting a local company was beneficial - PB stopped by nearly every day.

    Kpag - I was kinda missing the car dealer experience
    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    The answer in 3 words "because they can". As the consumer we are stuck, if you think yelling helps, think again, you just get labeled as a problem customer. I think it's just the construction industry in general, after all what are you really going to do, write a bad yelp review? They will still get business unless their feedback is beyond horrible. I often think how funny this is. If I didn't call my customers back until they had left 3-4 voicemail over a couple weeks or did not do what I was contracted to do I would I would lose my job at some point really quickly. Having remodeled my entire house, inside and out over the past 17 years and dealt with all the trades imaginable I can tell you it's par for the course at least in California where there is so much business they really don't need referral business.
    33x19, 3'4"-5'6", 7ft spa, baja reef, 14'x9', 18" deep, 10,668 Gal. Quartzite coping, Stonescape Tropics Blue mini-pebble, abalone & glass beads. Jandy Equip.(JXi heater, 2.7HPVS pump, PLC1400 SWG, CV580 filter, Aqualink, LEDs)
    TF-100, Doheny Discovery robot.

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kpag View Post
    Is this just my personal experience? The pool builders I have dealt with getting bids seem to overpromise, underdeliver and fail to communicate. They will say "you'll have this quote within 24 to 48 hours" and many days later you're still waiting. Some we have never heard back from. I know this is the worst time to be getting quotes, but it's getting a little annoying. We are just doing a remodel but need gunite and are using travertine and glass waterline tile. Maybe it's just a low margin job to them, but I don't like having to hound people to spend five figures with them! Harumph!!
    Classic problem with all contractors since Noah, probably. They sell with every intention of following through but then the realities of life settle in and they have to juggle crews between jobs and deal with weather delays, long waits for materials, etc. You aren't the only customer squawking; they're all upset about not being the priority. It'll be a faded memory soon enough, so don't get bent out of shape about it.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    As the consumers we have the some power over the contractor.
    Every licensed contractor is required to submit a bond to the licensing board and that bond is accessible to us (the consumers) in case the contractor is not following through.

    If they are late, none responsive you can ask to get the money in the contractor’s bond and finish the job with a different one.
    You will be surprised how fast the contractor will finish the job once a claim has been made, they don't want to lose their license or/and their money.

    Here in CA the amount is 15K$, so as long as you make sure you pay after the fact and you make sure your payments are in line with the amount of work they do, you should be safe.

    To check the bond in your state you can go here:
    Contractor Bonding - SuretyBonds.com
    Our Build 2016 14.5' x 26' IG Pebble, 14.5K Gal. 3.5' - 6.5' deep, 5 returns, 2 Skimmers, Hayward VS pump, Hayward 525 Cartridge Filter, Hayward E-Command 4, Heliocol Solar, Hayward LED Light, Paramount Ultraviolet, Polaris 280, AquaRite Pro, T-CELL-15, Sense and Dispense (HL-CHEM), Ph Dispense System (AQL-CHEM3) , Taylor K-2006 with SpeedStir

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaniv View Post
    As the consumers we have the some power over the contractor.
    Every licensed contractor is required to submit a bond to the licensing board and that bond is accessible to us (the consumers) in case the contractor is not following through.

    If they are late, none responsive you can ask to get the money in the contractor’s bond and finish the job with a different one.
    You will be surprised how fast the contractor will finish the job once a claim has been made, they don't want to lose their license or/and their money.

    Here in CA the amount is 15K$, so as long as you make sure you pay after the fact and you make sure your payments are in line with the amount of work they do, you should be safe.

    To check the bond in your state you can go here:
    Contractor Bonding - SuretyBonds.com
    Not to take this off topic, but I think this would be helpful for people on the TFP,. The surety bond company will not really do anything without the contractor being cited by the CSLB for violations and most likely a civil judgment. Even if the CSLB investigates and cites the contractor, the surety company can and most do deny the claim. So your real recourse is filing a civil suit against the contractor and surety company. This is what I do for a living. I am going through this now with my deck, our atty told us we would win based on the issues with our deck but it's will cost $15-$20k for litigation and experts unless we are able to settle out of court. Not saying you may not get a Surety company to pay out on a bond, but it's going to likely be a situation where people could be seriously injured or killed as a result of the work, not like in my case where we have our entire deck cracking after 3 months. I working in the insurance/surety industry, I spoke with several of our in-house attys, they said if I were to get the Surety to pay out on my situation with just filing a claim that would be the first they have seen in 20 yrs in CA. I don't want to imply it's never happened but I would not bank on the CSLB and the Surety to resolve the situation. Again, I am in the middle of a major problem now. I have negotiated with my contractor as he also knows what I do and who I have access to. We are pretty much near signing another contract that I drafted. If he will not sign it, I will file suit, it will only cost me about $2k, favors from being in the industry. Your best protection is a solid contract and more importantly a really solid contractor.
    33x19, 3'4"-5'6", 7ft spa, baja reef, 14'x9', 18" deep, 10,668 Gal. Quartzite coping, Stonescape Tropics Blue mini-pebble, abalone & glass beads. Jandy Equip.(JXi heater, 2.7HPVS pump, PLC1400 SWG, CV580 filter, Aqualink, LEDs)
    TF-100, Doheny Discovery robot.

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    Kpag's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    But you two "lucky ducks" live in People's Republic of CA. Contractors aren't licensed in the wild, wild, west called Texas. Isn't that crazy?? Or, Texas peeps, am I misinformed? You do have to be licensed to braid hair but not to build a house, put on a roof or build a pool.

    I guess it makes me feel better that we are all being treated poorly. I thought maybe it was because I am a female and they thought I get quotes for FUN.
    IG ~12000 gallon 1988 freeform pool with IG spa, Hayward equip, Ecostar pump. Remodel done: NPT Arctic 1x2 tile in Lagoon w/ gray thinset & Light Pewter grout, French Gray PebbleSheen w/ grey fittings, Leuders buff eased edge limestone coping w/ Light Buff mortar, buff mastic

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kpag View Post
    But you two "lucky ducks" live in People's Republic of CA. Contractors aren't licensed in the wild, wild, west called Texas. Isn't that crazy?? Or, Texas peeps, am I misinformed? You do have to be licensed to braid hair but not to build a house, put on a roof or build a pool.

    I guess it makes me feel better that we are all being treated poorly. I thought maybe it was because I am a female and they thought I get quotes for FUN.
    Read my pool build thread if you want to know what being treated poorly is like
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by ummgood View Post
    Read my pool build thread if you want to know what being treated poorly is like
    Geez.. I might not have built my pool if I had read your thread before starting mine. I sent you a PM.. I think your girlfriend went to work for my pool builder.
    Gunite Pool/Spa, CLI Caribbean blue crystal stone smooth, Pentair 3hp Intellifo VS, Pentair Quad DE Filter, Pentair 400k BTU Heater, KK Prowler 820, Pentair PSL4 controler with Screenlogic wifi, Inline Chlorinator, Pentair 1.5hp Spa Blower, TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir. My 2016 Pool Build

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    There is for sure some good and some bad. We have been lucky to have found a good one we think. He had the design back to me in a day and when I would submit a change he would knock it out. Sometimes working till 9p on the weekends. He has been Johnny on the spot for everything and keeps going above and beyond what we think is normal. In our bid process we experienced some pretty shady companies though and so I can see where some would be toxic

    Brett

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Our PB did an outstanding job. The most important aspect of choosing a contractor for anything is to find someone you can work with and trust. Don't stop getting bids until you find one you like and trust. And when you find them pay them what they are asking. You aren't bidding a price you are bidding a job, the purpose is to find someone who can do the job well for a reasonable price. A good contractor is always worth the money. They aren't cheap and they aren't interested in giving their service away.

    I got one bid for my pool from my neighbor of six years, now 10. We spray painted the ground, drew a few pictures, he gave us a price and we shook hands. No contract. He said he'd be finished in 8 weeks. He was finished in 7-1/2. I wrote him 4 checks. There were a couple of minor issues, all were fixed.

    Same for replacing our geothermal heat pump. I got 3 bids, I only liked one of the people, they were a few thousand more than one and a few thousand less than the other. They did everything they said they would when they said they would.

    We paid too much, in my opinion, for a shower install. My wife liked it, I liked the guy. Install was flawless but for minor issues, all were taken care of.

    Always run from the lowest bidder. Who drives a Yugo?
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    I got one bid for my pool from my neighbor of six years, now 10. We spray painted the ground, drew a few pictures, he gave us a price and we shook hands. No contract. He said he'd be finished in 8 weeks. He was finished in 7-1/2. I wrote him 4 checks. There were a couple of minor issues, all were fixed.
    Helpful for those who live next door to a trustworthy pool contractor. For the other 99.9%, entering into a relationship (on a job that can easily run in excess of $50,000) without a written agreement and clearly defined responsibilities and timetables is a potential nightmare.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    True for sure, but your scenario and his had the same concept in mind - relationship.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Any time during the process of my build that I had a concern or question, I always approached it with a little bit of personal interaction (trying to portray that I'm not just a bothersome customer) and the "compliment sandwich" approach.

    For Instance: "Hey how did the college visits you and your daughter made over the weekend go? I bet she's super excited now! BTW, when were they planning on moving these pipes back another 2 feet so that the equipment pad is tucked around the corner? Also, the coping and tile matched perfectly and the guys did a really great job! Finish line in site...can't wait to get my yard put back together!"

    Seemed to get great response from builder and most importantly, his wife who does the scheduling
    My Build Thread 16' X 33' Freeform 3.5' - 6' depth 8' Round Spa StoneScapes Midnight Blue Mini Pebble Noble Tile - Pietra Lavica (Lipari) Tile Oklahoma Flagstone Philips Hue Color LED's in Light Poles Hayward Tri-Star Hayward Sand Filter Hayward Navigator E-Command 4 control panel w/ remote 725 sqft washed aggregate decking

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Builders: Why Do You Over Promise, Under Deliver and Fail To Communicate?

    Exactly right. The point was not that I got lucky with a PB neighbor, I have neighbors who I don't like too. The point is that I trusted him enough to let him build a pool for us. And it is worth the time and effort to find a PB who you do trust enough to build a pool with no contract, neighbor or otherwise. Even if you wouldn't actually do it. I did have a contract the the geothermal heat pump. I'm not completely crazy.

    Which is not to say that stuff doesn't happen, weather, permits, materials and other delays. But, it is how the PB works through them is what is important. And I will say that mine was bad at responding to emails, I finally decided that he was too busy building pools and stopped sending them. We actually had several delays with the city and the pool would have been done a couple of weeks sooner.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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