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Thread: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

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    Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Have met with a few pool contractors in our area(Cary, NC) and have not found anyone we feel comfortable with. We are doing a mid-side concrete pool, travertine decking, outdoor kitchen and spa. A lot of money and I'm worried about just going with anyone. How did you know who to use?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Welcome to TFP!

    It is important to be comfortable working with and trust your PB. Keep looking until you find one. Check their references and look at pools they have built. It is worth the wait. A pool build with the right builder will be quick and easy. With the wrong builder it can drag on for months and be a beating. Occasionally people even have to fire their PB and hire a new one. Keep searching.
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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: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Ensure you have a detailed contract signed by them also.
    Pool installed 8/2015. 30' round Radiant pool. 21,000 gallons. 200# sand. Hayward Vari flow XL valve. 1.5hp Hayward Power-Flo Matrix running 10 hours/day in two periods. TF100 with speed stir. Sun all day, south side of house
    Order test kit TF-100 w/ Speed Stir and then Poolmath Calculator --- RECOMMENDED LEVELS --- POOL SCHOOL --- Algae? --- Chlorine/CYA CHART.

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Quote Originally Posted by lucas33 View Post
    Have met with a few pool contractors in our area(Cary, NC) and have not found anyone we feel comfortable with. We are doing a mid-side concrete pool, travertine decking, outdoor kitchen and spa. A lot of money and I'm worried about just going with anyone. How did you know who to use?
    References 100%. We had our pool resurfaced and went with someone who did a friend's pool. If I had come in blind he would not have been my first choice but the friend said he performed the work as promised and followed-up as needed. Don't let perosnality guide you, go by results. You don't have to live with the contractor but you will have to live with the pool.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    References, references, references!!!

    A good PB can/should provide you with a list of previous jobs and customers. You call them on your own and ask if you can visit their pool and talk to them. Talking to previous customers is the best way to see the quality of the finished product and to get a good feel for personalities. You want to see recent pool builds AS WELL AS old pools (5+ years out). Any new pool reference will likely still be in the "after-glow" of the experience while an older pool will have had enough time for objectivity to develop and for a view of the PBs long term warranty commitment. All PBs will blow smoke up your bum about how you are their the most amazing customer and how awesome your pool will be....see how that same PB treats customers 5 years out when a plaster crack develops or equipment has gone bad.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    In Texas, Arizona and California we have a ton of pool builders to choose from. In North Carolina not so much. My Pool Builder was doing around 250 pools a year when they built mine.

    I'll expand on the above. You want them in business five or more years. You want to talk to references. You want them writing it in the contract or on the drawings that they sign and not just an oral promise. You want no more than a couple thousand down. Nothing in California. You want them to agree that you don't have to pay the last 10% until after the pool is complete and all the punch list is complete.

    I prefer integrated companies (ones that only use a few subs) but those will be hard for you to find for gunite.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Thank you all for the great advice. I'm having a hard time getting references. I guess I'm looking for references before even calling them. Perhaps I'll have to call them and get their references then?

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    You want no more than a couple thousand down.
    You know of contractors who will accept "a couple thousand down" on a $50,000+ project??
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Almost all of them of them in California will accept no more than $1,000 exclusive of permit costs. Otherwise they are breaking the law. Mine required nothing down. Nothing. Many require payment of only engineering and permit fees.

    If they don't have the capital to get the dig done why should you hire them? Also they usually have mechanic's lien rights while you don't have the right to go after their home if they screw up.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Geebot View Post
    You know of contractors who will accept "a couple thousand down" on a $50,000+ project??
    I refuse to put any money down up front for any project. Any reputable contractor will agree if you tell them to take it or leave it. I've done $75K projects (not a pool) with $0 down. Just did a $25K roof with $0 down. Contractors want you to assume all the risk (the risk is they go out of business after they take your down payment). What happens if you hand them money and suddenly they can't start the job for 3-months? I have always been able to agree to percentage payment based on milestones where they get paid. On a solar panel project I agreed that I would pay for materials once they delivered the solar panels to my house (stuck them in the garage).

    I repeat: No money down up front! Pick something like completion of excavation for their first payment. They will resist and you will feel like you are being a jerk at which point you tell them, "I'm sorry, but I don't work with companies that insist on payment up front. It's nothing personal as you are my first choice for this pool, but it is a principle I always follow. I'm sorry but this is not negotiable."

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Good conversation. Most contractors in central NY I have worked with want 25-50% up front. Some just want materials paid for.
    The biggest contractor I worked with did nothing up front, then 25% as 25% of the job was completed, 50% etc.
    Pool installed 8/2015. 30' round Radiant pool. 21,000 gallons. 200# sand. Hayward Vari flow XL valve. 1.5hp Hayward Power-Flo Matrix running 10 hours/day in two periods. TF100 with speed stir. Sun all day, south side of house
    Order test kit TF-100 w/ Speed Stir and then Poolmath Calculator --- RECOMMENDED LEVELS --- POOL SCHOOL --- Algae? --- Chlorine/CYA CHART.

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Around here nothing down will get you nothing. All the contractors here require money up front.
    Completed April 2016: 22x36 3.5-5.5-4 Inground, 17,500 gallons, Aquapure SWG, Jandy 2hp Variable Speed, Jandy 460 Cartridge Filter, Polaris 280, Aqualink PDA4, Jandy Nichless LED lights, Diamondbrite color Steel Blue, Noche Travertine Coping & Deck

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    If contractors require money up front then back load the payments so the contractor must be totally done and proof of no liens before final payment.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    What gwegan is referring to is called a lien-release. It's basically a proof-of-payment signed by the PB and the sub-contractor stating that all payments for the work performed have been made. It's important because if the PB stiffs a subcontractor, that sub can basically attach a mechanics lien to your home or sue you in court for payment even if you paid the PB. If a potential PB refuses to give you lien-releases then that is a major red flag that they could possibly be playing fast & loose with their finances (i.e., using one job to pay for work done on previous jobs).
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    I know a lot of people use Rising Sun, but I think it is just because so many people know their name. We had people in our neighborhood use them 2 years ago, last year and another using them this year (and I'm sure more as there are a few pools in here). We didn't care for their "we build hundreds per year, you're a number" treatment. It was tough to get some PB to even call back. We eventually decided on Prestige Pools. They quoted us last year, but we held off until the 540 route was solidified as it could have come through our neighborhood. They have been very good at being responsive to our questions via text, email and phone even on weekends. Fingers crossed all turns out well because digging starts tomorrow! 2 friends used them and are very happy with their outcomes although all used gunite and we're going vinyl. 1 friend used Backyard Oasis, but we weren't as happy with how her pool turned out as we were with the other two. Get on some local FB groups and ask for recommendations from those who have built to get reviews without going through the pool company. The three mentioned here have come up the most on groups I'm in. Good luck!
    42x31x20 lagoon shape, vinyl, inground pool. Approx 27,000 gallons. 3.5' to 5.5' depth. Latham natural gray liner, Pentair Tagelus fiberglass sand filter, Pentair Intelliflo pump, auto SWG, 3 LED intellibrite lights. Construction beginning Aug 11, 2016. K-2006C test kit.

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    We went with Rising Sun for our pool. We had good experiences with them, granted it was winter time and they dug in February so may not have been as busy, but never had any issues with quick responses to emails, quote changes, and having them come out a couple times to talk through the design.
    Yes, they won't provide 3D renderings or landscape design. They are a pool installer and its up to you to figure out the rest - although they work will with their preferred sub-contractors so it was a good process overall.
    I though didn't mind since I had spent the past 6 months designing the layout myself, obtaining the 3D CAD models/prints, placing the pool, spray painting the backyard with the pool/deck outlines, etc...
    I feel planning is key, knowing exactly what you want, then sticking to it in order to stay on track and budget and be able to compare apples-to-apples against other builders. Good luck - its good pool weather right now!
    18x30 Freeform In-ground Vinyl Lined. 11,500 gallons.
    4 returns, 2 skimmers, 2 main drains.
    Hayward TriStar 1hp 2-Speed Pump. Hayward S244T Filter.Hayward Goldline Panel + SWG.
    Polaris 280 cleaner. AquaComfort 75k BTU Heatpump
    TF-100

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    Re: Hard time finding pool contractor we want to use

    Thank you! I may reach out to Prestige Pools! Good luck. I look forward to seeing your updates!

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