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Thread: Help me compare my bids please

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    38

    Help me compare my bids please

    I live in Austin and have been considering a pool build for several years. This is a big decision and a big commitment and I want to get it right or not do it at all. My bids are many thousands of dollars apart. Here in Austin all of the builders I have engaged use subs, and I am wondering that if some of the same subs are building for each of the PBs, so why the big difference.

    I know this is a long post, but I have seen y'all help so many that I would love to have your feedback! Thank you in advance.

    Here is the summary...

    PB 1. small builder with 20 pools last year and 10 yrs experience
    nice design. good 6 yr bbb status
    $39,940 base. 42,640 with "spray deck", and quartz pool finish
    $44,040 with 1400$ SWG
    13.6 x 30
    340 sf
    4-5-4 ft deep
    10,710 gal
    80 lf
    548 sq ft decking brushed unless upgraded
    1/2 steel on 10 in center
    8-12" gunite
    4 returns with "bubbler", 1 skimmer ( I will ask for another skimmer)
    sch 40 piping
    6' spa with 6 jets no blower (cool sloped back with arm rests)
    auto filler but connection to supply is extra due to "county requirements"
    all hayward equipment.
    4 channel remote controller
    2 spd pump
    chlorine puck dispenser unless upgraded. he discourages it, but likes copper--no go for me
    cartridge filter with extra set of filters, 325. is that too small?
    250 btu gas heater. is that too small?
    polaris 280 with booster
    flagstone coping.
    2 lights
    3y equip warranty, 1 y on deck elec plumbing and such
    "lifetime" shell

    PB #2 small local with 10 yrs exp and a local office. is and engineer by trade and forgot his tape measure during the consult. measured using footsteps and computer image looks "off"
    very boring design. good bbb with short membership. "certified" builder
    $49,890 ($5800 more than 1)
    14x28
    400sf
    10300gal
    90 lf
    350 sf decking with sundeck 3/8 steel w 16in on center
    pebble or quartz pool finish.
    #4 rebar on 10 in centers
    8 in walls and 10 in floor gunite
    4 returns with bubbler and 2 skimmers
    6" spa with 8 jets and a blower
    schedule 40 piping 2-21/2 in piping
    all hayward equipment
    4 channel remote
    auto filler connected (I think)
    1 hp vs pump
    SWG
    2 led lights
    60 sf cartridge (he calls it different than the other 2, so Im not sure how it compares yet.)
    400 btu gas heater
    aquabot cleaner
    coping choice at 200$ per ton
    3y equip warrantee, 2 y on elec, deck and plumbing and such, "lifetime" shell

    PB#3 Large full service maint and building company with 28 yrs hear in Austin. Offering a 1 year chem and maint contract as a bonus IF I sign by this week. very very detailed drawings provided.
    $56,800 ($6900 more than #2, and $12700 more than #1)!!!!
    18x30
    4-5-4 deep
    410 sf
    16415 gal
    85 lf
    600 sf kool deck decking
    plaster interior
    #4 rebar 9in centers
    min 10 in gunite
    5 returns with bubbler and 2 skimmers
    piping not specified
    7 ft spa with 6 jets and no blower
    all pentair equipment (he thinks its better quality with better local service rep)
    jandy ps4 remote
    filler connected to supply
    2 hp pump. (thinks anything else causes flow problems with the cleaner and doesn't offer benefit)
    rainbow chlorinator
    cartridge 420 with extra set of filters
    400 btu gas heater
    100 watt and 300 watt light
    lueder stone coping
    3y parts and labor on equip, 1 y on elec deck and plumbing
    "lifetime" on shell
    10 yards loam

    one of my BIGGEST dilemmas is SWG or no SWG. I read and hear the stories of SWG damage, but I also hear of the CYA issue with pucks. With our water issues here, I am not interested in pool water exchanges. The PBs dimiss tht this is an issue. I am nervous about simple BBB because of my perception of the labor involved in maintaining with jugs and more jugs daily.

    I plan on living here for a LONG time and I want reliable, efficient, and EFFECTIVE sanitation( the wife has had an organ transplant) with the lowest maint possible. (as if I'm alone) I am not lazy, but I don't want this thing to be an unruly burden, but an enhancement of my, my wifes', and our dogs' (the girls) lifestyle.

    Does anyone have any cautions or stories involving pool users/owners with organ transplants??

    Thanks, Chris
    Built 2012: 14x28' free formed IG gunite with 4 person spa. 11,000gal, Hayward 2 speed Tristar pump, Hayward 420sq ft cartridge filter , auto tablet chlorinator (I use BBB), 250BTU Hayward heater, quartz pebble finish, LED lighting

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Chris, just my 2 cents: When comparing builders, I would provide them what I wanted in my pool (design, options) and have them all bid to that. As long as all close in spec, Hayward vs pentair tends to be very "coke v pepsi" discussion. But overall you should have similar design, size and options. As apples to apples as possible. Then decide based upon quality, reputation (check prev customers) and cost.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Montgomery, TX
    Posts
    176

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    those are really low bids considering they prolly have to jackhammer through limestone in austin. those loook comparable to houston area bids. i'd go with the lowest one if you're happy with the builder and design, equip. they all use illegal immigrant subs, so quality varies little imo.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Broken Arrow, OK (Tulsa)
    Posts
    276

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Our pool was just finished less than 30 days ago, so our experience is still "fresh" enough for comment here:

    -- We initially had the same problem after comparing bids from 5 different builders. We ended up going with the design we liked best and had the other 4 builders rebid. This was the only way we could come close to comparing apples to apples.
    -- I would, if I were to do it over, ask for some sort of late completion discount. Our pool took almost 16 weeks...far longer than we were led to believe (8-10 is what we were told).
    -- Have all your pool builders bid the same type of equipment (not necessarily the same brand). For example, if you want a cartridge filter, have all of them quote a cartridge filter of the same size.
    -- Find out how many full time employees each pool builder has. This will have an impact on their ability to provide support after the pool's been built. It will also affect their ability to finish it on time.
    -- I like that at least one of the bids included automation. From what I can find out, only Pentair provides connectivity with iOS devices (in case you want control from an iPhone or iPad). (Others may correct me if I'm wrong on this one...).

    I'm sure others here will offer more advice....
    16 x 31, Approx. 12,000 Gal Freeform IG pool; Flagstone coping; Quartzscapes Super Blue plaster finish; Tanning ledge w/2 bubblers; 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump, Pentair sand filter; (2) Pentair Intellibrite LEDs w/controller; Easytouch8 w/IC-40 SWG; Salt finish concrete decking.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    38

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Thanks for your replies.

    Does anyone have any comment on the set ups that the builders have recommended? I think they are all very comparable. One of the builders wants to use a smaller filter and heater than the other 2. is that actually big enough? I have asked him to up size those items.

    Salt water or no salt water...blower or no blower??

    Yes there will be a LOT of stone. I have listened to many neighbors' install for weeks at a time.
    Built 2012: 14x28' free formed IG gunite with 4 person spa. 11,000gal, Hayward 2 speed Tristar pump, Hayward 420sq ft cartridge filter , auto tablet chlorinator (I use BBB), 250BTU Hayward heater, quartz pebble finish, LED lighting

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Quote Originally Posted by boston2austin
    Thanks for your replies.

    Does anyone have any comment on the set ups that the builders have recommended? I think they are all very comparable. One of the builders wants to use a smaller filter and heater than the other 2. is that actually big enough? I have asked him to up size those items.

    Salt water or no salt water...blower or no blower??

    Yes there will be a LOT of stone. I have listened to many neighbors' install for weeks at a time.
    We are in the middle of our pool build which is very similar to what you are looking for. Look for the thread. Our cost is 63k but includes all lueders pavers (500 sq ft), patio cover, couple of planters 525 sq ft filter and 400 btu heater. 2hp two speed hayward tristar, pebble sheen. Our lowest bid was 43k for a smaller free form pool and 90k for about the same pool as what we got.

    PB gross margin is probably about 50%.

    I talked to the guys, the actual cost to dig the rock is only about 5K. The gunite is about 135 per yard, 10 yards per truck, around 5 trucks for us (that is cost to pool builder). Labor is obviously more. About 6 guys from 6am to 3pm or so.

    Not sure how much rebar costs. But it was 3 guys for about a day.

    limestone and saltwater just dont mix. The theory is that the salt content in the water is not really that high, but as water splashes it dries out and leaves more and more salt. eventually the salt concentration is high enough to eat away natural stone. If you rinse the stone off regularly that can prevent issues. Our neighbors had oklahoma flag and swg and had to replace all their coping because it got soft.
    17,800 gallon, IG pool, 595 sq feet (17x35x4.5 avg rectangle), Hayward 525 cartridge filter, diamondbrite, 2 hp 2 speed hayward tristar filter, Stenner 45mhp10 automatically chlorinating

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    38

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Met with the builder today. think I'm going to skip the SWG and stick with simple puck chlorinator.

    He has given me the option of OK flag or Texas limestone.

    Skipping the blower because he says the jets he use will not require it. He didn't think i needed any more jets either. He indicated that I do not need 3 in pipe for the spa when using the correct type of spa jets.

    Up sized the filter and left the heater alone. He says it uses the same amount of energy but will take a little bit longer to heat, not worth the $ to get it bigger.

    He had the opportunity to up sell me on several items during our next to final discussion and did not capitalize on it. I hope this is a good indication.

    Time to dig??
    Built 2012: 14x28' free formed IG gunite with 4 person spa. 11,000gal, Hayward 2 speed Tristar pump, Hayward 420sq ft cartridge filter , auto tablet chlorinator (I use BBB), 250BTU Hayward heater, quartz pebble finish, LED lighting

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Help me compare my bids please

    Few thoughts.

    Get the chlorine generator. Pucks will deal you misery over the long haul.

    Like someone else said, spec the pool the same and get them to bid on one spec. Easier to compare that way.
    Think about a wider pool. 13-14 feet wide isnt very big.

    Are you set on gunite? You can build a great looking liner pool for about a third less. Gunite pools are over rated, IMO.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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