Well.... I think I may hold the record for the shortest owner/builder project in history.
I am a Tennessee gal newly transfered here and have been properly introduced to the Mississippi Good Ole' boys, "You can't swim in our pool" network! I live in a suburb area outside Jackson, Mississippi and after getting several pool quotes decided the cost to build a pool here was just not reasonable. I am quoting a freeform pool, No frills, No spa, no waterfall. About 745 sq. foot. , 100 perimeter ft. , around 34,000 gallons. Nothing fancy other than using salt system, standard equiptment, Standard 4ft. concrete decking. Lot is flat and needs nothing special, Actually it will be an easy build as I live on 3 acre, no fence and tons of rooms. The 4 quotes I have gotten have all been $54,000 -$57,000.
I live in an area that is upscale and I have a nice home and I feel as soon as they drive up they think I am loaded and charge me accordingly. Well, sorry to say I am not as loaded as you may think. Yes I live in a nice home, but that is where we choose to put our investment, and I don't blow money on junk like new cars, clothes etc. I am getting a loan for my pool just like most of you.
Anyway after getting these quotes over and over we decided to look at owner/building. This is only because we do not feel the builders in this area are willing to work for an reasonable profit. (It is not because we are cheap scates, LOL) As I began asking around regarding subs it because evident there are not all that many crews and the subs are scared of the PB's. There is one company that does almost all all of the plaster around here and alot of the rebar/gunite as well. He was willing to work with me (even admitted it would be a lot cheaper!) until he found out I had talked to one of the PB's and then he got scared and said they would in effect "blackball" him if he did my pool.
Also, listen to this. I had found the excavator that many all the PB's use and we contacted him about digging our hole. He said sure and we made an appointment. When he came out here guess what? He brought with him one of the PB's we had had out for an estimate. It was an in your face, "So you think you can go around me" type of thing. It became evident very quickly that the excavator and this PB are in some sort of "Good ole' boys network" and they were letting us know we would meet resistance if we tried to owner/build around here. It really ticks me off, because I don't really WANT to owner/build, I am almost forced to do that because of the inflated prices they are charging in my area. We are talking Mississippi here not California, or somewhere up north where the cost of living is triple what ours is. I dare say half the crews around here are illegals.
Like I said I have had 4 out so far and they are all well over $70.00 a sq. ft. to build a stand pool, with NO frills. In fact this PB that showed up yesterday with the excavator had quoted me over the phone a price of $60.00 a sq. foot to build a gunite pool, then when he came back with the estimate it was over $72.00 a ft. I think when they see where I live they assume (incorrectly) that we are loaded so the price just shoots up. Anyway, at this point I don't know what to do. Surely there are others "outside" this network. But I have to say I called another excavator last night and the first thing he did is refer me to HIS "boy" and it feels like deja vu. You would think in this economy you could find some crews that will respond to CASH in hand. On the other hand you have to be careful who you hire and it may be there are just not many crews that do swimming pools in this area and the PB's have a lock on them.
I have been able to find a plumber and electrician easily, but the concrete/gunite crew is not looking good! There are NOT a lot of pools in my area. Now I know why! It is Hot, hot, hot here and I just could not understand why so few pools. Looks like these "Good ole boys" got a good thing goin' here in central Mississippi, "Let's build fewer pools but charge more money." What's a Tennessee girl to do??? Just venting. Thanks for listening.