We have a large pool built in the 80's (1,075', 55-65K/gal)(we'll find out when we re-fill it). It's been repaired once, probably re-plastered once, and now the flagstone coping (all irregular, jagged-edge, mixed-up colors) is breaking apart underneath - not the stone, but the grouting. Half of the stone lining the spa has already fallen off. The tile is old, ugly, 3x3 with lots of grout lines, and many of them have fallen off. And the pool needs resurfacing. (We bought this house 3 years ago and if I'd known I'd have to do so much to the pool, I wouldn't have offered so much, but que sera...)
I have 2 bids that are nearly the same amount - within a few hundred dollars. One is a medium-sized PB that does commercial pool builds, residential pool builds, and remodels. They come recommended by a good friend. They do not sub out the work - their people are all employees. They have insurance and I'm sure will sign a lien release (not even sure that's necessary). They have a nice website with lots of photos; they came out on time, got me the estimate quickly, and even mailed a real thank-you note after they came out to estimate my work. They have a showroom.
The other is just 2 guys, very local, that have a pool service company but they also do renovation and some feature installs, although they are not technically builders. I got a recommendation from one of my handymen about them. I liked them. They don't have a website but they showed me a few of their pools in a nearby neighborhood. They use subs and said the subs would be insured and would sign lien releases.
Here's what we're having done:
Altima Premium Plaster Teal
Remove existing tile/coping, install new flagstone coping (Ariz. Buckskin) (outside perimeter of pool is around 120', and the flagstone will be quite wide to end up even where they cut out the old flagstone)
Install about 15 deco tiles evenly spaced (these have glass in the middle)
Install trim tile on steps and benches
Replace drain covers and wall fittings
My filter pump decided to die right as I was finalizing the bids so I decided to do an upgrade on the filter too. The one we have now is slightly undersized for the size of the pool.
Pentair Whisperflow 2.0 hp filter pump
Pentair 60 sq. ft. DE filter with multiport valve
The Polaris is fine for now.
All of this comes to right around $20K. I cannot believe how much this stuff has now gone up in price since we built our last pool, but that's another issue.
OK, so my dilemma...The local guy will baby my only light, and rehab it for about $100 (it works now, but it's dim and grungy inside). The bigger company has a disclaimer about lights and basically told me to stick it in a bucket of water and hope for the best after the work is done. Maybe nothing will happen to it, but if something does, it likely has conduit and that will cost me another $1000 to dig out and replace with PVC. I'd rather not have to worry about the light. But of course, there is no guarantee that the other company can do the work without messing it up.
The larger company is obviously going to have more experience in all areas, especially application of plaster, and may have more skilled tradesmen as employees. They get good ratings on Angie's List. On the other hand, the local guys have to keep the customer happy, because they can get a bad reputation that can damage them in the area, but they are hiring subs, so who will take care of my problems after all is said and done? They have no ratings anywhere that I can find. No complaints either, but nothing positive to go on.
I really think either company can get the work done. I just don't know how to evaluate and make the final decision. Can you give me some deciding factors? Thanks in advance. I really need to make the decision and get the work started ASAP. I've been researching and deciding what to do since January. I will put a photo on if I can find one that will fit.