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Thread: Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

    So at this point we have now had 3 potential pool builders look at our property and give estimates.

    PB#1 thought that the area was a little tight between the end of the paver patio and begining of retaining wall which is about 26-30 feet from the end of the patio. He recommened a 12-14'x32' pool. He had little concern about the fill used between the house and the retaining wall. He wants to backfill with the dirt we take out of the hole assuming its clean. He owns his own large excavating equipment. A little stand off ish like he kind of wanted the job. IGP business is way down from last year. Middle estimated price, close to PB#2

    PB#2 liked the area and felt doing a 16'x32' pool would be no issue. He had great landscaping ideas and thoughts on incorporating some of our natural stone. Did not think the dirt where we want the pool would be an issue. He was far and away the most excited about the job. He loves the idea of backfilling with stone and gravel. He owns his own smaller excavating equipment and does a lot of work by hand. Seemed very inerested in the job. Just as busy as last year, does about 20 pools a year. Lowest estimated price by a little

    PB#3 is worried about what he is going to find in the area where we want the pool. He said they budget in 10 hours of excavating work and then it is $225 an hour after that. He thought there could be as much as $5,000-$10,000 in additional excavation costs if he doesn't like the fill, the dirt under the fill etc. He doesn't want to backfill with rock. Didn't seem to love the idea of taking the job even though I know for a fact their IGP installation are way down this year. Highest estimate price.

    Now that I'm freaked out about the quality of the fill in the backyard I picked up the phone and called the guy we bought the house from. Everything he did was great work but I wanted to double check. He told me that all the fill from the house to the retaining wall is "good clean fill" and that all the rocks and such were removed, no stumps, no volkswagons etc. He lives 1/4 of a mile from me and is a firefighter who works with and is friends with our next door neighbors who are also firefighters. I see no reason for him to lie to us.

    Here is what I'm guessing each PB was thinking when we talked and please correct any of my assumptions.

    PB#1 has large equipment and putting the pool where we want it will leave less room for him to work with then he prefers. The thinner the pool he can convince us to get the easier the job will be for him. He likes dirt because it is already there and easier then having stone or gravel delivered. He is not interested in doing much work by hand. Doesn't worry as much about excavation time because hes doing it and its his machine.

    PB#2 has smaller equipment so the space is not an issue for him. He has to do some of the work by hand anyway so this job isn't harder then usual. He lives and works in our town and maybe knows the area and soil better? Doesn't worry as much about machine time since he owns it and he's doing the work.

    PB#3 hires excavators with big equipment that cost money. He has had some bad experiences with backfilled yards in newer neghborhoods and expects the worst. Needs to be very carefull about excavation time because anything extra is extra. Bringing in stone is a hastle and added machine time cost so it is more expensive for him to deal with.

    Thoughts? Is it possible PB#1 and #2 have the same fears as #3 but would rather get started and figure out the extra costs later?

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

    One thing I learned about a pool install is expect the worst. Whatever you are currently budgeting, make sure it includes the cost of the potential excess work. If you do that, then you won't have any major surprises if you go with PB1 or 2. My PB told me up front (like your PB3) that the costs he was giving me only included basics excavation and that large boulder removal and such would be extra. Knowing my fill was absolute ****, I factored that cost in, however, my PB was able to move the boulders (tons and tons on them) to other areas that evenutally got filled in. he used creative excavation in my opinion!

    Your best bet with each of the pool builders is to get references and go talk to people that used them. A hesitant PB might be that way because they've seen similar issues countless times and are just trying to prepare you. I always get a bit concerned when someone says "sure, no problem..this is easy" since nothing is ever truly easy!

    I do like the fact that that PB1 and 2 own their equipment and probably do the work themselves. That means that you know who is digging so references from those PB will give you a good idea of their quality. PB3 sounds like he hires crews so is more of a contractor. Perhaps he uses a lot of different crews for his builds and costs can vary widely so that is why he gave you all those extra numbers. I ended up hiring a PB that does his own digging with his own equipment. Something about that made me feel better. Maybe it's mislead comfort but I figure someone that does the digging, surely knows what will be encountered more than someone that doesn't get dirty.
    2012 (late install) 20x40 inground Oasis steel pool with vinyl liner. Pentair DE Filter with Whisper Flow 1HP pump and Pentair 400K BTU heater.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

    Great points mpkelley20. With a pool it is easy to say yes my family would enjoy it. The hard part if trying to put a dollar figure on how much they would enjoy it. If you decide that it would be worth $35,000 to you to have a pool and it ends up costing $50,000 you might not have started the project. You could then cut some corners cost wise like small pool, less concrete etc because you are worried about possible unexpected expenses only to have none and then regret the small pool and small patio. I have the money to pay for the over runs I'm just trying to figure out whether or not I have the desire to pay for the over runs

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Lake Nona, Florida

    Re: Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

    I think you have them figured out correctly. The one who has seen issues with fill before has the battle scars and is warning you. And, they all react to the site based on the equipment they have and the operators/subs they use.

    In our case we were having a third party do some demolition work for us before the PB came in and he gave us a head's up about the fill where we planned to excavate. I still remember his exact words... he called me over to show what he found and said "I'm not telling you what to do... but you want to hire me to dig that out for you. Trust me a pool builder's gonna beat you up bad if he starts diggin and hits that".

    The demo guy I used had some small equipment of his own and he rented a medium size backhoe as part of his bill. It ended up costing me $3000. After it was all done I showed the PB and asked what he would have charged. He said minimum of $6000.
    7500 gal gunite/stonescapes, iAqualink RS-8, Jandy 2HP VS-Flopro, Jandy 200 sqft Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intellichlor IC-40, Zodiac MX-8, Fafco solar panels
    DreamMaker X-500 Spa

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Southlake, TX

    Re: Need a little help trying to understand potential PB

    Getting references and actually talking to them is time-consuming and easy to brush off......given the variety of perspectives you received from the three PB's I would echo what mpkelley20 said and see what their references say about how the approached the projects they did for them. Good luck!
    19' x 37' Freeform IG; 25,500 gallons; max depth 8'6" with diving board; sun bench and swim out shelf. PebbleSheen Blue Granite Finish; Noble Tile--NVSA616 Peacock; Sandstone Retaining Wall; Oklahoma Flagstone Coping, Aggregate Deck; Small Water Feature w/ Moss Rock (70% flats and 30% boulders) Jandy Stealth 2HP Pump and CV460 Filter; AquaCal SQ156 Heat Pump/Chiller; Polaris 380 pressure cleaner w/ Halcyon boost pump.

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