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Thread: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

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    Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    Just wondering what everyones overall experience was when negotiating price. Did you pay full price or get the builder to come down? If so how much and what did it take (comparing other quotes, warranty, etc?) Curious how much wiggle room these builders have in their pricing.

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    Hi Erik! I interviewed 6 PBs and told them all upfront to set competitive expectations. However, I only negotiated with 3 of them and quickly dropped one (which I like a lot) due to a high proposal and unwillingness to negotiate. I had one PB give significant discounts, but the pool was marked up to begin with so you have to take that into consideration. At the end, I narrowed it down to 2 PBs and told them both they were competing for my business. I gave them both detailed instructions to make the two pools as similar as possible so I could do an accurate comparison. Then I decided on the PB that I liked the most and was honest with him about the discounted pricing I received from the other PB. He matched that price and I signed the contract. I am glad I chose them so far as I signed the contract last week and have already made a few changes.

    To answer your questions, yes, they all seemed willing to negotiate, but some will more than others based on how much the pool was already marked up.

    You will want to do some research on the PBs you choose to work with including checking referrals and BBB rating.

    Good luck!
    Build is Done!: 18'x40' diving pool, depth 3'6" x 9', 104' perimeter, ~24k gallons, spa (6 jets), raised wall (3 scuppers), tanning ledge, Pentair IntelliFlo 3050 VS+SVRS, Pentair Clean & Clear 520 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 BTU heater, Polaris QT 1.5 HP blower, Pentair Intellichlor IC60 SWG, IntelliBrite 5G lights, Pentair EasyTouch 8 with Screenlogic2, 504 sq ft Roman Slate textured deck, Aqua Blue StoneScapes finish

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    Absolutely check their BBB rating. I had 1 PB that was 17,000 more then the lowest bidder. Yes, everything was top of the line, but some items I thought was really unnecessary. Do your homework.
    20X36 IG vinyl (18,000 gal), 3 sheer descents, Max-Flo 1.5hp VS 2300, Aquarite T15 SWG, C3030 filter, 250,000 BTU heater, Sharkvac XL (Hayward equip)

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    Vegas Kid's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    Always room for negotiating and I think it's expected on both sides.

    I actually had the PB remove a few things which I felt weren't that important which helped with negotiating.

    In the end I picked a more expensive PB, but the "comfort" factor was the most important to me.

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    I agree with the other posters. We started with 5 PBs and they really varied on how much they were willing to negotiate. One was very corporate in feel and negotiations were useless. OTH, one was very new and was willing to negotiate anything and everything. That also was a red flag for me. In the end, we choose a PB that made some adjustments to pricing and that I felt really listened to our concerns about budget, etc. I put more weight on the PB's ability to understand what we wanted and what our limitations were.
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    As a builder I am not interested in negotiating. I am the salesman, builder, and everything in between. I usually will only have one build going at a time so my attention to detail and getting it right the first time are very important to me. My past customers usually get me my future business. If you want me to discount the price generally that means giving up quality and I will pass on the project because of that. Bear that in mind as you are negotiating.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    My take on it is, if there's room for negotiating, they were trying to screw me in the first place.

    I took the same stand when I had a tree removed. First quote was 6500, second was 4k, third was 2k. First guy called me back two or three times. Stating he'd match others prices, etc...I told him to pound sand on principle. Comical part of that story is the 2k guy was recommended to me by two separate parties that didn't know each other. I went with him and he did a fantastic job, didn't even drop a piece on my house!

    I'm perfectly fine with someone making a FAIR profit, but milking me for thrills is not allowed.
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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    MiaOKC's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    I guess you could call our experience a negotiation but it wasn't what I'd usually think of as that term. For us, we got several different quotes over the course of months (because we couldn't get PBs out to quote, they are all really busy here and supply is low) and as the time passed, the scope of our project was refined from quote to quote. So they weren't apples-to-apples comparisons. However, I did extract the main items on our list (decking was so much at so many feet, for instance) and try to standardize them a little to get a feel for how they compared to each other. There were two that were similarly priced. Then we decided which PB we connected with the best, had the best rapport and understanding with, and the one who actually seemed interested in our business (follow up call/email/text a time or two over the course of a few months - low-pressure but enough for us to know he wanted to work for us) and sat down to discuss price. We went about it in a very above-board and up-front way, which was our PBs attitude too (one of the reasons we liked him), rather than trying to negotiate the two similarly priced PBs against each other. To start, he gave us our Dream List quote, and we worked back from there to see where our budget could meet the list. We told him about other bids we had gotten and a few concerns we had with both the higher and lower bidders, and said we weren't wanting the cheapest deal but wanted the best our budget could accommodate. We gave up things we wanted from the Dream List to come in at the budget we could afford, and PB offered certain discounts to meet our budget, too. I wouldn't have expected him to offer any discounts that he was not comfortable with, nor was I interested in cutting his margin so thin he wasn't interested in doing his best work on our project. We trimmed about 25% of the costs of our Dream List, and PB offered approximately 10% off-season discount.

    For us, it really came down to a combination of personality/business style and shaping the scope of the project to a price we could afford. Having the rapport with the PB has really been important as the challenges in the process have come up - not saying it's all unicorns and rainbows, there have been a few tense moments, but I think it would have been radically worse with some of the PBs we interviewed due to a huge clash of personalities/priorities (like the guy who rescheduled twice, was an hour late when he arrived, forgot his glasses so couldn't read or write anything down for measurements, called our backyard "crappy" and guesstimated a 6 figure overhaul without even asking what we wanted. Never got a quote from him, and I'm not sorry.) Funny aside, I got an email last week following up from a national franchise PB I'd requested to come give an estimate 8 months ago, asking if we were interested in him coming out to bid our project. Um, no.
    35,000 gallon gunite pool, semi-T-shaped, 29x15 shallow end and 16x22 deep end, built in the mid-1970s and renovated 2013-2014 // Polaris 9300 Sport robotic cleaner // Taylor K-2006 ... Learning as we go and so grateful to everyone here for their help! Our reno thread

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    Re: Pool Price Negotiating - What Was Your Experience?

    For swimcmp, not everyone bids like you do - I wish they did...
    For this construction (like other non-pool stuff I've done) I get enough bids to be sure I understand what the price should be. In my experience it is not impossible to have someone bid as much as twice the price of the low cost guy. In general those are also they guys who come back and agree to a big discount. The other tactic I despise are the guys who quote a price but then offer a discount that is only good if you sign then and there. For me those words are the last I need to hear - they can leave now, no need to leave a quote. Come to think of it... in general any time I have gone with a guy who agreed to a big discount from their initial quote I've been sorry to some degree. I've only done that a few times and may not do it any more.

    Back to the pool... I did have quotes within 10% on parts of it (eg plaster work) and the higher priced guy had better references. The higher priced guy didn't even blink when I mentioned the lower price - he just said fine I can match that, and I shook his hand. One thing I learned btw - around here the PB's often sub out the decking work and mark it up. I contracted my paver work directly. Also notable on pavers - the discount schedule to the contractors can vary a LOT, with the higher volume guys paying substantially less for the same materials. I found a guy who was willing to work with me on that - he ordered it and it was invoiced at his discount, but I paid COD for everything direct to the suppliers. That turned into a pretty big savings for me over turnkey.
    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

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