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Thread: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

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    Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    I've got about 4 bids from PBs in the Bay Area, CA area and 3 are fairly similar, within 5-10k. The 4th is about 40k off the mark and way too extravagant.

    My question is how do you chose one from the other. Unfortunately there are not many reviews on yelp for them and some have reviews that are bad. None have complaints on BBB. They all say they can build a better more durable pool than the other.

    How does one go about chosing? Specs are all about the same... Any suggestions? I would rather pay 10k more if they are really more durable but how can you know?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Often gut feel I think. Although to make an informed decision you do not want to only talk to the sales men. Getting out and meeting the supervisors and see some of the pools they have built and talking to previous clients might help. Of course realize that the clients they tell you about are probably the ones that they think will give them the best review.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    SuzfromTexas's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Hi Jacklie!!! So glad you're here! TFP is helping me get through my pool build. It's a terrific forum!

    I had a hard time, also, making the final decision. Before I found TFP, I read a lot on another pool and spa site that is actually part of a garden forum. You can Private Message me if you have trouble finding it. I didn't stay with that site because it was not very busy at the time - could be better now. But what helped me a lot was reading all the archived posts from different pool builders across the country. I found 2 or 3 in the Houston area and really paid attention to their attitudes and extent of knowledge. In fact, that helped so much, I felt torn between 2 of them. I had interviewed 4 PB's, and narrowed it down to those 2. I almost flipped a coin (not the wisest way to make an expensive business decision)! By then I had found TFP and read several experts and moderators say exactly what Jason jblizzle just said - gut feeling. Someone suggested I count one, two, three and see which PB popped out first. I have no regrets. The only downside to our PB is that because he's so good, he's very busy. But I have been very pleased.

    Since I made my decision, I did read or hear of some other very good resources.

    1. Call your local gunite, shotcrete, vinyl, fiberglass companies and ask them. They know!!!! Of course, I realize some may play favoritism, but you have to add all your information together and not listen to just one source of info.
    2. Talk to the person in charge at the different pool tile/stone places. During my selecting tile process, everyone needed to know my pool builder, and then proceeded to tell me how much they liked my PB and why. I realized then that they are a good resource because they also get honest feedback from the pool owners who purchase through them.
    3. It was also suggested to me to visit the local pool supply stores like "Leslie's" (not sure who you have in your area). But here, I found they didn't really seem to know the pool builders. I did get some good tips from them on other issues, but not much help in choosing a PB. Maybe you would have better luck.
    4. Also, if you have a community forum site (neighborhood, etc), you could put out a request for suggestions.

    I hope some of this helps!!! Thanks for posting and keep us updated!!!! All the best! Suz
    Suz~Cypress area~ 2015 pool build. 23K gallons. IG swcg system. 35'x18'; 573sf; 104' perim; depth 4'-7'. Bubblers, sheer descents, 7' spa. Jandy: color LEDs; 2HP 2sp pump; 1HP 2sp pump; spa pump; 580 cartridge; 400K BTU; Dolphin M500; PS8; Inline chlorinator not used; Aqua Pure 1400. Blue Granite Sheen. Travertine deck. Lightstreams Peacock Blue TF-100, K-1766, SpeedStir

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Where are you in Northern California? As a custom home builder, I've worked with quite a few pool contractors in the area.
    16'x32' 15,000 gal, 7'x7' Raised Spa, Coverstar Autocover, Stonescapes Mini Pebble - Midnight Blue, Intellichlor IC40, Pentair Mastertemp 400BTU NG Heater, Pentair 420 Sf Cartridge filter, Intelliflow VS+, Dolphin Z5, TF-100

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    We had 6 site visits - but we also contacted several other builders all around the bay area and south bay. Surprisingly quite a few never returned our calls after taking down all our information - others didn't do work in Santa Cruz.

    Our List of actual visits was as follows:

    Swan Pools
    Royal
    Lifetime
    Santa Cruz Pools
    APPI Pools
    Stonebridge Pools

    I can tell you my impressions of them if you like, but in the end it came down to who had the best pricing and who we thought would do the best job with our site. Two of the builders, our first two choices, were fairly close in price and were the lowest bids which made things a little easier. We had a couple of bids that were out of sight, and one who turned us off so much we never asked for his final bid.

    Interestingly only one builder came with an actual portfolio of their work - several large photo books. A couple had ipads with photo slide shows. It turns out that several pools we had seen and bookmarked from a few well know bay area architects and landscapingnetwork.com were pools that our final choice had built. We liked the owner/salesmen since they had ready answers for all of our questions and were easy to work with. Now we are 1/4 of the way through our build, and things are going reasonably well - most of the problems have been minor and are not the builders fault.
    2015 Build Link: 15'x30' Rectangle (3'-6", 5', 4' depth) 14,000 Gallon Pool, Finish: Wet Edge Primera Stone Black Kona. TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin DX5+S Robot, Jandy CL460 Filter, VS 2HP pump, AquaPure 1400 SWG, iAqualink2, Automatic Safety Cover. No Heater

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Which builder did you end up going with, Santacruzpool?

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Swan Pools
    2015 Build Link: 15'x30' Rectangle (3'-6", 5', 4' depth) 14,000 Gallon Pool, Finish: Wet Edge Primera Stone Black Kona. TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin DX5+S Robot, Jandy CL460 Filter, VS 2HP pump, AquaPure 1400 SWG, iAqualink2, Automatic Safety Cover. No Heater

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    We also used Swan (say hi to John, Roberto and Arturo) and we were really happy with them. We just finished construction in March. I'll be following your build thread

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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Quote Originally Posted by jacklie View Post
    I've got about 4 bids from PBs in the Bay Area, CA area and 3 are fairly similar, within 5-10k. The 4th is about 40k off the mark and way too extravagant.

    My question is how do you chose one from the other. Unfortunately there are not many reviews on yelp for them and some have reviews that are bad. None have complaints on BBB. They all say they can build a better more durable pool than the other.

    How does one go about chosing? Specs are all about the same... Any suggestions? I would rather pay 10k more if they are really more durable but how can you know?
    I would ask each for the address of pools they are currently constructing and go there and see how they work. even talk to the current owners and see how the process is going and if they try to nickel and dime everything. also, a good clean work site that looks organized is usually a good sign. I deal with a lot of contractors in my line of business, and its a pretty good rule of thumb that a good clean and well organized worksite translates to a good contractor. a messy site is a bad contractor. not 100%, but good rule of thumb
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Quote Originally Posted by dcrides View Post
    Where are you in Northern California? As a custom home builder, I've worked with quite a few pool contractors in the area.
    I am in the East Bay - Danville area.
    Would like to know of good contractors if you know one in the area.

    Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -

    One thing I don't understand is how most pool builders in the Bay Area have very few reviews on Yelp. All these places are telling me they have built hundreds if not thousands of pools, yet most places have <10 reviews.

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    Just sent you a PM.
    16'x32' 15,000 gal, 7'x7' Raised Spa, Coverstar Autocover, Stonescapes Mini Pebble - Midnight Blue, Intellichlor IC40, Pentair Mastertemp 400BTU NG Heater, Pentair 420 Sf Cartridge filter, Intelliflow VS+, Dolphin Z5, TF-100

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    Re: Choosing a Pool Builder in CA

    I too am in the east bay (Fremont) and am looking for recommendations.

    Thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by jacklie View Post
    I am in the East Bay - Danville area.
    Would like to know of good contractors if you know one in the area.

    Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -

    One thing I don't understand is how most pool builders in the Bay Area have very few reviews on Yelp. All these places are telling me they have built hundreds if not thousands of pools, yet most places have <10 reviews.
    15K gal, IG, Pentair WhisperFlo, Cartridge Filter

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