Got our first quote, less than impressed....


Aug 8, 2012
We got our first quote on our potential build this week and I was less than impressed. The builder was nice enough, I showed him some photos of what we wanted and we talked in detail about everything (attached is what I drew to show him our idea). A few days later I get a rendering photo and a price and nothing else. Do most builders do a break down quote? The rendering didn't have dimensions of anything and he was so far off from what we talked about. We were aware of needing a retaining wall and asked if it could be built into the pool on the side near the fence with a few water fall features, he said sure. First attached photo is what he sent us. I emailed to get clarification on a few things and haven't heard back. I've had a trial of vip 3D for awhile so I rendered my own pool (also attached) to show how we expected it to look after talking to him, although my husband and I did decide to move the pool orientation after talking about it later. I'm super disappointed. Would it be weird to give my rendering to the next builder we have come for a quote so they know exactly what we want? I know they'll need to tweak it to work properly. Also this builder tried to talk us into doing a retaining wall across our entire back yard made of rebar and gunite. I get making the wall built into the pool made of this however wouldn't a basic retaining wall suffice in all the other areas? total cost for the wall alone was 15k which came out to almost 55$ a ft (119' long, 2' high)! We may just just a wall built in an have someone else come in to the rest of it at a more reasonable price (mid range would be around 5k). How many quotes should I get to help me figure out an average cost for a pool in my area?


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Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Design is an iterative collaborative process. You can’t expect him to nail it on the first rendering.

Give builders as much as you have in written words or pictures to express your thinking. And your thinking may change during the process.

Get at least 3-5 bids if you have the builders in your area.

This may be helpful...



Active member
Oct 10, 2019
Spotsylvania, Virginia
We got 3 different quotes for the pool. We quickly learned that some were concrete companies that did pools, pool companies that also did hardscape, so basically different crews and outsourcing for the various functions.
I also had heavy consideration to the plans and renderings from electrical outlets, plumbing, hardscapes. Those really solidify the expectations. Itemized quotes help immensely if you intend on subcontracting the functions.
Ultimately we went with a PB and landscaper and were fortunate they had great team work.
Our wants changed during the planning and we did our best to communicate with the builders so we did not waste their manpower too. The solid rendering and plans are crucial for both parties though because having a problem with expectations being different mid build is a nasty thing.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
Damascus, MD
That is about what we would pay here as well for a retaining wall. Apparently retaining walls are in vogue and cash cows for installers. We didn't really need one and the 2 places we wanted it was for aesthetics so I just did it myself. For 2 feet high I would for sure do it myself. Pools have had a HUGE resurgence in popularity over the past few years. And prices have gone up accordingly. Pool builders are charging close to double now for what they would have 10 years ago. Good luck and feel free to post your quotes here for a 2nd look!


Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
Chapel Hill, NC
We quickly learned that some were concrete companies that did pools, pool companies that also did hardscape, so basically different crews and outsourcing for the various functions.
The "pool" companies probably sub out the work to the same concrete companies! Where we are, most (all?) of the "pool" companies use the same concrete, electrical., plumbing, plaster and landscape subs. And their prices vary 3-fold!!!



Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
What did you ask for? If all you asked for is a quote you're gonna get a lot of different responses that can't be compared. Read the article Allen referenced. Then ask any questions you may have, Then start pre-qualifying your biders and prepare your request for proposal. You may have more work to do than you think but it's well worth it. Good news is you're getting help early. We see far to many new builds where the contract's signed and the job is a mess and there's not much that can be done other than pay up. On the other hand this process isn't so tough if you follow best practices. We have experts here in every facet of pool design and construction and contracting. You can do this and have a great experience plus learn a lot.

I hope this is helpful.