In a mess with my pool builder! Help!

voidpointer

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2020
45
Prosper, TX
Pool Size
20000
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EDIT: I apologize, I just realized I put this in the "Water Chemistry" forum. I saw "Just Getting Started" and I thought this was the newbie questions forum. If an admin would not mind moving my post to the appropriate place, I'd appreciate it. Thank you!

I'm in Prosper, TX. I signed a contract with a particular pool builder (I won't name them here, but am happy to share details if you PM me). A particular person there (I won't name him) was referred to me here on the forums. Working with him so far has been pleasant, I have no issue with him. Communication has been spotty the past few weeks and I wasn't sure why. The company itself seems to be highly reviewed when I google it (but not sure if reviews are legitimate or not).

I got a call from him today and he said he got into a big fight with the owner and he's got a lawyer advising him on how to keep in touch with previous clients. I was told to call the main office and work out who to talk to from there. But he's already started his own business and is working on pools with some of his previous clients who, according to him, have already moved over.

When I asked about canceling my contract, he says I should be able to and get a refund if I want to move to him. He didn't push me toward him, it was me asking about it. But what a mess. Now I have to decide if I want to keep my contract with this company or cancel (and hopefully get a refund) and keep him to help build my pool. He says the company is experiencing a lot of people leaving and huge delays for pool builds because they are understaffed and the owner isn't flexible in some way he didn't explain to me.

The person that left is the person that was referred to me on this forum. Also I read reviews about this same person online and I've heard nothing but positive things about him. He's agreed to keep my price and everything the same if I switch over. But a situation like this is scary. Do I stay where I'm at, and risk a huge delay in my pool and a mess out of it since it's no longer under the same person as before, or switch over? I just don't know.

Looking for some advice here on where to go!

PS: Just in case it wasn't clear, I'm in the permitting phase for my pool right now. I signed a contract for it and paid $3k down. If I can get that money back because this person no longer works there like he says I can, then I have no issue canceling my contract if that's the best move. No construction or digging has happened yet. I did get pool financing approved and clear to start construction but it was for this company, not his. So I may need to do the application process again, I'm not sure what's involved until I talk with the bank.
 
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poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
732
Seminole, FL
Beware!! This person is demonstrating questionable ethics, and has no track record as a pool builder. I know someone who sold roofs and acted as liaison post-contract, thought he could make more money by going out on his own, but found that running the business was much more difficult. He also didn't have enough capital to cover slumps.
Is he licensed? Insured, including workman's comp and liability?
You signed a contract with your PB. They are in the permitting phase. I see no reason that they would refund your $3000 just because you want to jump ship.
 

Poolbreh

In The Industry
Jul 31, 2021
272
San Diego
I would be concerned about the legality of it. I’m not a lawyer but I would be concerned about the company going after him for impeding on the trade secret act. If the company Sue’s him and he goes bankrupt. You may be stranded.
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
18,614
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You need to look over your contract carefully. Pool build contracts are written in a such a way as to NOT make it easy for the buyer (you) to jump ship at any time. Many are written that if you breach the contract, then you have to pay the pool builder for everything done up to that point and it can even include penalties. A pool builder with a signed contract is going to assert their rights to the maximum extent possible which could leave you without the $3,000 and without permits getting approved. You'll basically be at square one again.

As others have said, the person you were referred to is not acting honestly. If he quit his job with the pool builder then poaching customers is not the act of an honorable individual and the pool builder could go after this individual. You don't want to get in the middle of a nasty dog fight.

I say the safest bet is to stick with the contract you signed, tell this person you were referred to that you're sorry he won't be working on your project and wish him luck. Your objective here is to get a pool built, not to make friends. This is business and you need to keep personal feelings out of it.
 

voidpointer

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2020
45
Prosper, TX
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I guess I'm just nervous about the things he said about the company. And looking at their facebook reviews, they have a few people complaining about pool delays. I'm super nervous about getting midway into a pool build and dealing with delays and issues I'm seeing on FB. Really what a frustrating situation :(

Thank you for all the advice, I think I will stick with the company I have. I really can't take the risk of going to someone who got angry and left the company. His story will obviously be one-sided. I'm not sure who I can trust.
 
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poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
732
Seminole, FL
His comments are NOT unbiased. He is trying to steal your business. Do you trust Ford for your Chevy reviews?
If there were serious problems with the existing pool builder, and he left, and got in touch with you and recommended a short list of other pool builders who could help you out, that would be a whole different story. His whole act seems very very sleazy to me.
Everyone is experiencing delays right now. So I would take those Facebook comments with a grain of salt.
 

voidpointer

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2020
45
Prosper, TX
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
It really helped to post here about this. Thank you everyone. I called the pool company and told them honestly I was concerned with the situation and needed to speak with the owner about my concerns and to try to rebuild confidence. Looks like I'll get to speak with him next week.

I think as long as there's transparency and good line of communication, I can be a happy customer. It's when you feel like they're ignoring you or there's radio silence that it gets frustrating. Delays are not that bothersome as long as they're honest and upfront.
 

joel98z

Bronze Supporter
Jun 14, 2021
77
Wylie, TX
Pool Size
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Jandy Aquapure 1400
Whoa! Hope it all works out for you! The delays are real right now, especially in the DFW area. Right my PB is is estimate to start dig in 18 weeks!! And we signed contract 2 months ago..
 

Casey

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Apr 16, 2007
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If you're worried about delays then maybe a pool isnt for you. I signed my contract in March n gave a whopper of a down payment for my fiberglass pool, equipment, paid for my electrical, my fence n permits n all I have to show for it is some scraped up sod and its October. I've seen delay, after delay, after delay. My whole point is that building a pool right now isnt for those who want it now cuz it ain't coming. Most people signing right now probably won't swim til 2023.
 

the_sphynx

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
100
North San Diego County
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I just have to say that delays shouldn't be a make or break line in the sand here. I have only ever built/owned 1 pool (my current one). I went with the builder who I know turns out a good product because I saw the pools they build in real life in my vicinity. I am a an IT PM by trade.
I am not sure that there was ever even a timeline documented in the contract. We all had like a "back of the napkin" date we tossed around but I really just wanted to know their thoughts after they pull the permits. They can guesstimate before then but usually after permitting, the builder should have a much better feel for the timeline. For instance, I am on septic out here so the permitting process wanted a lot of septic inspections/markings/surveys done that the builder wasn't really too familiar with. That was like 2 months of me and the builder coordinating various people to be out at the house together to have person A talk to person B and so on.
I think mine was a month "delayed" from the date we were tossing around at first. Maybe at one point, towards the end I was getting a little worried but the builder made sure to get his crew(s) refocused on my job and they got it all wrapped up.

YMMV and I really hope that the conversation with the owner of the company help put your mind at ease. I am like almost 3 years out from getting it handed over to me from the builder and all-in-all I have no regrets really.
 
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JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,536
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Hey fellow Prosperonian (or are we Prosperites... I can't remember). Sorry you are going through these struggles.

How did the meeting go with your pool builder? Hopefully, you were able to get your concerns alleviated, but as you know we are in a crazy market that heavily favors the builders.
 

ppierce2nm

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2018
45
Southern New Mexico
If you're worried about delays then maybe a pool isnt for you. I signed my contract in March n gave a whopper of a down payment for my fiberglass pool, equipment, paid for my electrical, my fence n permits n all I have to show for it is some scraped up sod and its October. I've seen delay, after delay, after delay. My whole point is that building a pool right now isnt for those who want it now cuz it ain't coming. Most people signing right now probably won't swim til 2023.
February 2021 we signed and put the gonzo down payment down here, no work so far. Builder says he has our shell done, but we are having an enclosure done as well and the company apparently is having difficulty getting materials to powder coat the metal structure and resin to manufacture the plastic like portion of the enclosure (we are going through a company called CCSI). This is a very frustrating situation with the delays.
 

poolnovice1

Bronze Supporter
May 11, 2018
109
Houston
An ex-employee can't interfere with their former employer's contractual relationships. It's called tortious interference, and he could be sued.

You might risk a breach of contract claim if you renege on the contract, unless there's an out clause for you in there (excessive delays, change of mind, etc), or if the company lets you get out of it.

Even if the company lets you get out of it, I wouldn't hire a guy who has no track record. I only hire companies that have been around at least 10 years, preferably longer. That allows enough time for bad reviews and complaints to surface. Oftentimes problems aren't apparent for many years (ask me how I know).
 
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May 27, 2019
13
New Jersey
Once you get to a certain age, you learn to trust "your gut". Reading your post, I got the feeling in my gut that you are going to have an issue either way. I'd ask the company to let you out of the contract, even if you have to eat some of it, and just chalk it up to the cost of the pool. Then I'd go with another builder that is completely outside the connection. The peace of mind that you'll get with someone more reputable will be worth the money that you had to settle for. I know its probably not what you wanted to hear but its a clean break. Best of Luck to you.
 
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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
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Thank you everyone. I called the pool company and told them honestly I was concerned with the situation and needed to speak with the owner about my concerns and to try to rebuild confidence. Looks like I'll get to speak with him next week.
Hopefully this was a positive meeting and the owner provided you some confidence with a new Project Manager, etc.

If not, it is best to try to get out of the contract and pick your 2nd best option, but not the guy who left to start up his own company. My concern is that he does not know what he is getting into and he will not have all the connections to get the subcontractors aligned because they favor those that give them the most work. You are putting more at risk going with the him.

So if the owner couldn't set your mind at ease - then find another PB who is reputable and been in the business for a long time - even if their price is higher then your original contract. You probably be better off in the long run.
 

Freddypop

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Sep 16, 2020
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Canada
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Read your contract. I know mine had definite limits as to the date I could pull out of the deal and receive a full refund. When you sign they then commit funds to order equipment, etc for your build. Contracts usually ensure the builder is protected so that they are not stuck with the equipment that you ordered
 

travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
172
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
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Pool builds throughout the country are delayed. Most people signing now will get a pool 8-24 months from now. Just know you will be delayed no matter who you go with. This guy will maybe start a dig but will he have the gunite crew ready? What about equipment? Plaster?

I'm sure the existing PB has other pool superintendents who will pick up your build. I DEFINITELY would NOT trust any guy who just started his own company or any company that just popped up in the last 2 years...they don't have enough experience for the 2nd largest purchase you'd make after buying a house.
 

voidpointer

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2020
45
Prosper, TX
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
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Hey everyone, sorry for the delayed response. For some reason I wasn't getting the usual email notifications that I got replies...

Again I really can't thank everyone enough for the support here. It's really embarrassing that I was even considering going with the breakaway guy. I think in the moment I felt a bit panicked and overwhelmed. Lost a lot of confidence in the whole pool thing and it felt like the company was crashing. But now that I have a clear head, I definitely overreacted.

I did speak with the owner and he took his time with me. The conversation didn't feel rushed. And who knows, maybe it was all marketing, but he did help build confidence back. There's always two sides to every story but I didn't want to think about that more than I had to. The superintendent I got is a real great guy. Friendly, knowledgeable, and most importantly (in my book), responsive.

I'm not in a rush for this pool. heck, I waited in a tiny apartment for 13 months while I waited for the home I was told would only take 6 months to finish building. Sure I went a little crazy towards the end because of my kids (I'm sure they got sick of me too!), but we did it. So I'm ready to wait on this pool, too. It'll be worth it.

Looking forward to getting to know a lot of you better next summer when my pool is hopefully finished. Or maybe it'll be 2023 like another poster said :)
 
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