What criteria should you use to hire an inground pool contractor? Reputation, trust, price? Every year I see or hear about pool projects that went awry.
Last year I went on an appointment and spent a lot of time helping the homeowner decide on what kind of pool they wanted. Things seemed to go well and we agreed to get back together once the homeowner had made some decisions. Unfortunately, by the time I checked back, they had met with another inground pool builder and signed a contract. They had liked a particular fiberglass pool that he sold best (a huge 16x44!), they liked his price and obviously they liked and trusted him.
However, the guy they chose was new to the business. This means there were no complaints about him but he didn’t have many references either. The homeowner did call the manufacturer of the fiberglass pool shell and they told him he was new but fine. An absolute disaster ensued that will remain legendary in Indianapolis pool building for sometime. The hole got dug wrong and the pool cracked badly when water was put in it. Because of the crack, water flooded the cavity and caused the sand under the pool to shift to the deep end. While waiting for the manufacturer to send a guy to patch the pool, the walls of the hole collapsed. Compounding the mess, the auto cover was wrongly designed, inspections failed, and the site looked like a bomb went off. Six weeks had elapsed from the start. It was at this time that the builder just gave up, took what money he had, apologized and ran. And he had over $40,000!
Fixing the Problem
We were hired to fix the situation. In two days we pulled the fiberglass pool shell out of the hole, reshaped the hole, reset the pool, back filled, replaced the plumbing and cleaned up the site so at least things looked neat and tidy. It proceeded from there as a normal installation. But those two days required significant experience and talent. It’s one thing to put in an inground pool if everything goes well; it’s another to fix a bad situation and turn it around. You want a builder on your side that has the talent to do both! You want a builder that has seen the good, the bad and the ugly….someone who has seen flash floods, collapsing dirt walls, equipment malfunctions, and all sorts of possible devastation.
Check out this video of a crane falling on a guy's house while trying to set a fiberglass pool. Not the pool guy’s fault? Maybe or maybe not. Our guys know who is and is not a good crane operator; in any event, we get the idea within a couple of minutes of the crane rig showing up. We have even run the crane when an inexperienced operator was sent. Knock on wood but I’d like to think that something like this would never happen to us.
So when you consider hiring an inground pool builder in Indianapolis, consider his experience. There are tricks to this trade, there are things that can go very wrong, there are choices along the way that can affect the long term quality of your inground pool if not made correctly. The first 10 pools you build are very difficult and there is a lot of potential for things to go wrong because you don’t really know what you are doing. After the next 100 pools you are an expert except if something unexpected happens which happens every other pool. After that, maybe you are a true expert with still a lot to learn. We have built over 2,000 pools and while we have seen a lot we get taught a lesson or two every season.
So homeowner, when you decide who you are going to trust with your backyard consider experience and maybe don’t rely too much on who you like….OK who you like is a criteria but maybe 10th on the list after experience and all the other things that make up an inground pool builder’s reputation.