When renovating your backyard swimming pool, it’s critically important that you have the right customized pool and the right contractor to perform the work. But how do you know the person or company you choose is skilled, experienced, and able to complete the project on time and on budget? Below are the steps you should take to find, background check, and select your contractor.
- Create a long list of candidates from web research. It’s tempting to go right to a “short list” of candidates, but doing so may leave highly qualified contractors out of consideration. Cast a wide net first, based on your internet research.
- Add or confirm names from friends and family. Ask people you trust if they have worked with a good pool contractor or know of someone who has. Add names of those candidates to your list (or note that they are already there).
- Create a “reject” list. As your search unfolds, it’s important to keep track not only of viable candidates, but also those who have received negative reviews. You don’t want to accidentally move them forward in the evaluation process.
- Narrow your list of candidates. Using whatever criteria are most important to you (cost, timing, recommendations, etc.), narrow your list of candidates down to 10 or fewer.
- Interview each candidate. A phone call will work, but it’s better to meet with them in person (at their location or your home) to hear about their services and see photos or diagrams of their work. Ask them about their credentials and their work process. The answers are important, but so is the way they communicate with you. If the conversation flows smoothly, and you feel you are getting straight answers from an honest person, that’s a good sign. Ask to see documentation indicating they are licensed and insured. Also ask about the process for handling any disputes that arise.
- Get a written bid. Be sure the proposal includes firm pricing and an estimated start and end date for the project. If you still have some decisions to make about the type or size of pool you want, it’s reasonable to ask that the bid cover multiple scenarios.
- Ask for and check references. Request information on their clients, including two or three of their most recent jobs. Two lukewarm referrals from four years ago doesn’t indicate they are a trusted contractor today. Call every reference they provide, asking a variety of questions including “Would you hire them again?”
With all of your research completed, you’re ready to make your selection.
An Investment of Time
Researching and selecting the right contractor for your pool renovation takes time. However, it is nothing compared to the time you will spend resolving issues if you choose the wrong contractor. Think of your efforts as an investment and you’ll see it pay off in years of enjoyment of your new pool.