Questions to ask and things to know when receiving estimates for work to be done on your pool.

When you receive an estimate from a salesperson the following information is extremely important, these are just a few things that can really help you determine whats a good deal and what isn’t.

  • Make sure the company you hire AND their subcontractors are legally registered with the state under the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractors Law effective July 2009 with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. You can look up contractors using this link: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/hicsearch/.
  • Make sure the contractor has the necessary insurance to perform the work on your pool, you can verify this by requesting a certificate of insurance from their carrier with your name and address on it.
  • Request that each portion of the job including the materials to be used are broken down separately on a contract proposal which includes both the payment terms and warranty information so you know how much you are being charged for each portion of the job for comparison purposes.
  • Is draining the pool included in the price, if not, how much is it to drain the pool?
  • Did they give you a price for water to fill the pool if your pool is being re-plastered or if you are on a well? Did you know that water costs a minimum of $180.00 to more than $300.00 for 6,000 gallons depending on where you live? A lot of companies will try to make a profit off of the water, get the name of the water company they are using to make sure they are providing you with clean, tap water and that their trucks only haul water and get their price to compare to what you were quoted.
  • Are they giving you a price to caulk the pool if you are getting new tile & coping? If you replace your tile and coping without caulking the expansion joint between the deck and the new coping, there is nothing to protect your new tile & coping from winter damage and you will be replacing your new tile & coping again in a few years. Caulk should never be left off a quote or be considered optional. Foam in the expansion joint is for spacing purposes only and does nothing protect your pool from ice damage.

A good contractor should complete quality work at a fair price. A first-rate contractor wants his customers to know the causes of the problems they are experiencing and how to protect the work he has completed. Superior work and a decent price aren’t worth anything if it has to be re-done sooner than it should. It is important for you to learn and understand as much as you can about the type of work that needs to be completed on your pool and why. This will help you to avoid paying for work that does not need to be done. It will also help you take care of your pool to ensure that the finished product is preserved as best it can in this freeze-thaw climate.

Ask each representative if the work is being subcontracted.


If it is subcontracted:

  • How many subcontractors will work on my pool, what are the names of the companies and how much experience do they have?
  • Do you have pictures of pools your company has renovated?
  • Be specific – What parts of the pool and surrounding area was your company involved in renovating specifically? Did they also do the deck, the fence, the landscaping?
  • Will the work on my pool be completed by the same people that did the work you are showing me?
    • A lot of companies that hire subcontractors have more than one subcontractor that does the same thing. That means you might see a pool they’ve done but the company who did that pool might not be the one they hire to work on your pool. If they don’t have pictures of pools completed by the installer who would do the work on your pool, we would suggest you request to see a pool in person that their subcontracted installer did complete. The quality of work will vary from mason to mason – their experience will be reflected in the quality of the finished product.
  • Ask for a list of references. Take the time to call the references and have a list of questions ready.
    • How do you feel about the service you received, before, during and after a contract was in place?
    • How do you feel about the people who worked on your pool, were they knowledgeable when you asked them questions, friendly, courteous…did they clean up after themselves?
    • What do you think about the quality of the work that was completed?
    • If you could go back in time, would you use the same company having gone through the experience?
  • It’s a good idea to ask if there were problems on the job and how quickly they were addressed. The character of the company is often reflected in how well they respond to a customer who has concerns. You can learn a lot more from a customer who had concerns or problems than you can from a customer whose job went perfectly.
  • You can also pull out your phone book and call your local pool service dealers and inquire about the company’s reputation.
    • Service dealers occasionally have relationships with a particular contractor, it would be best to call 2-3 service dealers in your area for an unbiased opinion.
  • Companies that subcontract their work will often use more than one subcontractor to accommodate their scheduling needs. They can switch subcontractors at any time; in some instances this happens more than once in a single calendar year. There are several reasons for this behavior, a few reasons might be:
    • They do it because the quality of work provided by the current contractor is poor.
    • They have received a lower price to complete the same work from a different contractor.
    • The contractor they currently use cannot handle the workload they are requesting.
  • Service dealers are provided a “builders price” by contractors, this allows them to provide additional services to their customers along with the services they offer and it also allows them to make a profit. If a construction company like ours charged a service dealer the same prices we provide to a consumer directly, it would make it difficult for homeowners to have one company coordinate several projects at once. This type of relationship in construction is often necessary to provide a higher level of customer service. Unfortunately, in some instances, you will come across a service dealer, contractor or builder who is more concerned with making a profit than they are about the service they provide and the quality of work their customers will receive from a subcontractor. Please understand this is not always the case, many service dealers pride themselves in not only providing quality work from their own employees but also expect the same quality from their subcontractors.

If the work is not subcontracted:

  • How long have your employees worked for your company and how much experience do they have?
  • How many years of experience do your installers have in the tile and coping field specifically? (The mason may have only been with the company for 2 years but have installed coping and tile for many years with another company or on their own.) How many years of experience do the members of the plaster crew have? Oftentimes plaster companies will employ a foreman with a lot of experience to run the plaster crew but the rest of the crew members have limited experience.
  • Ask for a list of references. Take the time to call the references and have a list of questions ready.
    • How do you feel about the service you received, before, during and after a contract was in place?
    • How do you feel about the people who worked on your pool, were they knowledgeable when you asked them questions, friendly, courteous…did they clean up after themselves?
    • What do you think about the quality of the work that was completed?
    • If you could go back in time, would you use the same company having gone through the experience?
  • It’s a good idea to ask if there were problems on the job and how quickly they were addressed. The character of the company is often reflected in how well they respond to a customer who has concerns. You can learn a lot more from a customer who had problems than you can from a customer whose job went perfectly.
  • You can also pull out your phone book and call your local pool service dealers and inquire about the company’s reputation.
    • Service dealers occasionally have relationships with a particular contractor, it would be best to call 2-3 service dealers in your area for an unbiased opinion.