While you may impulsively purchase a new bathing suit or a pair of sunglasses, you likely aren’t going to build a new swimming pool on a whim. It’s a major investment and that means doing your homework before diving into the deep end. Follow these six tips for decisions you want to be clear on before you hire a pool company.
1. Your Motivation
Why, exactly, do you want this pool? Is it to swim laps in? To host pool parties and entertain guests? To take a quick dip in when you’re done lounging the sun? For the kids to splash around in? Any or all of the above answers are good ones — you just want to be clear on the purpose this pool will serve so you can pick the proper type to correspond with your intended lifestyle. This could mean the difference between a plunge pool, a play pool, diver, and a lap pool, which are far different projects.
2. Amenities and Atmosphere
Once you’re clear on how your pool will be used, it’s time to think through its design and features. Perhaps your vision of a swimming pool won’t be complete without a slide or a diving board. Or maybe you’re looking for something more romantic, like a grotto hidden behind a waterfall. A spa with fountains and fire features is a great idea for evening entertaining. But it’s also easy to get carried away with your wish list of custom features before you’ve established a budget. Be clear on your must-haves and nice-to-haves before you meet with a pool company.
3. Budget and Funding
It’s important to have a good sense of what budget you have to work with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have that amount available in cash. There are many ways to pay for a pool, including a home equity line, second mortgage, unsecured loan, or credit card. Ask your pool company about their financing options to see what the best option is for your situation. A quality pool builder will have lending sources available for you.
4. The Right Timing
Building a pool takes time, so it’s important to have realistic expectations about when you can expect to take your first deep in that sparkling blue water. If you want a pool ready for early summer, you’ll need to plan ahead. And while some pool companies offer promotions at various times a year, most of the time you’ll find pricing pretty consistent. Costs such as labor, materials and overhead remain level throughout the course of any year, meaning there’s no “ideal” time to buy a pool. The best time is whenever you are ready.
5. The Number of Quotes
It’s easy to get analysis paralysis when comparing quotes from multiple pool companies. They may each present you with a different option and explain why their way is the best. They may use different terminology to talk about the same things, making it tricky to do an apples-to-apples comparison. And they may structure their pricing differently, further complicating your evaluation. It’s best to get three to four quotes from reputable pool companies and then make your decision.
Call your home insurance company and inquire about how a swimming pool installation might affect your policy rate. Because pools can be a safety risk, you may be required to do certain things for coverage, such as installing a fence or door alarms to protect children from drowning. It’s better to know this cost prior to moving forward with your pool-building project.
Once your firm on your decisions for the above items, it’s time to ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations of pool companies and formally begin the pool-buying process. Also online resources like BBB, Yelp, and the local contractor licensing board are great resources when considering a pool builder.