If you get a pool quote that seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Reputable companies that employ full-time, fully insured crews and do high quality work will all offer quotes in the same ballpark. A low-ball quote means someone is scrimping to get the job done for less. When you receive a second quote, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by asking each company about these 11 areas.
1. Years in business
The longer the company has been around, the more experience it will have and the deeper its relationships will be with suppliers and customers. Until a company has a few years under its belt, it’s hard to say if it will be “fly by night” or not.
2. Membership in the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada
Members in this national not-for-profit association must abide by a code of ethics and provide the highest standard of workmanship and service. Locate a member using the Pool & Hot Tub Council website.
Are the people doing the work contractors or employees? If they’re employees, what’s the average number of years they’ve been with the company? What training and certifications do crew members have? Finally, how many crews are there? Companies with a number of crews generally have to lower their standards to find sufficient workers. The key is to find a company that has a crew sized appropriately to accommodate scheduling and keep standards impeccable.
Does the business have required safety and business insurance so that if something goes wrong with the job, you’re not on the hook or at risk of being sued? Ask them to show you copies of your certificates.
5. How they developed the quote
Did they do a site visit? Did they discuss with you the ins and outs of choosing the pool site and ensuring proper grading and retaining walls to deal with any slope?
6. The equipment they install—and their experience with it.
What manufacturers and brands do they use? Why do they use those particular ones? How long have they been working with those manufacturers and brands? Do they service what they sell?
7. Timelines for pool installation
Do they have sufficient staff to ensure installation can happen soon to maximize your first swimming season?
8. Other possible costs
Ensure that any permits, grading, fencing and landscaping you require are discussed when you receive a quote. Additional quotes for this work may need to be provided.
Read the fine print so you know if the warranties you’re comparing are actually the same. What warranty do they offer on their labour? What are the equipment warranties? Who handles the warranty issues—is it a quick call or email to the installer to resolve a concern or will you have to deal with the manufacturer yourself? As a side note, if you're paying cash for your pool, your pool purchase won't be properly documented and there may be no warranty at all.
10. Features that are included in the quote
Are the installers quoting the same type of pool, the same size of pool, and the same equipment? Are they throwing in features that you don’t really want to sweeten the deal?
11. Store location, services and products
Will the same company that installed the pool perform any service? Do they have a full-time, year-round service department so you can get an answer to your questions in the off-season? Do you get a free orientation on your particular pool?
A quality installer will charge you a fair price for high quality work. A company that undercharges to get the job will have no interest in making sure the work is done properly, no investment in delighting you after the sale and probably won’t be in business for very long. Any reputable pool installer should be able to discuss these topics in a way that gives you confidence—so go ahead, put ‘em on the hot seat! If you aren’t satisfied with the answers, likely you won’t be satisfied with the job.