Taking a dip in a backyard pool is a great way to cool off on a hot day in the Midwest – especially as families spend more time at home in the heat of summer. If you don’t have one and you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, you may need to find a contractor to install your pool – and it’s important to do your homework before you take the plunge.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) received more than 2,000 complaints about pool contractors last year. Complaints range from customer service issues to failure to complete work or honor warranties.
One customer told BBB a pool leaked so badly that it had to be refilled every other day. The contractor made several attempts to repair the pool, but the homeowner still had problems that were not resolved.
Consumers need to think about how they and their family would use a pool, weigh the expense and decide what type fits their budget and space. Swimming pools can require a substantial investment, particularly in-ground pools. They require frequent cleaning during the season, and proper closing and opening at the end and beginning of a season.
BBB advises consumers to:
• Obtain at least three bids and compare them. Make sure the bids specify the size of the pool and an itemized list of materials included in the proposal.
• Make sure the contractor’s paperwork is in order. Ask to see the contractor’s license and certificates of insurance. If you have any questions, contact the appropriate licensing board.
• Ask for references and check them out.
• Check BBB Business Profiles to see whether a contractor is BBB Accredited. Also check to see if the firm has been the subject of complaints and whether complaints have been resolved.
• Find out who will be doing the actual work – the contractor’s employees or subcontractors.
• Ask the contractor for lien waivers upon completion of the project. A lien waiver shows whether suppliers and subcontractors have been paid.
• Find out whether the builder can make site and soil evaluations for your property. Consider whether grading or landscaping work will be needed to finish a pool to your satisfaction.
• Ask about warranties and whether the contractor will do maintenance and repairs after the pool is completed.
• Do not pay the entire amount in advance. Make the final payment only after the work is completed to your satisfaction.
For assistance, go to bbb.org or call 417-380-5074.