Congratulations are in order here. Since there is a very high chance that you are considering buying an inground swimming pool and possibly a fiberglass model. Not too many consumers do their research at the intensity level as yourself before making a big investment like buying an inground swimming pool. Kudos to you!
In this article I have identified the 6 dumb mistakes people make while shopping for a pool, of course there are probably many more and if you have one that you would like to share please do.
- Buying direct from the manufacturer or a landscaper
- Don't pay attention to warranties
- Believing everything sales person claims
- Focusing on price alone
- Don't ask for references
- Basing decisions on the short-term
1. Buying Direct from a Manufacture or a Landscaper
“Buy Direct – Save $1,000’s” We all see the advertising for mattresses, furniture, appliances and much more. A swimming pool is not like any one of those buy direct items; it’s not just getting it delivered and plug in. Installation is a very specialized process and takes skill, specific equipment and trained staff. Besides there is no return policy – can’t just return the pool at Costco, the investment is over $50,000 and making the wrong decision will result in $1,000’s in repair, replacement and just problems; that we all can live without.
- Is it true that a manufacture & distribution center specializes in just that - distribution?
- Why would you want them to install your pool?
While they use sub-contractors to do the work and those sub trades had to bid on the job and it’s probably the lowest bidder that gets awarded. How do they become the lowest bidder?, well you guessed it.. cut corners, lesser quality of material, used piping & equipment, not excavating properly, using dirt for backfill and the list goes on.
The owner is never present since the manufacturing is done in the USA, Australia or Rural Ontario, you are dealing with employees and sub trades. How invested are they in your satisfaction and providing quality workmanship?
It’s rumored that the damaged or repaired pool shells get sold directly, because authorized dealers would not accept those pools for their customers. What happens to a damaged pool shell once it arrives from USA on a flatbed? Does it go back to the USA? Or does it get sold to a happy “buying direct” customer?
Selecting which pool model to buy, you have many questions to ask yourself. Who is going to use the pool? Future children or pets. Buying direct only gives you one brand of pools with limited designs available.
I see more and more landscapers getting into the pool business and becoming that one size fits all model, they specialize in landscaping, installing patio stones, building outdoor kitchens, cabanas and the list goes on. They might “install” a few pools per year and again they use the sub-contractors or attempt to install themselves. Imagine having your $50K pool installed by a company that your pool was the first one they attempted. No Thanks!
Who is going to service your pool? Winter closing? Are you getting the most technology advanced pool system?
Pool builders specialize in just that and yes some will use sub-contractor to complete the landscaping which in my opinion is the proper thing to do. Get your pool installed by a Professional Pool Installer then the landscaping follows.
2. Not Paying Attention to Warranties
Not paying attention to the different pool manufacturer warranties. Every brand has different warranty disclaimers you must be weary of those that don’t disclose the warranty upfront.
What does “Lifetime Warranty Mean” what’s included and what’s not? Many warranties claim that the pool requires to be installed by Authorized Dealer Only, is your pool contractor authorized dealer?
3. Believing Everything Salesperson Says
“Buyers are Liars” comes for the many sales books over the years, reality is actually the opposite. Believing everything the salesperson says is almost the biggest mistake. I offer you this advice without any intention of offending the “sales” industry but let’s be frank here. Sales people will tell you whatever they did too all the while trying to get you to buy, don’t get me wrong not all of course but they are out there.
As mentioned above warranty of pool shells vary from manufacture and even the lifetime warranty claims do not cover many aspects of the pool. Read the warranty and fully understand what’s included and what’s not.
Claims that they never had any problems with installs, I know firsthand that over the years YES, WE had problems. Problems are sometimes not avoidable, ground conditions, buried utility, water levels and so on. It’s how we handle those problems and that makes the difference. Ensure the company you hire has had problems because if not they maybe it’s their first pool or just plain not telling the truth.
Under sizing equipment and it goes like this… 150,000 BTU heater will work just fine; a single speed pump is all you need. Sure, you’re happy because the quote is a few thousand cheaper than the last quote but watch out.
I have never, never installed a single speed pump for the main circulation of a pool, it just doesn’t make sense with the utility savings, few chemicals the cost of a variable out ways the savings of a cheaper pump.
This is my biggest pet peeve when comparing quotes from other companies, there is no mention of electrical or gas rough in’s, no water treatment system, leaving out the sump well or concrete collar. I get it once you add all the true costs it’s a big number but regardless if you know upfront or at the end it’s still the same number.
Get everything in writing upfront, the fact that you are reading this being educated on the whole process is a great start.
Got your pool installed to find out you have a chlorine water system, no salt, no uv, no ozone just plain old school public pool chlorine. Is that what you really wanted? If they failed to mention the water system, what else didn’t’ t they include or not include?
4. Focusing on Price Alone
This one sends chills down my spine. Focusing on price alone is almost the surest way to end up with an unsatisfied pool installation experience. Getting a pool is a major investment and one that your family will enjoy for years to come.
Pool builders NEED to be profitable, and the quality of workmanship, materials and after sale service is usually defined on the profit. Getting the best deal from a company that is not going to be around next year really isn’t a great deal. Unfortunately, it’s a very competitive space and some companies need to be cheap (to the point that they break even on jobs) in order to get sales, I wish them luck and also their customers.
Although price always has and always will be an important part of choosing your pool builder, make sure that it's not your first priority. If it is, then you might find yourself being the next victim of a terrible pool building experience.
5. Not getting references from past clients
If you had a great experience from a contractor wouldn’t you want them to be successful in the future and wouldn’t mind a 3-minute phone call or email from any potential clients, they are bidding on.
My exact point ask for their reference list and make some calls, send a few emails. Search online reviews, homestars, google and so on, read the bad reviews first and see how they handled the negative review. It’s going to happen and it’s not the bad review but how a company handles it that makes them different from the next contractor.
6. Basing decisions on the short-term
You’re taking the time to research all the different pool options, styles, types and contractors. Don’t focus on the short term, if you really want a fiberglass pool then get one, and if it’s costing you $8,000 more than a vinyl liner pool, look at the cost of ownership over time because if it’s cheaper today you might find yourself with a major regret over the years.
Not getting the waterfall feature because of cost, big mistake it would be impossible to add it on in the future or be very expensive to do so. Even worse case is not getting a full UV Salt Water System and settling for a chlorine pool because of saving a few thousands.
My point is look at every option and really understand your needs and wants in advance, make a list and prioritise the items.
Well here you have it, my top 6 dumb things people do when buying an inground fiberglass pool. Truly I could list about 30 more let’s save those for another blog.
As always, good luck with your shopping experience and don't forget to subscribe to our blog to receive all the best tips, articles, and videos on buying and owning a swimming pool.