This year has proved to be a repeat of 2020 in terms of consumer demand for swimming pools. A vaccine is out but with less than half the country fully vaccinated, folks are still looking for pools to fill the void in creating lasting summer memories. Instead of packing up the family SUV or booking a flight to the beach, many consumers are looking forward to spending time in their own backyard.
The swell in demand has attracted many new pool companies looking to cash in on homeowners that are desperate for a swimming pool. This includes a fair amount of scammers that are ready to take advantage of a surge in consumer interest in swimming pools.
We offer some sound advice on how to avoid getting scammed for a swimming pool installation.
How are scammers targeting consumers interested in swimming pools?
Whether homeowners are interested in an inground pool or an above ground pool, we’ve seen scammers taking advantage on multiple levels with a variety of shady tactics.
- Pool companies performing pool construction without a license and only a website and no license number listed or a fake one registered to an entirely different company. Certain states specifically mandate that contractors display a valid license number for consumers to check.
- We’ve also seen instances where pool builders have had their entire design portfolio lifted from websites like Houzz and Facebook only to be copied to a competitors website where they claim the work as their own. These companies often have no track record for completing pool projects and no intention of doing so once they’ve parted the homeowner from their money.
- Bait and switch tactics applied to online retail scams where the pool advertised in no way shape or form resembles the actual product the consumer receives. Consumers need to be especially careful about buying swimming pool kits from overseas suppliers, particularly on websites like Ebay, Craigslist and Wish.
What should consumers watch out for when looking to buy a pool?
- Prices that appear to be too good to be true usually are and should be avoided.
- People are frequently enticed by low ball pricing they can’t refuse, but they end up paying for a pool that simply doesn’t exist.
- Read customer reviews carefully and only buy from reputable sources.
- Verify the company’s physical location really exists. Doing a simple Google search can help consumers avoid the frustration of getting scammed.
- Check the companies website carefully if a fake address or no address is shown. It definitely could be a scam if the company’s actual address cannot be easily verified.
- If purchasing online, pay with a credit card or another safe means of payment. Using a secure payment option, such as a credit card, gives you extra protection and increases your chances of successfully challenging the charges.
- If purchasing an inground pool, a reputable builder will base your payments on realistic milestones in the pool construction process and avoid front loading the majority of the project before any construction actually occurs.
How can homeowners locate a reputable pool builder?
- Reviews are great for making a buying decision but often don’t tell the whole story. When considering which pool contractor to hire don’t just read online reviews. Ask for references and a pool tour in the course of doing your due diligence.
- Google a pool companies name and type in the word “complaints” to see what comes up.
- Carefully review your pool contract before making signing it and making a deposit. If you notice anything odd or misleading, don’t just sign out of sheer desperation to own a pool.
When Customers Don’t Want To Pay For Their Pool, Don’t Do This
These guys give contractors everywhere a bad name
Every single builder in the pool industry has encountered that one problem customer, the perpetual goal line pusher that is constantly moving the bar and making it almost impossible to finish their pool construction project. Quite often, it’s easy to get frustrated when a customer refuses to pay for work that has been performed on their property. There have been many times when I’ve heard pool builders say over the years “Man, I wish I could just go back there and jackhammer everything out.” What they don’t do, is actually act out their fantasies of getting even. No matter how frustrated a builder gets on a job site, there is always a better recourse to take than willfully destroying someone’s property and immediately opening yourself up to a civil and potentially criminal penalty.
Recently a video went viral featuring a contractor destroying a customers bathroom for refusing to pay the balance of their bill. The video itself elicited plenty of cheers from fed-up contractors on Facebook who have probably faced a similar situation themselves.
We’ve all been there and have been confronted with a customer that you just can’t make happy. It can feel like no matter how hard you work or how much you’ve done that they are impossible to please.
Destroying a Customers Property is Probably The Worst Way to Settle a Contract Dispute
Contractor Terry Gregory went viral this week for his rather unorthodox way of settling a job that went sideways with one of his customers. He was caught on camera destroying his customer’s bathroom after she refused to pay the balance of a bill he had submitted.
Obviously there are tons of folks who can empathize with said contractor getting stiffed on the bill and “taking back” his work product. Like many who saw the video that was my first gut reaction, however there are always two sides to every story.
The homeowner Amber Trucke, had been documenting her experience in a variety of Facebook Groups and was receiving feedback from ongoing work on the progress she was posting to the group.
Trucke’s complaints stemmed from the fact she had paid $3,000 down on a tile remodel for her bathroom but that as work progressed she noticed that her bathroom tile renovation was beginning to look like amateur hour on her dime. She posted photos of work that contractor Terry Gregory had performed to date. The reactions she got from the group left her with serious reservations about paying the balance of her $7,500 bill.
Many Facebook Group members told her that based off of the photos she was showing, that in their opinion the job was substandard and was a complete do over. Hundreds of homeowners advised her that the work was not up to snuff and told her not to pay the remaining balance.
Trucke had been going back and forth with Gregory and his business partner Jordan Cazares over the project and had been presented with a bill for $4,225.00 to which she stated the she was not prepared to pay yet because she had not had time to inspect the final work product and was not happy with the overall work based on what she had last seen.
The company she hired Dream Home Remodels of Colorado, released a statement to the news regarding the incident. “After several weeks of work for a customer, communication broke down at the end of a project. There was no displeasure expressed, and we proceeded to ask for payment on the project by the end of the day. Communication broke further after that and resulted in our company repossessing a tile shower.”
‘Repossessing’ the tile caused considerably more damage to both the homeowners property and the firms reputation. On camera Gregory was recorded saying “Is someone going to pay me? Let me tell you something. No contractor in the state of Colorado will fix that when they found out that I took it back because she refused to pay me. No one!” and continued to demolish the bathroom.
That turned out not to be true. After witnessing the video three local area contractors offered to fix Trucke’s bathroom for free. The behavior was all documented on camera and can probably be used in a civil suit against Dream Home Remodels of Colorado at some point. It’s important to note at the end of the day the contractor did not get paid the balance on the work they performed and may have caused future irreparable damage to their reputation for acting in such a fashion. Ultimately it may prove that there may not be a homeowner in the state of Colorado that wants to work with the firm after watching how they resolve conflicts with customers.
What Can Pool Builders Learn From This?
The lesson here as it applies to the pool industry is that no matter how angry a customer may make you, or how justified you feel in your frustration with their behavior and ingratitude, that there are often two sides to every story. Personally, after having seen the photos the homeowner posted, I would not have been eager to pay my final bill either.
A builders first impulse may be to say, “oh that customer is crazy” or “they’re just being difficult”. There are some who immediately shut down to criticism and refuse to accept that their work may not be their “A” effort and could be sub-standard. Not allowing for customer feedback and insisting they pay for work they are unhappy with is a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully we don’t hear stories of unpaid pool contractors acting out on their impulse to destroy a customers backyard. That’s probably the best way possible to go out of business. However, what this whole story can teach us how important it is to listen to the customer and work towards finding the best resolution that satisfies them.
It’s important to note that there are a few huge social media groups that cater to homeowners that are building a pool as well as existing pool owners. For pool builders to ignore the fact that their work is being posted on Facebook and Instagram and being critqued by homeowners is tantamount to living in a vacuum.
It’s a fact that homeowners are giving customers feedback on the pool construction process. When a homeowner encounters an issue that brings quality of construction or build decisions into play, they will often head to one of these groups to get feedback from others.
In some instances the comments they receive may lead to pushback on paying their final bill. How builders handle that criticism and proceed in satisfying their customers are what separates them from the Terry George’s of the world. At the end of the day, it’s probably better to file a mechanics lien than it is to act on impulse and harm your reputation.
How to Hire a Pool Builder
A swimming pool can modify your backyard into a first-class haven. Even so, constructing a pool is not a walk in the park. This process consumes a lot of time and effort. Thus, you have to be careful and employ a reliable pool builder. Keep in mind that they can either make or break your project. Moreover, swimming pools cost thousands of dollars. Subsequently, you cannot afford to hire an unreliable pool contractor.
What is the cost of hiring a pool builder?
Pool construction often varies depending on the pool builder you hire. But on average, it costs $36,700 to $66,500 to build a pool. Most professionals charge approximately $50 to $125 per square foot for pool construction. The labor costs vary depending on the type, size and design of the pool. Pool contractors usually charge more for complex pool designs and landscapes.
Hiring a professional pool builder vs. conducting a DIY project
Some homeowners prefer building their own pools. Constructing a pool is a tedious process, especially if you have no experience. So, you would rather leave this work to a professional pool contractor. Although it might be cheaper to conduct a DIY pool construction project, you might end up spending thousands of dollars in the long run. Remember, any mistake made during pool construction can take a toll on your budget. So, unless you have extensive experience and knowledge of pool construction, always hire a reputable pool company.
How can I find a reliable pool contractor near me?
Generally, it can be hard to find a reputable pool contractor. So, conduct thorough research on the best contractors near your area. From there, compare quotes and narrow down to your best option. Below are some ways that’ll help you settle for the best pool contractor near you.
One of the best ways to find a reputable pool contractor is to ask for referrals from your neighbors, friends or family.
Check customer feedback
Never forget to evaluate all customer reviews and feedback about a company’s services. Pool contractors with the highest ratings are more likely to deliver quality pools. Also, read all the customer reviews. Doing this helps you find the best pool contractor who caters to your needs.
Check pricing, terms and conditions
Different pool installers charge differently. Thus, it is essential to know how much a prospective pool professional charges. Keep in mind that your pool contractor should cater to your requirements and your budget. Also, it is crucial to understand all the terms and conditions of construction before hiring a pool builder.
Is the business legal and licensed?
Get to know a brief history of the company you plan to hire. Check whether they have a valid license and insurance cover.
What are the services offered by pool builders?
Typically, there are many aspects involved in pool construction. Most are always willing to provide all kinds of pool construction services. Some of these pool services include:
- Coming up with the pool design. A good company will always recommend the best pool designs that suit your requirements.
- Obtain all the pool construction permits for you.
- Excavating and setting a good foundation for the pool.
- Putting up the rebar framework.
- Installing all pool equipment; pool filter, pump and heater.
- Installing additional features in the pool.
Do you need to hire a pool builder?
After knowing the pool type and design, you wish to install, decide whether you want to hire a pool builder. A pool builder is undoubtedly necessary if you have zero knowledge of pool construction. Pools incorporate a long construction period. Thus, it would be best to hire a professional pool contractor to handle the project.
What should you tell your pool builder?
Once you find a reputable pool professional, ask them questions to get clarification on everything concerning pool construction. A good percentage of reliable pool contractors are always willing to address all your queries, fears and doubts. Below are some of the questions you should ask your pool contractor.
- Are you the one responsible for coming up with the pool design? Do you give recommendations based on my requirements?
- Is my landscape fit for excavation? How do you deal with problems with my landscape?
- Are there any challenges that are likely to show up during the pool construction process?
- Do you offer any pool financing options? If you do, how can I apply for the pool loan?
- Do you recommend the equipment and materials I should use for my pool?
- Do you have a valid license and insurance cover?
- Do you offer warranties?
Before hire a pool builder, there are several factors you need to consider. Generally, your contractor should have a valid license, extensive experienced and exhibit professionalism. Remember, pools cost a fortune; so, you have to hire a dependable pool contractor.
Jimmy Reed Is One Of The Elite
Jimmy Reed is unquestionably one of the top experts specializing in glass tile interiors today. A master artisan, he is definitely on a short list of A list installers. When it comes to tile, Reed is often sought out for his expertise in that particular realm.
We had the opportunity to catch up recently on the Pool Magazine podcast and discussed his impressive body of work. Working with a veritable who’s who in the swimming pool industry, Reed’s work has taken him from coast to coast working on some of the most jaw dropping pools in America.
Jimmy Reed Has a Reputation
A native of Southern California his entire life, Reed first began building a reputation on the West Coast for his incredible mastery at installing glass tile interiors. That notoriety has spread over the years to catapult Rock Solid Tile as a premier consulting firm providing expert pool tile installation all over the country. Today he is widely considered by many to be one of the best of the best.
Reed first got his start in tile almost 5 decades ago and has become a permanent fixture in the pool industry. A humble and unassuming person, you’re almost lulled into the false security of believing he’s just a regular guy. In fact Reed is without a doubt one of the crème de la crème when it comes to tile and an important resource for veterans who value his craftsmanship and wealth of knowledge.
“The first important job I ever had the opportunity to work on was for Jaqueline Bissett” who costarred opposite Steve McQueen in the 1968 classic “Bullitt”. Over the years, Reed has worked on tile interiors for a laundry list of Hollywood celebrities and famous athletes.
First getting his start as an assistant in the 70’s, Reed would spend years learning the trade and honing his craft. “I inevitably wound up hiring most of the guys I used to work with” said Reed, discussing his progression to starting his own firm Rock Solid Tile back in the early 80’s.
First starting with luxury tile interiors for kitchens and bathrooms, as tile interiors began to become more popular in swimming pools, Reed would eventually focus on making that a bigger part of his repertoire. “It was kind of a new thing back then, especially in L.A. to be doing an all tile pool interior.” said Reed. Over the years glass tile would become a mainstay with him. “Glass tile really began to take off around the late 80’s” said Reed, “over 85% of the pool interiors we do today involve glass tile”, he explained.
Seeing as though he’s collaborated with some of the most well known designers and builders in the pool industry, we wanted to know Reed’s process for consulting on a high end glass interior.
“Every project is different and I get called in at all different times,” said Reed, “Often, I’ll get the call before the pool is even built and be the first one called in to consult with a client who doesn’t have a pool or they have an existing pool they want to add tile to.”
This was certainly the case on a major remodel Reed worked on with Dave Penton, Alison Terry, and David Peterson for one luxury home owner in San Marino, California. The homeowner had the budget and the desire for a complete pool and landscape makeover.
While elite pool builders know to consult with Reed when it comes to glass tile, Reed likewise knew to tap his resources in the industry to consult when adding on all of the extras the client was asking for to compliment the $250,000 glass tile interior he was installing.
“Sometimes I’ll come in and recommend that we create a team with a landscape architect, and a legitimate viable pool builder to really take on the project and make it what they are ultimately looking for.” said Reed.
Advice For Those Aspiring To Learn Glass Tile Interiors
“Learn the techniques and the trade from the ground up, don’t take any shortcuts. It’s not just about putting tile on a pool. There is so much preparation involved. If you can master that, by the time you get to the tile installation part, that should be a breeze.” said Reed.
However when it comes to actually pulling off luxury tile interiors, Reed admits the number of installers capable of doing high end work at that level are far and few between.
Personally, we have seen our fair share of glass tile installations posted to social media showing evidence of catastrophic failure. Consequently, we asked Reed to weigh in on what folks may be doing wrong. Some of the failures have occurred in areas of the country where tile typically experiences more expansion from season to season. Reed stressed that proper surface preparation can account for expansion even in cold environments which aren’t traditional markets for glass tile interiors.
Reed’s best advice for those tempted to take on glass tile if it is outside of their wheelhouse; “Don’t do it, or hire someone that’s experienced in those types of installations” he explained. Suggesting that because of the high price tag associated with glass tile interiors, doing one wrong could be prove to be extremely costly. “Homeowners doing a project of that nature typically have no problem taking care of themselves on an installation that goes wrong. I’d either go into it with the utmost confidence or not do it at all”, said Reed.
Many builders would love to be doing more glass tile interiors but there is a limited number of skilled tradesmen capable of taking on high end work. Many contractors are unwilling to learn how to properly install glass tile. We asked Reed if he saw a lot of that going on in the pool industry. “It’s very true, they don’t need to do the training because they are very busy as it is. It’s like learning a different trade. They don’t see it as learning how to do their trade better, it’s something completely foreign to them.”
For those that want to do high end glass tile interiors Reed explained that there is actually a really short list of installers that specialize in the types of installation work he does, mentioning Tributary peers like Danilo Bonazza and Ray Corral who frequently work on the East Coast.
A Return To The Norm
Although Covid-19 has seen unprecedented demand for inground pools, the pandemic has brought it’s fair share of challenges for many folks in the pool industry. This has also been true for Reed, who has had to scale back his operations. “We’ve been busy, but not as busy as we’re used to. We scaled down so our overhead is lower, our workforce is smaller. We’re still very busy though. This season has been nuts (referring to demand).”
We asked Reed if he expected a return to the norm soon, now that the demand associated for pools due to Covid-19 has begun to taper in the market; to which Reed responded “I do, at least we’re certainly seeing that on our side.”
Listen to our entire interview with Jimmy Reed on the Pool Magazine podcast
When Customers Don’t Want To Pay For Their Pool, Don’t Do This
The Chlorine Shortage Isn’t Over – Alternatives You Should Consider
Best Winterization Products for 2021
Shortages Delaying Pool Construction
Deepest Pool In The World – Deep Dive Dubai
‘The Pool is Caving In’ – Condo Collapse Victim Told Husband
Recent Pool News
- When Customers Don’t Want To Pay For Their Pool, Don’t Do ThisThese guys give contractors everywhere a bad name […]
- The Chlorine Shortage Isn’t Over – Alternatives You Should ConsiderThe pool industry has been facing a chlorine shortage […]
- Cleaning Pools After a WildfireThe recent fires significantly affected the pool […]
- Getting More Out of the Chlorine You Put in the PoolFrom the early years, chlorine has been the main […]
- Alternatives to TrichlorTypically, chlorine is the main disinfection chemical […]
- Cody Pools Acquires Platinum PoolsCody Pools, an Austin-based designer and builder of […]
- Pentair Acquires Pleatco for $255M in CashAlign Capital Partners announced the sale of Pleatco Filtration to Pentair Plc in a $255M cash deal. […]
- 9/11 Memorial Pools – An In Depth Look at The Two Reflecting PoolsOn the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we look at the two pools and Delta Fountains, the pool builders behind the 9/11 Memorial. […]
- Natural Pools – The Pros & Cons of Going Au NaturelWe look at the Pros and Cons of Natural Pools and discuss the chemistry & science behind NSP's. With guests Rudy Stankowitz & Allen Schnaak. […]
- Hurricane Ida Slams Louisiana, Pool Industry Waits to Assess DamagePool Industry Report - Hurricane Ida has utterly ravaged parts of Louisiana and may be responsible for millions in damage. […]
Pool News2 weeks ago
9/11 Memorial Pools – An In Depth Look at The Two Reflecting Pools
Industry News4 weeks ago
Fiberglass Resin Shortage Affecting Manufacturers
Industry News1 week ago
International Pool Spa Patio Expo Will Draw The Entire Industry
Videos5 days ago
Lava Fills Swimming Pool in Spain, Incredible Video Footage
Pool News3 weeks ago
Natural Pools – The Pros & Cons of Going Au Naturel
Pool News2 weeks ago
Pentair Acquires Pleatco for $255M in Cash
Pools1 week ago
The One – “World’s Most Expensive Home” Has 5 Pools
Pool News4 weeks ago
Hurricane Ida Slams Louisiana, Pool Industry Waits to Assess Damage