Just mention a backyard swimming pool and instantly your left and right brain...
Looking to have a pool ready to enjoy by the summer of 2013? Then it’s time to get started with your pool project. Winter and early spring are the best times to start planning and getting your finances and budget in line. Trust us when we tell you not to wait—the phone starts ringing and the appointments start backing up for the best contractors. If you wait too long, you may miss hiring the contractor of your choice.
And, as you consider a contractor, there are some precautions a consumer should consider:
- Is the contractor licensed by the state, and active? A license cannot be active unless the contractor has a surety bond for a minimum of $12,500.00.
- Does the contractor have workman’s compensation coverage for their employees? If they don’t, they need file “exempt”, which means they can only hire licensed sub-contractors.
Here’s an interesting piece of information: Did you know that a contractor’s license number should have six digits? When interviewing a contractor check their license number, which is associated to a period of time when it was issued. For instance, the license numbering system started in the late 1950s or early 60s, and the first issue number was 100000. Licenses issued in the 70s had passed the 300000 mark, and licenses issued in the early 80s started with four. So when a contractor says they’ve been in business since 1980 and their license number starts with a six or larger, you should investigate the accuracy of either their history or their license. Note that the California State Licensing Board (CSLB) is currently issuing numbers that start with nine.
By using agencies, such as the Better Business Bureau and the CSLB, a consumer can verify if the license is valid. Additionally, a consumer should also check to see if there is any disciplinary action against the license.
Does the contractor volunteer past references? If not, that should be a red flag. Visit a jobsite or two, and request to see a project that looks similar to the one that’s been designed for you. For instance, if you chose a design with stamped concrete and colored concrete bands, go look one of their prior projects and see if it meets the quality of craftsmanship you desire. Use the opportunity to talk to the homeowner and see if they were satisfied with all aspects of they experience.
- Was the job done within budget?
- Was the job completed on time?
- How were the crews? Were they friendly, professional and clean?
- Was there follow up after the project was completed?
- Did the homeowner get thorough information on equipment used and operating instructions?
Another important question to ask is about care of the pool during the first few critical months. When the pool is completed, there should be some attention to water chemistry and pool care.
Studies show that savvy consumers select home improvement contractors based on the following: Reputation, price, design quality and the personality of a sales representative who took the time to build a relationship.
Now is the time to collect the information you need about the potential contractors for your pool, whether it is for a family home, a multi-family dwelling or a commercial hotel or resort. When the time comes to hire a contractor, your decision will be a lot easier to make if you start your research now.
Happy summer—make it a splash! If you need a pool or spa consultation, contact Sunset Pools and Spas today by using our online form or by calling (714) 538-4398.