Nolan Hearn here.I felt strongly about this subject and wanted to write it myself. I am not a writer. Sorry in advance for grammatical errors and typos.
It can be stressful deciding which of the many companies you are going to trust with your large investment. With all the horror stories going around about pool builders and poor quality pools, I felt it may be helpful to give some tips on what to look for. This has really been weighing on both my self and Roy Burden. (owner of Pools by Design)
There are good, trustworthy pool builders in The Woodlands. How to find them…
1. Check History- In the booming area that is The Woodlands, Spring, and Conroe there will be some “Fly-by-Night” companies. They swoop in looking to make a quick buck. Giving no thought to keeping a good reputation, they will be gone on to the next city in no time. Not to long ago this nice lady was complaining about bad service and an unfinished pool. I asked her how long has the company been around, are they local, and what did the reviews say about this company? And to no surprise I got back plenty of “Well I do not know”. Sure enough it was a company that had changed names several times, going from bad reputation to bad reputation. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Look up/ask how long have they been in business (under that name), do they have a BBB rating or any other review sites, are they a local company. Roy always says “I live here, I can not afford to have unhappy customers. When I pass by a past client in the store I don’t want to have to duck and hide.” I call them “past clients” but they are more like friends that know they can call us anytime for questions or concerns. Pools by Design’s business plan includes customer service that extends long after the completion of the project.
2.Talk to past clients- Once you decide to invite a sales man over to your home you have put a certain amount of trust in them. However, their one and only goal is to get the job. Unfortunately, that sometimes means they will tell you everything you want to hear, regardless of truthfulness. You have to assume that you will like what they say. But how do you know if its just all talk and no walk? They should bring a customer list. If not, request one (and then wonder why you had to ask for one). It is very important to talk with past clients who have been through the whole process. Here are a few important questions to ask. It should only take a couple minutes, but you will have solid information on the company.
- Overall Experience?
- Are you happy with the final product?
- Was the total amount paid equal to proposal/contract amount? If not,Why? (beware of bait and switch)
- Would you use them again?
3. Do not pay down payment or large % to early. Where a lot of homeowners get in trouble is paying to much to early. If a company insist on a down payment it should be relatively TINY to amount of project. We at Pools by Design do not take a down payment and would not recommend it. Make sure the amount you paid in is in line with the timeline of project. In other words, do not have over 60% of contract amount paid and all to show for it is a hole in the ground. No wonder we hear all the stories about pool builders leaving unfinished pools. In this scenario they already made their money. We at Pools by Design have a draw payment system. In other words, the project is broken down to 5 stages. We finish a stage we get paid. The home owner never pays for something they do not already have.
Save your self a lot of trouble and follow these tips. Whether it is with Pools by Design or someone else make this an enjoyable experience.