Whether it’s vinyl, fiberglass, or gunite, a pool is a significant investment. And the person who installs that pool is in a position of trust: They have your money, your yard, and even the value of your home in their hands. A pool project is a big deal, and there are a few things you should be able to expect from a trustworthy, quality-focused installer.
Honesty seems like it should be a given, but it still should be said. A good, honest pool installer does what they say and says what they mean. They don’t try to come up with excuses for their mistakes. When your pool installer talks, you shouldn’t have to take what they say with a grain of salt.
An honest pool installer is also upfront with you about the requirements and limitations of your project. If your yard will need an unusual amount of preparation to get it pool-ready, your installer should tell you in advance. If the material you want won’t work and they’ll have to substitute a different one, they should tell you as soon as the problem arises. You shouldn’t get to the end of your pool installation and find you aren’t getting what you asked for—or you’re getting what you asked for, but you’re paying twice as much as had been estimated.
Those things—what you asked for, and what you’ll likely have to pay—and many others should be laid out clearly beforehand. Before the first shovel touches the dirt in your yard, you should have a document outlining everything that will be done, every cost that will be incurred, and everything you’re going to receive in the end. And if anything changes along the way (and let’s be realistic, there are always a couple of things that change in any big project), you should receive clear, detailed updates about that, too. Surprises are fun on your birthday, but not when you’re pulling out your credit card to overpay for your new pool.
Once the details of your pool installation are set, your installer should stick to them. They should follow the agreed-upon schedule, and they should give you enough warning time as possible if they’re going to have to deviate from that schedule. If they say they’re going to have to tear up a certain area of your lawn, they shouldn’t tear up more without good reason and without talking to you first. There’s no point in agreeing on those details—and writing them down—if your installer isn’t going to follow them.
There are lots of opportunities to add to the cost of a pool project. There are materials that are similar but way costlier than other materials. There are accessories that are nice to have but not necessary. There are changes that are relatively small but make a big difference to the bottom line. Your installer should respect your wishes and not try to upsell you to pad the bill. If you genuinely would be better off with the more expensive material or custom feature, they should be open about it. But if what you want is also what’s best for you, they shouldn’t pressure you. Your pool installer is the expert, and you should be able to trust that what they’re saying is the truth.
Your pool installer should actually be an expert. They should know what they’re talking about. They should have experience. They should have knowledge. They should have leadership abilities to lead their team, and an understanding of the process to be able to support their team. They should also have common sense. It shouldn’t be on you to do heavy research and nudge them along—that’s their job.
If you have a question, concern, or realization, your pool installer should be available to address it. They won’t necessarily be able to pick up the phone every time it rings—they have a lot of things to do, like, for instance, installing your pool. But they should return phone calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time. They should answer questions thoroughly without you having to constantly nag them for details. The person holding a considerable amount of your money should be available to tell you what they’re doing with it.
Your installer should interact with you respectfully. They shouldn’t talk down to you, just because they’re the expert and you’re the client. They shouldn’t treat you like an annoyance. You should be able to come away from any interactions with them feeling good.
It takes a good installer to install a good pool.
Of course, it’s important to be a good client. All the things you should expect from your pool installer, they should be able to expect from you. But you should be able to expect nothing less. At the end of the project, you should be happy to hire that installer again if another project comes up. Because quality doesn’t just mean the finished pool looks good and holds together—it means the entire experience was good and held together the whole way.