This is a very important question. Much can be determined about a swimming pool contractor by how he handles the estimating process. By doing your research, you should be able to narrow down your search to 2 or 3 qualified contractors. Each of the contractors, or their representatives, should do the following things:* Come to your home and accurately measure your yard. If a contractor is unwilling to do this, or if he asks you to pay for this basic service, you should move on without further consideration.* Consult with you to determine your needs and desires regarding your use of the pool, your preferences in design (See "How do I choose a design?"), and provide a scale drawing of the pool and backyard. This process might require several revisions until you are completely satisfied with the results. You should not expect the contractor to leave the drawings with you for other, less talented designers to copy. This is the work product for which he is paid, and it is not common to leave it behind. Please note, however, that when a decision is made and a final plan is prepared, you are entitled to a complete copy before the actual construction process begins.* Provide you with a written proposal that defines all of the features included in the project. This document may be many pages long and should define the responsibilities of both the contractor and you as the homeowner. Beware of the contractor who gives you a slip of paper with a price written on it or a “bid” that is not specific. The proposal should include at least the following information:1. Pool and Spa lengths and widths (to match the scale drawing)2. Materials to be used as trim around the pool3. Type and amount of decking4. Utility runs and hook-ups5. Equipment to be installed (Pumps, Filter, Heater, Controller, Etc.)6. Responsibilities of homeowner7. Warranty information8. Contact information (Office and/or Cell phones)Each of the tasks noted above will help give you a clear picture of what the pool project will cost and how to complete the project effectively. If a contractor skips any of these basic requirements, you have good reason to be concerned about the accuracy of the estimate and the true final cost. Remember, a substantially lower bid might indicate a mistake or lack of knowledge or experience. A bid that is “too good to be true” may cost you a lot more in the long run or may never be completed."this info was acquired on the pool genius network but i thought it needed to be more accessible"One should provide at a minimum the above services in order to be successful.
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  • Thanks Ben,

    Two extremely good points to bring to the surface. I agree 100% on the ask your friend policy.
    Until recently we have been a "by referral business" and only now in this time of economic uncertainty do we recognize the importance of following the social networking trend in order to remain a power in the market. I do still expect a large % of my business this season to come from this method of customer referral

    As far as mention of purpose, lets say... limit purpose or desired use to descriptions like:
    "run additional plumbing to pool and equipment area to allow for additional water feature"

    and stay away from descriptions such as:

    "Install one (1) owner provided rock for use as "jump rock" @ deep end of pool",

    instead lets say,

    "Install one (1) owner provided rock at bond beam, as per owner.
  • I agree with almost everting you have stated.
    I might also add that the consumer should ask people whom they come in contact with for referrals because the most successful contractor may not advertise and they could not even call him unless they ask numerous people for references and see who's name comes up most often.
    Also I am very careful when selling to not get into the use and purposes for the pool in writing because if their is ever an injury associated with the pool an attorneys best resourse against you will be anything written concerning use and purpose.
    Obviously we take the use and purpose into consideration in the design making the pool work for the owner but never in writing or even verbaly will I say this will meet the way you intend to use the pool or for what purpose.
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