If you are considering building an in-ground, gunite (or concrete pool), you will have many pool contractors to choose from in the Sugar Land area.  You are probably wondering how to weed out a good contractor from a not-so-good contractor.  Here are some items to consider:

1.  Always ask for references.  Call the previous clients and find out about the experience.  It is important to know how often a supervisor was on site, how long the project took, what “bumps along the road” there were, and in general, how the overall job went for the homeowner.  Another good question you could ask here, is why did THEY choose this contractor?  This should give you lots of insight.

2.  See the actual pool yourself; do not go off of website photos.  Unfortunately, I have found that some contractors websites have illegally used pool photos from other builders.  So be sure to go to at least 2-3 pools and confirm who the builder was.

3.  Check on the contractors insurance – general liability.

4.  Be sure you “click” with your contractor.  You will be working with one another for at least a month & you want to make sure you have a good, easy rapport with one another.  Building is a messy job and things WILL come up.  No job, regardless of whom you choose, will be without its hiccups.  So make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and also that you feel good about the response.

5.  How long has the company been in business?  In this economy, it is especially important to find a contractor that has an established business who can honor warranties and the like.  Look at companies with 5 or more years of experience.  Also keep in mind that each company will come to you with their own area of expertise – find out what that is and make sure that is what you are looking for.  The company that builds the most pools in year isn’t necessarily the best company – that is their strength but it may not necessarily be what you as the homeowner are looking for.  Also, a very important side note to consider is that some companies are merely franchises that a business-owner has purchased.  This owner may or may not know anything about pools but has purchased a successful franchise giving you a false sense of longevity & security.

6.  Talk about the details.  Many times it will be the details in design, overall aesthetics, color scheme, landscape design, etc. that will truly make your backyard the oasis you have been dreaming of.  Make sure your contractor doesn’t just know building, but has an eye for aesthetics or has someone on the team that does.  This will help you achieve not just a hole in the ground for swimming, but will cause you to fall in love with your home all over again, and will bring the outdoors in and vice-versa.

7.  Discuss longevity of your materials, warranties, and ease of use.  If you have the best pool on the block but you don’t know how to use the control panel, you will not be a happy homeowner.  Choose  a builder who will show you the equipment, its’ energy-efficiency (this is HUGE!  It costs a bit more up-front, but it saves you so much more in the long run & is also eco-friendly!; don’t pick the builder with the cheapest price on equipment – you will get what you pay for.  You will definitely see the difference in your energy bills and in the life of your equipment), and how to use it.

8.  Review the bid with your contractor and go over any questions you might have.  There should be transparency in the bid and a break-down of the costs.  Be wary of any “free” specials.  This cost is guaranteed to be added in somewhere else.  As the saying goes, “You don’t get something for nothing.”

Building a pool is a big commitment financially.  So take your time in choosing your builder.  Consider all the items mentioned above and don’t feel the pressure to “interview at least 3 companies”.  This is an old-adage that was meant to encourage competition, but the truth is that if you trust your instincts in regards to the contractor you’ve selected, whether he/she is the first or the fifth, is unimportant.  We recently needed some painting done & the first contractor that came out fit the bill.  We went with him.  We also wanted our carpeted stairs done in wood & actually met with six contractors until we found the one that was right for us.

Also remember, the cheapest bid is probably not the best bid – make sure you know the difference in equipment, materials, and scope of work between each company so you can truly “compare apples to apples”.  With that being said, remember that a pool can be so much more than that.  It can be the memories you make with your family, it can be the vacation every weekend in your own backyard, it can be “the place” for outdoor barbecues and socializing; so make sure that each area of your backyard is as important to your contractor as it is to you.

Here are some companies to consider:

San Jacinto Pools – Located in the Sugar Land area they have been around the Houston area since 1978.  They specialize in pools with natural stone water features.  They prefer to use Pentair and Polaris pool equipment.
Alamo Pools – They are also located in Sugar Land and have roots in the area since 1996.  They focus solely on gunite (concrete) pool construction.
A-bear Pool Innovations – They have been building pools since 1981 in the Sugar Land area.  They prefer to use Pentair pool equipment.
Maddox Custom Pools – Established in 1983 they are based in Rosenberg, TX.  They specialize in salt water pools surrounded with natural stone.  They prefer to use Pentair pool equipment.

Although I can’t say these companies are the “best” in the area you may want to consider them as you search for who you would like to work with.

Here are Reed’s Pool Service and Design we would love to help you with any decisions you need to make while on your journey to the ultimate backyard oasis.  We too build in-ground swimming pools and spas and will be happy to assist you with a quote.