alpha omega pools

Essential Contractor Considerations:

Your decision in choosing the right contractor will impact your enjoyment of your pool more than any other consideration in the years to follow.  The right contractor can perform the work in such a way as to make your pool as trouble-free for many years; the wrong contractor can cause problems that may end up more costly to correct than the original job!  The right contractor can make the process a joy where you are guided through all the essential considerations of the work that needs to be done and help you intelligently chart the course for your pool's renovation; the wrong contractor can leave you in the dark, not keep your best interests in mind, or simply ignore you.  So 'doing your homework' at the beginning of a project will make all the difference in determining how it comes out!

To properly evaluate who will best perform your work and leave you with a smile on your face once it's all done, you will need to explore three key areas:

  • each contractor's business focus
  • each contractor's reputation in the marketplace
  • each contractor's standing with the proper licensing agencies, and
  • each contractor's personal dynamic as you interact with them

One of the first practical consideration should be, 'Does this contractor regularly undertake the kind of work i need done?'  You do not want your job to be the one on which a contractor is hoping to gain experience and enter a new line of work! It would also be valuable to know if the person you are initially dealing with will be the same one who does the work, or at a minimum, the one who will continue as your point of contact during the entire job.  Additionally, the northwest is not a year-round swimming region so there is an industry tendency to become a 'jack-of-all-trades' just to stay afloat.  Our region does have some reputable companies, businesses with which I'm proud to associate and refer customers.  So to begin with, but sure you are dealing with someone who first off is experienced in the work you need done.

The second obvious consideration is whether the contractor is in good standing with their former customers and does their work hold up over a reasonable time.  Angie's List and other evaluation services have grown in popularity and can offer some insight to a contractor's standing in the community.  I especially suggest requesting a contractor's references for work completed recently (last 6-9 months) and for work completed about 5 years ago.  This will help you establish their continuity in the industry, the longevity of that reputation, and overall standing.  Then it only makes sense to follow through and call each of the references.  Diligence here can only strengthen your position as a contracting homeowner.  You might ask them questions like:

  1. are you satisfied with their finished product?
  2. did they perform the work as agreed?
  3. were they responsive when you had questions or things didn't end up as you thought they should?
  4. would you exclusively go to them again to do the same work a second time?

The third step in evaluating a contractor is to check their standing as a licensed contractor by looking them up online.  Washington State has a site where you can get basic information on every properly licensed contractor including current liability insurance and bond details, as well as any 'unsatisfied complaints'  You can find this information at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries site.

The last consideration that would be important to examine is your own personal priorities:

  1. do i trust this person?
  2. do i believe i can work with them?
  3. do they seem responsive to my concerns?
  4. do i think they have my best interests at heart?
  5. are they easy to get ahold of when i have a question?
These are the kind of things that make a working relationship go well or poorly, so it's good to honestly ask yourself those questions.  Most often your personal perception of them will make itself known once you've 'slept on it'.  We've all had experiences where everything seemed fine but we still had that 'nagging feeling' that things just weren't right, just as we've had situations where our first reaction toward someone proved wrong over time, so it's worthwhile to address this additional consideration before signing on the dotted line.

Likely, your job will involve some expense, and it will be something that is used frequently during the precious few months of summer. So doing your homework before hand can allow you the best chance of a trouble-free renovation.  I hope these considerations will be of help.

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