When Can You Start? – A Cautionary Tale

This is a very dangerous time of the year for most pool buyers. The reason is very simple – the questions no longer are about the quality of the pool, or the abilities of the builder.  Now the most asked question is, “when can you start?”.   I had a first hand example of this last week, when I answered the phone.  A lady told me that she and her husband were thinking of putting in a new fiberglass pool.  She wanted a deep pool, with a diving board and a slide, and when could I start?  I explained that we were now accepting deposits to build in July. She said, “well OK – thanks”, and hung up the phone.   About 30 minutes later I answered the phone again, and I heard the same voice again.  She told me she wanted a fiberglass pool that was a deep pool, with a diving board and a slide, and when could I start.  I was taken aback, but I answered as before, and again she said, “OK, thanks” and she was gone.  Then I realized she was calling everyone in the book, and I happened to come around twice.  She was unconcerned with price, ability, quality, references or anything except, “when can you start?”.


There are many problems with this kind of shopping, but the biggest one is that some builders will succumb to the temptation to promise an early start, and then leave the project until other jobs are completed.  This means you are then committed to waiting and hoping the builder will come back and finish before the season is over.  If the builder has a public office you can always go in during business hours and insist on seeing the person in charge, but otherwise you are stuck.  Expect things like: “mailbox is full please call back at another time”, or “please leave a message and I’ll get back to you”, and many variations on that theme.  You are now completely at the mercy of the builder.  What can you do?


The best thing to do is determine in the beginning if the builder intends to stay at the project until the job is completed.  You will not find any builders (usually) who will agree to a firm completion date, but I would advise any buyer who is concerned, to insist the builder  give you a time frame on completion.  For Able, we will always ask for a minimum of 30 days to complete your project, however, we may often tell a customer that their project may take 60-90 days for completion if their needs and wants are more labor intensive.  Of course there should be considerations for weather constraints, but if they will not commit to working within a time frame, then you should proceed with extreme caution.  Our goal is to get ourselves in and out of your yard as quickly as possible, while still building you a quality pool that will last a lifetime.


At Able Pools and Spas we compete with some very good builders, who have an excellent work ethic, and while we think we build the best pool, there are others we believe who do a good job and are worthy competitors.  There are others we would caution the homeowner to be very careful of when hearing promises about start times.  It is natural to want your pool as quickly as possible, but it is a fact that this time of the year builders are usually working for people who first contacted them in January.  When you ask about start times and hear they will start next week, be certain to stop and gather as much information as possible, and ask a lot of questions, or you might see your June pool completed in October.


Be wary of pool builders that promise a ‘one week’ pool or a super fast install.  While these pools may be best to satisfy your desire for instant satisfaction, they may not be the pool that is worth the $30,000 or more you may be investing.  It’s scary, we know.  Choose a builder with reputation, back bone and desire to do the right thing, you can’t go wrong from there.



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