Poorly constructed and maintained swimming pools are a leading cause of water-related injuries and illnesses. With over 10 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States, about 10 people die from drowning daily, making it the fifth-highest cause of unintentional injury death in the country. More than 50% of surviving drowning victims treated in emergency rooms require hospitalization or some form of further care. Similarly, poor application of pool chemicals caused injuries leading to more than 13,500 emergency room visits in the United States between 2015 and 2017.
Therefore, swimming pool construction and maintenance are best left to professionals near you trained to handle these services according to laid-out guidelines and regulations for the maximum safety of users. Before you hire a swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor near you, here a few important questions to ask:
Are You a Licensed Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Contractor?
Many states typically issue a general contractor's license to contractors that wish to carry out swimming pool construction and maintenance projects. However, the specific requirements for obtaining these licenses differ from state to state. For example, Alabama requires swimming pool construction contractors to obtain a license for projects that exceed $5,000, while California requires all contractors that work on projects worth more than $500 to obtain a license. Some states like Florida also issue swimming pool licenses according to the type of construction and maintenance work that is to be done. Note that in some states, general contractor's licenses are issued at a local level. Examples of these states include Colorado, Kentucky, and Illinois.
You can contact the consumer protection agency situated in your state of residence to find out the specific licensing requirements for swimming pool contractors near you. Make sure that you only hire swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors that meet these requirements. You can also utilize the licensing information website of the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies to look up and verify contractors' licenses.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Contractor?
Swimming pool construction and maintenance projects come with a high risk of on-the-job injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded an average of 3,536 fatal non-boating unintentional drownings annually between 2005 and 2014. 50% of the nonfatal drownings result in hospitalizations and injuries like severe brain damage. The chances of a fall-related injury occurring during a swimming pool construction and maintenance project are also extremely high. According to data published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls, slips, and trips were the second highest cause of fatal occupational injuries in 2019, with 880 incidents recorded.
Hiring a swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor near you that is insured and bonded insulates you from certain financial liabilities. When your contractor is insured, you cannot be held liable if a workplace injury occurs during your project. Likewise, if your contractor is adequately bonded, you will be reimbursed for any losses that you incur if the project is not carried out according to the terms of your contract with the contractor.
Bonding requirements for contractors vary by state and so you should contact the consumer protection agency located in your state of residence to find out the specifics. Always ask your contractor for proof of bonding, and contact the organization that provided the bond to verify this information. Also, request copies of your contractor's insurance certificates and ensure that they include workers' compensation and general liability coverages at the very least.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
There are various types of swimming pools available. The most common include:
- Indoor Pools: these are pools that are built in an area that has at least three walls and a roof. These types of pools are preferable for areas that have cold climates.
- Family/Recreational Pools: these types of pools are typically built like small-scale water parks for fun and recreational activities.
- Infinity Pools: these are custom-built pools that are made to give the impression of water dropping off the edge of a property. Infinity pools are generally more expensive than other types of residential pools.
- Architectural Pools: these types of pools are typically structured and designed to resemble the houses where they are located. They are usually built using the same materials that the house is made of.
- Natural Pools: natural pools are a self-cleaning combination of water gardens and swimming areas. These types of pools usually have a regeneration zone within them that has aquatic landscaping. This regeneration zone functions as the pool's organic cleaning system. Natural pools are typically used by individuals that do not want to swim in chemically treated water.
- Lap Pools: lap pools are pools that are built specifically for health and fitness purposes. They are usually narrow and rectangular. Many lap pools are at least 50 feet long.
- Olympic-size Pools: these are pools that are built according to Olympic swimming competition specifications.
- Plunge Pools: plunge pools are small cold-water pools that are either separate or attached to a larger pool.
- Spools: spools are a blend of swimming pools and spas. They are typically custom-built, cost less, and take up less space than most swimming pools.
- Above-ground Pools: these types of pools are constructed above ground. Above ground are generally easier to install and less costly than in-ground pools. Many above-ground pools are also portable.
In addition to the types of pools, different types of materials are used to construct these pools. They include:
- Alternative finishes like tiles, stones, and ceramics
You should always ask swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors about the type of swimming pool they specialize in. Find out whether the contractor you plan on hiring is capable of constructing the type of swimming pool you want with your preferred pool material. If you need a contractor near you solely for maintenance purposes, make sure that the contractor is adept at cleaning and maintaining the type of swimming pool that you have constructed.
Who Will Do the Work?
Before you hire a swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor near you, you should always find out who will be involved in the actual work. Ask your contractor whether your project will require additional workers or whether any part of the project will be subcontracted. Request for information on any additional workers and make sure that they are all licensed, bonded, and insured.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
A warranty is a type of guarantee that is issued by the seller of a product or service. Warranties can be written, implied, or oral, and they are legally enforceable. Highly proficient contractors near you will willingly provide a warranty as a testament to their workmanship.
Always ask your contractor whether you will be given any warranties at the end of the project. Professional swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors typically offer three types of warranties, a manufacturer's warranty, an equipment warranty, and a workmanship warranty. The manufacturer's warranty covers the material that is used to construct the pool, and they are typically offered if the pool is made from fiberglass, vinyl, or a type of alternative finish. The equipment warranty covers the components of the pool that allow it to function properly. These include pool pumps, salt chlorinators, heaters, and filters. The workmanship warranty covers the actual work done in constructing the pool.
These warranties each have different validity periods. You should always ask for copies of warranties in writing with the terms and conditions of the warranty clearly stated.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Permits are official approvals issued by local government bodies that allow you to carry out certain construction, renovation, and remodeling projects. Constructing or carrying out major maintenance and repairs on a swimming pool typically requires a permit. When you hire a professional swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor, you are generally assured that all the necessary permits for your projects will be obtained. Note that the specific types of projects that require permits vary by location. Therefore, it is always a good idea to contact the local health and building department office near you to find out the swimming pool permit requirements for your city, county, or municipality.
Will You Provide References?
The Federal Trade Commission advises individuals that wish to hire a contractor to request contact details on at least three past clients from the contractor. Make sure that you verify these clients and get reviews on the contractor from them. You can also independently get reviews from clients near you on contractors by using third-party review websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp.
Do You Have a Business License?
Swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors are generally either self-employed or work for a contracting firm. Either way, they typically require a business license to operate. A business license is different from a contractor's license. A contractor's license is issued to an individual and certifies the individual's competency in a particular field. However, a business license is issued to a business and allows it to operate in a particular geographical jurisdiction.
Always hire a swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor that has a valid business license. Contact the Office of the Secretary of State in your state of residence to verify the authenticity of any business license that is given to you. You can also find out the requirements for registering a business with this office. It is estimated that there are over 30.7 million registered small businesses in the United States.
What Are Common Swimming Pool Problems?
Some common problems and signs that indicate the need for a professional swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor are:
- Black spots in the pool
- Murky/cloudy water
- Algae buildup
- Clogged filters
- Excess debris inside the pool
- Low water level
- Pump, heater, and other technical problems
How Much Does Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Cost?
The average cost of constructing a swimming pool in the United States is $15,000 - $45,000. The type of pool you wish to build and the materials used for it determine the total cost. Therefore, you can end up spending as low as $1,000 or as high as $100,000. Post-construction maintenance of your pool will cost you an average of $200 - $400 per month.
Listed below are some swimming pool construction and maintenance cost estimates:
Construction and installation:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance?
The factors that affect the cost of swimming pool construction and maintenance are:
- The type of pool: in-ground pools generally cost more than above-ground pools. Likewise, indoor pools may cost you more if you do not already have an existing structure and you are constructing the pool from scratch
- The size of the pool: bigger in-ground pools require more excavation and therefore more labor
- The type of material used: fiberglass and vinyl pools are generally cheaper than concrete pools
What Qualifications Should Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Contractors Have?
Swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors have no formal educational requirements. However, many of them are either high school graduates or have the equivalent of a high school diploma. Contracting companies that employ swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors typically require them to undergo in-house training courses and programs before assigning jobs to them. Many professional swimming pool construction and maintenance contractors also take advantage of certification opportunities provided by trade associations. An example of the types of associations is the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Contractor?
Hiring a swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor near you that is licensed, insured, and bonded ensures that your project is handled correctly and professionally. Handymen typically handle minor household repair jobs, and they are not trained or equipped to construct and maintain a residential or commercial swimming pool. However, a professional swimming pool construction and maintenance contractor is trained and qualified to handle these types of projects in line with the required health and safety guidelines and regulations.
What Are Common Post Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Expenses?
The most common post swimming pool construction cost is the cost of maintaining your pool. Pool maintenance will cost you an average of $200 - $400 per month. Installing a swimming pool may also increase your electricity costs by $150 - $300 annually.
Pool enhancement and improvement add-ons are also common post swimming pool construction and maintenance expenses. These add-ons are typically not included in the cost of constructing a new pool, and you may have to pay for them separately. For example, getting an automatic pool cleaner can cost you an additional $400 - $700 while building a fence around your pool can cost you $1,000 - $2,000.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Expenses?
A standard homeowner's insurance policy does not cover the cost of constructing or maintaining a swimming pool. However, whether or not a homeowner's policy will cover any damages to an already installed pool usually depends on the insurance company. Many insurance companies categorize above-ground pools as personal property because of their portability. Therefore, these types of pools are generally covered by a homeowner's insurance policy. In-ground pools are usually covered only if they are included in the policy through an external structure's add-on coverage.
As such, you are advised to contact your insurance provider and find out their exact policy on swimming pools. It is also a good idea to make sure that your insurance premiums are always paid up. Note that if your insurance company covers swimming pool damages, it will usually not cover any damage that is caused by negligence or lack of maintenance.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance Contractor?
Yes, you can. The use of digital methods of payment has seen a significant increase in the United States, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. More and more small businesses, including swimming pool contractors near you, are accepting digital payments. Transactions conducted via digital methods are generally more secure, safer, faster, and more convenient than transactions conducted via traditional methods.
Note that you should always let a contractor know your preferred method of payment before beginning a project. Also, if you pay for any products or services with cash, make sure that you collect a receipt of payment for record-keeping purposes.