Originally Posted by wisemonkey
I have read the pool reccomendations thread but I wanted to get some new information for 2012. We are looking at the following builders:
Would anyone be willing to share their stories, references or provide guidance? This is a huge purchase for us and we want to do this right.
Thanks in advance!!!
We went with Gary Pools because Keith Zars wanted 10k more for "a rectangle." When one of KZ's sales guys came out, he was very friendly and he said he would go back and design us a pool to match our yard. Three days later I called him and he said "oh, oh yes.. let me email it to you. " and it was clear he simply took an old drawing, put my name on it, and emailed it. There was no design to it at all. And the price was insulting!
Gary Pools did a custom, free form, pool at less than KZ's intro prices. I'm not saying KZ is a bad manufacturer, by any means, I simply had a bad experience.
Find out how thick their pool is. Gary's used gunite, blown concrete, and they had one of the thicker standards out there. Find out about the drain and what happens if you ever need to do any repairs on it - can they access the plumbing. We also have a two-speed pump which, theoretically, saves us money by running the pump on low 95% of the time.
We didn't go for any of the fancy technology. You an easily spend another 10k by adding things you don't need. The most important thing is a SOUND AND STABLE pool! The rest you can do later or do yourself
Find out how long it'll take them to build, start to finish. Find out what their policy is for restoring your lawn back to normal -- their trucks will tear up grass, trees, patios, etc. Are they going to put humpty dumpty back together or is that cost on you?
Most importantly DO NOT go with someone who is new to the industry. It sounds like you're looking at the right companies, though I do not know all of them, but you want to go with someone who will be here for you when/if something happens. Keith Zars has been here forever and should be a great company for years to come. I say this because an ex coworker went with one of those "deals" and the guy promised landscaping, technology, etc., but he couldn't deliver. Last I knew, it took him over a year to get his pool finished! I probably paid 8-10k more than he did for my Gary's Pool but I know it's well built :-)
Lastly -- the things we did get that I love are little "umbrella sleeves" in the pool deck (flagstone). They're really great to use for umbrellas for shade in the pool or to put up a volley ball net. I had no idea I could do that -- it was a Gary Pools recommendation