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So, what can you do to find a reliable swimming pool contractor?

  1. Ask everybody you can if they know a good pool contractor: Neighbors, friends, HOA, City Building and Safety Department, and your local Chamber of Commerce are places to start.
  2. Check all potential builders’ license status at the California State Contractor’s license board ( You can check to see if the builders are currently licensed and have a clean record, and if they have the required workers’ compensation insurance, liability insurance, and bond.
  3. Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints. I would always recommend calling and getting the report emailed to you—not all complaints show up on the website
  4. Get more than one estimate!
  5.  Do an internet search about the contractors you want to have out—you’ll learn that not all San Diego pool contractors are alike.
  6.  When it comes to most companies, you will probably end up dealing with a franchise. Since they aren’t owned locally, they may go under different names—because of this, you may need to check actual and fictitious names at your local assessor’s office. The company name may be a logo and not the actual name your company uses to beat lawsuits. You may want to check court records of counties near you for judgments and liens against any company you choose to do business with. Recent court action can be indicative of future problems.
  7.  Most importantly, hire only licensed contractors. Using a “consultant” (a non-licensed person) is risky business: No warranties, little or no supervision, and using workers doing it as a side job. If anyone gets hurt on your property, then you alone are responsible for any litigation. I’ve been involved in the construction of many pools that “consultants” have started and never finished.

Common mistakes when picking out a swimming pool contractor:

Shopping like you are buying a car.
Pool construction, like most custom construction projects, is coordinated through many specialized trades.  All of these different trades offer varying degrees of standards and attention to detail.  Unlike a car manufactured in a factory under controlled conditions, a pool never has the same engineering features exacted to detail.  So, much of what you don’t see is what impacts the future cost of your pool ownership.

Not asking enough questions. 
Do not assume every builder is going to educate you, or is capable doing so, for that matter. The more you know and understand, the better buyer you will ultimately be. This helps you and your pool contractor. Do your homework. Check every contractor out thoroughly, call references, and be sure the contractor is who they say they are.   Consider the saying, “If you think the cost of a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Paralysis by analysis.
This is when someone gets 5-10 or more estimates for swimming pool construction and then cannot make a decision because they have become so overloaded with information (and disinformation). Do your due diligence and get 3 or 4 estimates from reputable swimming pool companies. Then make your decision and go with it.

Shopping based strictly on price. 
Usually if a deal seems too good to be true, it is! If you shop for price alone, you are destined to be disappointed. Bottom line: you usually get what you pay for – equipment, experience of the personnel, etc., all plays a big part in the pool cost.

There are many factors to the cost of the pool, such as shotcrete vs. gunite, experience of the contractor, type/size of the pool equipment, the amount of excavation time included in the contract, and extras most companies don’t (BUT SHOULD) include: mastic, 2? tile trim, an auto chlorinator, startup tools, 2.5? plumbing, pool sweep, and dedicated suction line.  All of these things add up to thousands of dollars in costs that other companies hope you’ll overlook.  I can only promise that every pool we build uses the same equipment and standards that go into our pools—NO EXCEPTIONS.

Assuming swimming pools cost less to build in the wintertime. 
We have seen increases in steel prices, concrete shortages, gas increases, and insurance premium hikes every year.  Swimming pools never get cheaper as time goes on; in fact, most price increases come towards the end of each year and take effect January-April, such as the pool equipment itself.

Focusing on the aesthetics and not the mechanicals of the project. 
Hydraulic design, flow rates, pipe size, pump and filter types, chemical management systems, and many other factors will make a difference in the ability of your swimming pool to stay clean and sanitized.

*Commonly asked questions about building a pool*

Q. How long should it take to build my pool?
A. For the typical pool, it should take 6-8 weeks to finish from the day of excavation (depending on rain and winter holidays)…  A simple way to make sure your contractor finishes in those 3 months is to employ a penalty clause, where each day over the specified time costs the contractor $200 per day or more.

Q. Should I expect work on my pool every day?
A. No.  You can expect one crew per week in the summertime.  We schedule all work long before it’s actually needed.  For example, your steel date is scheduled weeks before we even dig your pool.  Of course, we leave time between steps, just in case something small comes up.

Q. Do I need to be home when work is being done?
A. There is really only three times you need to be home: the day we lay out the pool in the yard, the day of shotcrete (so we can put all benches and steps EXACTLY where you want them—I find most people to be visual), and finally the day of your preplaster inspection, where they check your door alarms, fences, and gates.

Building Reality #1 – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  In reality, no contractor does everything in-house anymore—we all subcontract some of our work out.  The practice of hiding this fact produces the biggest misconceptions around. “We are completely in house so we can control the construction schedule.”   That sounds nice, but in fact, a contractor only needs five years in the business before they are eligible to start out on their own.  That means that most people who employ in-house labor are using people with less than those five years or paying their own workers a premium.  Lesser experience means lesser quality.

Building Tip #2 – Treat your city building inspector with respect and great care.  For some cities, there is only one building inspector.  Losing your temper with him/her may hinder a pool inspection, from beginning to end.  Also, many inspections fail because the inspector can’t get in; your dogs are loose or the inspector couldn’t find the job file that should be kept outside in plain view at all times (usually on top of the heater).
Below Are the Engineering Secrets That Make Us the Finest Quality Pool Builder in All of Southern California

We Use 4000 PSI Shotcrete.
Pool shell is more resistant to hydraulic pressures and structural stress factors—increases the structural integrity of the pool shell, especially during ground movement and earthquakes. Code: Not Required

Solid Steel Cage Around Skimmer
Completely eliminates the possibility of the skimmer moving, separating from the pool, and leaking out water— thus saving thousands of dollars in damage and repair bills. Code: 3# Bars of steel

We Waterproof Shotcrete on Raised Bond Beams, Vanishing Edges, and other Dam Walls
Eliminates water in raised planters from leaking into the pool through the tile grout joints, which eliminates the ugly-looking white calcium buildup on the tiles and grout joints. Code: Not Required

We Use Acrylic Admix in Our Thinset
This bonds the tile to the pool much better, doubling the years of your tile’s bond to the pool. Code: Not Required
We Use Acrylic and Anti Hydrate Addmix in Tile Grout
Increases the bond, extra waterproof protection, reduces grout cracking, grout stays cleaner, and is also easier to clean if necessary. Code: Not Required

All Light Niches, Return Lines and Spa Jets Are Waterproofed Prior to Plaster
Reduces the possibility of water leaking out of the pool or spa. Makes for nicer, cleaner installation of hardware. Code: Not Required

All Pool Plumbing Is Coated with Primer Prior To Gluing
Primer completely cleans and softens the glue fittings for stronger adhesion, reducing the possibility of plumbing leaks. Code: Not Required

We Pressure Test Our Plumbing Throughout the Building Process
This additional pressure ensures that all glue fittings are completely glued and connected. This gives your plumbing added protection that it will not come apart even under extreme conditions. Code:  Not Required