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Stephanie Garland: Examine pool contractors earlier than diving in | Enterprise

A swim in a backyard pool is a great way to cool off on a hot day in the Four State Area. If you don’t have one and are not the home improvement guy, you may need to find a contractor to install your pool – and it’s important to do your homework before you take the plunge.

The Better Business Bureau received more than 1,800 complaints about pool entrepreneurs in the past year. Complaints range from customer service issues to non-performance of work or warranty claims.

A customer told BBB that a pool was leaking so badly that it had to be refilled every other day. The contractor made several attempts to fix the pool, but the homeowner still had issues that were not resolved.

Consumers need to think about how they and their family use a pool, weigh the cost, and decide which type will suit their budget and space. Swimming pools can require a significant investment, especially in-ground pools. They require frequent cleaning during the season and proper closing and opening at the end and beginning of a season.

BBB advises consumers:

• Obtain at least three offers and compare them. Make sure that the offers include the size of the pool and a detailed list of the materials included in the offer.

• Make sure that the contractor’s documents are in order. Request the contractor’s license and insurance certificates. If you have any questions, please contact the relevant admissions office.

• Ask for references and look at them.

• Review BBB business profiles to determine if a contractor is BBB accredited. Also check to see if the company has been the subject of any complaints and whether the complaints have been resolved.

• Find out who is going to do the real work – the contractor’s or sub-contractor’s employees.

• Ask the contractor for deposit waivers after the project is complete. A deposit waiver shows whether suppliers and subcontractors have been paid.

• Find out whether the builder can carry out site and soil assessments for your property. Consider whether it will require grading or landscaping to complete a pool to your satisfaction.

• Ask about guarantees and whether the contractor will carry out maintenance and repair work after the pool is complete.

• Do not pay the entire amount in advance. Do not make the final payment until the work has been completed to your satisfaction.

You can find help at bbb.org or call 417-862-4222.

Stephanie Garland is the director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield. The counties served by BBB Springfield include Jasper, Newton, McDonald, Lawrence, and Barton counties. Emails can be sent to [email protected]