BUYER BEWARE: IS YOUR POOL COMPANY LEGIT
The season is upon and with pools in high demand, we are seeing lots of new pool companies pop up around us. As a business that has been around for over three decades, we often cringe at how easy it is now for someone to call themselves a "pool company." Anyone can create a fancy website these days and call themselves a pool company. Unfortunately, those in the business are the ones who often get the calls after the fact when something goes wrong or the job does not get done. So before you hire the first person who pops up in your web search, here is what you should be looking for before you hire.
1. IS THE POOL COMPANY INSURED
There are many aspects of insurance that one thinks about with a company. General liability, worker's compensation insurance, and even car insurance. Is your company able to provide you proof of these insurances? A reputable pool company will be able to provide you proof of all three insurance coverages. Why is this important?
Let's take general liability to start. You hire a company to replace your worn liner. In the process, they cause damage to your deck. What recourse will you have your company is uninsured? You will have to file against your own homeowner's insurance, pay deductibles, and watch your premium increase. Perhaps your insurance company attempts collect against the "company" but will you get far if your company is only a company by name only?
Maybe you are thinking, they are just doing weekly maintenance, how bad could it be? What happens when their vacuum tears your liner or they add shock to your pool without checking for metals causing brown stains.
What about worker's compensation? Maybe you are thinking, not my problem. But what happens when one of the workers from the "company" gets hurt on your property. If the company does not have proper worker's compensation in place, do you know that they can sue the homeowner where they got hurt?
How about motor vehicle insurance? What happens that company backs into your car when pulling out of your driveway? You hope that everyone in Massachusetts driving a vehicle has car insurance, but it is always best to confirm.
A reputable company will be able to declare that they are in fact insured for all three and they will be willing to provide you proof upon request.
2. IS YOUR COMPANY INSTALLING EQUIPMENT AN AUTHORIZED INSTALLER?
Many warranties are tied to the installation of equipment. In short, if you are allowing an unauthorized installer to install equipment at your home, you run a risk of losing your warranties. So even if that liner or pump you installed is defective, you won't get far with the manufacturer if you weren't using an authorized installer. This then goes back to insurance because if that unauthorized installer makes an error, you can be stuck with the bill.
How do you know if they are authorized maybe a bit harder to find out. The best way to do it would be to go to the website for the product and see if your company shows up in their dealer database.
Again, there are a lot of companies out there that will get you the product but your pool is an investment and mistakes are costly. Don't be afraid to ask your company about where they obtain their products from, a pump off the internet will not come with the same warranties as one from a legitimate supplier.
3. HOW LONG HAS THE COMPANY BEEN IN BUSINESS?
You spent money to get a pool, you spend money to maintain a pool. Pool companies are a dime a dozen, here one minute, gone the next. There is a reason the ones who have withstood the test of time have done so. A pool is a long term investment. When you are choosing a company, you want one that will be there season after season. Much like many other trades, a well established company can save a lot of headaches down the road if something goes wrong. A good example would be a broken pipe over the winter. It never fails that we will get the call from someone who hired someone to close their pool only to learn a pipe broke over the winter and now the company is out of business. Reputable companies are there to stand by their work and warranty their closing.
Whether it is Aquaknot or one of our longtime acquaintances, your pool is too important to just leave to anyone. Be sure to shop smart for your swimming pools needs.