Having a pool added to your backyard can be exciting. Many people think the first step is to have a pool contractor come give you an estimate for the building and installation of the pool. But in fact, there are a few things you should do before you even schedule that estimate! Here are those first steps.
Verify That You Really Do Want a Pool
If you are somewhat on the fence about whether or not you truly want a pool, getting an estimate will likely convince you to go ahead with the pool. It will be tough to say "no" after you see all of the beautiful suggestions your contractor has. This might be the right decision, but it could also be the wrong one. Pools are a lot of responsibility and they are not cheap, so take a minute just to verify that all family members are on-board and in agreement about getting a pool before you actually get that first estimate.
Decide How You'll Use the Pool
How you plan to use the pool will determine what kind of pool your contractor recommends for you. So, talk to your other family members, and find out what they are all envisioning when it comes to pool use. Is everyone just planning to lounge in the pool during parties and on hot days, or do you have someone in the family who wants to swim laps and use the pool for exercise?
If the former (party-style lounging) is a priority, your contractor will likely recommend features like built-in stools, a sloped entry, and fountains. On the other hand, if you want to use the pool for exercise, they may recommend a more rectangular design, fewer decorative features, and lane lines. Telling your contractor specifically how you plan to use the pool helps them tailor their estimate — and also ensures you get a pool you love!
Decide Where You Want The Pool
If you're not sure where you want the pool, the contractor won't be able to be as precise with their estimate. The total costs, after all, depend on how much excavation work they need to do and how large they are able to make the pool. And these factors are highly variable depending on where you want the pool. So, spend some time looking at your backyard and drawing out possible scenarios to get a pretty precise idea of where you want the pool. If this location is not quite feasible, your contractor will make other recommendations. But at least the estimate will accurately reflect the costs related to location.
Decide On Your Budget
Chances are that you don't have unlimited cash to spend on a pool. Decide how much you are willing and able to spend before you get an estimate. There are many ways you can subtract or add features to a pool to change the final cost. So, for instance, if your contractor gives you an estimate for $22,000 and your budget was $20,000, you can tell them that their cost is a little more than you can spend and then ask what they can change to bring the pool's value down under $20,000. They may recommend removing a set of stairs or making the pool 2 feet narrower, for example.
If you go into the estimate process without a budget, you may end up over-spending and later regretting your pool purchase.
Once you have tackled the four steps above, you are ready to get estimates. It's a good idea to get at least three from various pool companies so you can compare the ideas and relative prices. Happy pool shopping!