This comes up every time I meet with a potential pool owner. In all fairness everyone wants a good deal and I get that completely. However if you are spending $40-$80,000.00 on a fiberglass pool, wouldn't you rather spend a little more on a builder that has the most experience and knowledge in the field of fiberglass pools then save a little and gamble on an inexperienced builder.
Clearly not all fiberglass pool builders are the same. One of the biggest misconceptions about fiberglass pools are that they are super easy to install. Nothing is as easy as it is made out to be online. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with building a fiberglass pool. They can go bad fast and they can cost alot of money to fix. This is when experience and knowledge are priceless.
EASE OF INSTALLATION = MANY UNQUALIFIED BUILDERS
Another drawback of the percieved ease on installation is the general lack of any pool building or service experience by builders. Since fiberglass pools are percieved to be so easy to install there are people with no pool industry experience getting into building fiberglass pools. Home Builders, Landscapers, etc. All with no formal training or service experience in the pool induistry. The lenght of time the average fiberglass pool builder has been building pools is 3 years or less! Do you really want to trust your project to that?
LOW BALL PRICING PRACTICES
With lack of experience comes a typicall low ball price. The only way these companies can sell pools is based on having the lowest price. These budget builders are typically around for a few years and then they are gone leaving their clients hanging. Part of it is due to low quality work and part of it is due to not knowing how to structure pricing to sustain a seasonal business in Wisconsin.
OTHER POOL RELATED SERVICES
Not only that but most of these builders dont offer service after the sale. Do they offer a weekly maintenance service, pool closing, and openings, troubleshooting or chemical and supply sales. If your builder does not offer all of theses services and more they are not a legitimate pool company. A Pool company needs to take care of the pool owners after the sale as well. A builder that only wants to build your pool and get out is known as a "Build and Bail" contractor. Do you really want to trust your project to a builder like that?
This is a very big problem in the Appleton and Fox Valley Area. The list below is a compliation of fiberglass pool builders that have come and gone over the last few years.
1: Siesta Creations: This company was notorious for building the least expensive projects around. It showed in there work. After a few years in business and multiple lawsuits they closed up shop.
2: Siesta Pool Creations: The same group of guys tweaked the name of their company a little bit and started building pools again. This lasted a short time and then they closed up shop again.
3: Bikini Blue Pools: The same group of guys form Siesta Creations started another pool company under a different name and started building pools in the area again. Again, the quality issues caught up to them again and they closed up shop.
4: Swimscapes: Another failed attempt by the same group of guys from Siesta Creations to start another pool company in Kaukauna, WI.
5: GT Spas: Based in Manitiwoc this company started out as a pool store that sold above gorund pools and hot tubs. They branched inot building pools and the company was eventually sold to a new owner who began building fiberglass pools. His lack of pool building experience hurt the quality of the pools with some being built 3" out of level, which forced the company to close its doors. It repoend as Hubs and Tubs, although it is still run by the same ownership of GT Spas.
6: Cannonball Pools: A fox valley based home builder started this company and built fiberglass pools for a short time before clsoing up shop.
7: The Pool and Spa Center in Oshkosh and Appleton: This long standing but small pool and spa company out of Oshkosh was taken over in the mid 2000's by onwership with no pool industry experience. It showed. The company built fiberglass pools for several years until they lost their lead builder and service guy. Since the owner had limited knowledge of what really goes on in the pool industry, they were forced to close up shop.
8: Vanderloop Pools: This company was a landscaper that decided to get into pool building in the Appleton area. Last I heard they closed up shop on 2017.
9: Northern Pools: A local concrete company thought they would take over the pool world by storm. They fizzled out for the 2nd time in 2016 from what I have been told.
10: Kubiak Pools: Not a fiberglass pool builder but arguably the largest pool builder in Wisconsin for decades, they closed up shop midway through building coach Mike Mc Carthy's pool. He was left high and dry.
11:Mermaid Pools: Another concrete company based in Suamico,that attempted to make it in the pool building world. They closed up shop in 2015.
EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES
While I am pointing out the negatives of my failed competitors, I have to admit that we at Pool Pros make mistakes too. Not every project goes flawlessly. We someitme have issues with weather, pool deliveries are some times off schedule, equipment can break down, on and on and on.
The Difference from Pool Pros and these companies that dont exist anymore is that we had the experience to address any issues we had and we stand behind our work. If we didnt we wouldnt be in business.
With that experience comes the fact that I know what it takes to stay in business. I know what it costs to operate a business and keep the doors open. In turn this allows me to accuratley price out our pool projects to the point that we can sustain the business while giving each client a fair price. I am not a wealthy man and long time pool builders know that building pools is not lucrative. I could have become a police officer which is what I went to school for and made better money and be retired in a few years, but building pools is in my blood, its who I am. Ask yourself this when you meet with your potential pool builders. Are they passionate about what they do or is it just a pay day?
CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE
While I just got done bashing 98% of my competirors, it's time to give credit where it's due.
At the end of the day if you do choose to go with a company other than Pool Pros, the only builder I would recommend in Wisconsin is Poolworks in De Pere. While I dont care for the fiberglass pools that they sell and they dont have the experience building fiberglass pools like Pool Pros does, they do build the best quailty concrete pools around. (Not a fan of concrete either). Poolworks is a large company with the staff to build and service your pool. They are the only other company in the state of Wisconsin that I would recomend.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Research, research,research. Not all fiberglass pool builders are created equal. Make sure you know who your hiring, where they are from, where they are going and if they can service you after the sale. The lowest price never equates to quality. For a true quote on a fiberglass pool visit our fiberglass pool page or contact Pool Pros for a free in home consultation.