Hot Tubs, Swim Spas, Service, and Maintenance

Dealing with Unknown Contractors


There are benefits to working with a company that has been in business for almost forty years because we know what we are doing and have been around the block, so to speak.  Experience saves you time and money and a recent article written in the pool and spa industry's leading magazine illustrates some of the troubles that come with hiring contractors with less experience who might be offering cut-rate pricing but could cost you more in the end.

Rebecca Robledo, the Senior Editor,  wrote an article in the February 2013 edition of Pool & Spa News about the dangers of hiring unknown contractors to do pool construction.  Here are some of her highlights along with some of our experiences at Tropical Fiberglass Pools and Spas.
“You’ve been there before. A homeowner or general contractor has a friend of a friend’s brother who offered to do one stage of construction for a good price. You haven’t heard of this person before, so you don’t know their work.  When this happens, it raises a number of issues.”

What happens if the person doesn’t perform well?  Are you protected?  Can the project proceed smoothly?  Was it worth the money you saved, or will you end up paying more in the long run?  Sometimes hiring someone you don’t know to save a few dollars might seem good up front, but in the long run isn’t such a great idea.  Additionally, the general contractor you have hired may have some good reasons for not wanting to hire your cousin’s neighbor’s brother to help out on core stage of construction. He is not being stingy, but smart.

Consider digging a hole for a pool.  According to Robledo some contractors will not take any chances with untried excavators because it is a precision job that can affect the rest of the project’s success and it is not often noticed until later.

At Tropical Pools, we have seen the same thing.  Sometimes owners will want to hire out their own excavators to save money, because there are quite a few guys around town with backhoes who can dig holes, but if they are not experienced digging a swimming pool holes it is easy to over-dig the hole and then the homeowner is responsible for putting the extra sand needed to go back into the hole…thus negating the savings, or even costing more than what they saved.

Sometimes a contractor has to draw a hard line and lose a job if the homeowner insists on using their own people, and that is a hard call to make by the contractor, because as Mike Giannamore or Aqua Pool & Patio says, “We need work, our guys have got mortgages to pay and kids to feed.”  What many homeowners don’t understand is that using unknown contractors puts the whole job at risk for the general contractor, and can often cost the general contractor more money and open them up to more liability.  It is not that they don’t want to save the homeowner money; it is more about protecting their good name and image and avoiding costly problems.

An example we have noticed at Tropical Pools and Spas is that when a homeowner uses an electrician to hook up a hot tub that is not familiar with hooking up a hot tub.  The electrician can hook up the wiring wrong and then have to come back to fix it.  This usually involves another service charge for the homeowner.    The electricians that we recommend have worked with us and are familiar with hot tubs, so they know what is required and get it right the first time, saving the homeowner headaches and money.

Of course, if you know the person doing the job and know their record of work, there is nothing wrong with using someone else.  Just remember that pool construction is different than home construction and Pool contractors have areas of expertise different than general contractors and should be the people installing swimming pools. That is what they do and they are familiar with the pitfalls and snags that hang up a pool.
To read Rebecca Robledo's full article, go to