Swimming Pool Construction: Selecting a Contractor
Swimming pools require specific classifications of contractors. This step tells you who meets the qualifications, and how to find the best contractor for your job.
In California, any contracting job—including swimming pool construction or repair—that costs $500 or more must be performed by a contractor who holds a current, valid contractor license, in the classification for which they are contracting.
Contractors who build or repair swimming pools must be licensed as swimming pool contractors. A general building contractor may also contract for swimming pool work provided the general building contractor holds the swimming pool specialty classification, hires a licensed swimming pool specialty contractor to perform the work, or oversees the construction of the pool and its solar heating system or other feature of the project unrelated to the pool construction trade.
Other contractors, such as plumbers or landscapers, should work within their license classification, and cannot be responsible for the overall project. Landscape contractors may contract for a swimming pool, if it is part of a larger landscaping project.
Homeowners who are considering swimming pool construction may work with a salesperson. The law does allow licensed contractors to employ registered home improvement salespeople (HIS) to solicit, negotiate, sell, or execute contracts, including swimming pool construction and repair.
Salespeople who sell, negotiate, or execute home improvement contracts, including swimming pool contracts, for a licensed contractor away from the contractor's normal place of business (such as in your home), must be registered with CSLB. Home improvement salespeople must be ready to present to you their HIS registration.
Verify that the contractor license or HIS registration is in the name that is presented to you, and that it is current and active. Ask the contractor or salesperson to see his/her identification. When reviewing the HIS registration be sure to check that the name of the swimming pool company with which you are doing business is listed on that registration.
Get referrals from friends or family. You may also get referrals from trade associations, such as a local builders' exchange or a swimming pool and spa association.
Get references from the contractor—at least one current and one completed. When you call to talk to the client about the job, be sure to ask how the project was handled and about their satisfaction with the contractor, subconractors and employees, as well as the completed job.
Get at least three bids to compare.