Unfortunately, with the boom in the pool industry, the not-so-ethical builders are back in full force. These are builders who agree to build your pool, but never finish and leave you with your hands in your pocket wondering what happened to all your money. There are a variety of reasons why pool builders do not fulfill their commitments. For starters, some are well-meaning folks with a case of what I like to call "Yes-itis"- when you say yes to every job regardless of your ability to fulfill your promises. Some others are well-meaning folks who simply lack experience. They get in over their heads, don't know what to do or how to fix it, and bail. Finally, you have the worst kind- the two-bit, no good con-artist scumbag that shouldn't be allowed to walk the streets. These guys are almost always smooth talkers, and you may even find yourself thinking, "This seems too good to be true"... it probably IS too good to be true. I personally know of so-called pool builders who have burned homeowners and subcontractors for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and yet they are still building pools today.
The unfortunate reality is that the justice system is extremely out-of-date and lenient when it comes to dealing with these scammers. The so-called builder can collect tens of thousands of dollars (or more) from homeowners, not pay any of their subcontractors, and then walk away scot-free. As a further slap in the face to the homeowner, sadly the only legal recourse that a subcontractor has to collect money owed is to file a lien on the property, leaving the homeowner once again in the lurch to pay more money on top of what has already been paid for an incomplete job. These laws really need to change.
I've never been one to sell the F.U.D.- Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt- but in the last 20 years in this business, I haven't run across SO MANY homeowners having problems with their pool builder. It makes a strong argument for the licensing of ALL contractors, including pool builders. However, until that day comes, I would suggest taking your time when selecting a builder. Don't ever allow anyone to pressure you into signing a contract. Ask for and call as many references as you can get. Check out their online reputation, look them up on the Better Business Bureau, see what people are saying about them on Angie's List, etc. Are they members of a reputable builders organization, such as American Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP)? Do your due diligence and go in with your eyes open. While this may not guarantee a problem-free project, it will certainly help move you a long way towards finding an honest and reputable pool builder. Remember- if they have to tell you how honest they are... that's probably a red flag.
The good news is that there are lots of great pool builders in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, most of whom are terrific companies that do their best on a daily basis. Though they may not be perfect, you can be sure that they can address any problems and mistakes that may arise, be a phone call away if there is a misunderstanding, and will do what they say they are going to do, to the best of their ability.