Buying a pool is a big decision and not one to rush into. While a pool is a sound investment, improving your leisure time and potentially adding value to your home, the process of buying and building a pool can be incredibly complex and is fraught with danger.
So before buying a pool it makes sense to do your research. A little time spent up front understanding your requirements and what’s available in the market could save you thousands of dollars and years of disappointment in the future.
Luckily we’re here to help. In order to assist you during your pool buying journey we have compiled the following 5 steps that act as a guide to ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to buying your pool.
As with all major purchases, budget is one of key considerations for pool buyers. Most people will have an idea of what their budget is before they begin looking at pools. If you don’t, give us a call and we’ll help you come up with a budget that is within your financial reach and will provide you with the pool you desire.
Once you’ve determined a budget, stick with it! This may sound like a case of stating the bleeding obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many projects go over budget and how simple steps taken in the design phase could have minimised or eliminated these.
When trying to determine a budget, it’s important that pool buyers understand the total life time cost of their pool. The upfront cost of your pool is only a portion of the total financial commitment you’ll need to make this investment. Different pool construction techniques will carry different maintenance and management costs over the life of your pool. It’s a good idea to get an understanding of these before committing to one particular build type.
With this total cost of ownership model in mind it's worth noting that there are certain decisions that can be made during your pool buying process that can minimise the long term cost of owning a pool. While they may in fact add to your upfront costs, the savings you’ll make in maintenance, cleaning, chemicals, resurfacing or replacing parts will far outweigh the initial financial burden. Buyers often shy away from items like salt chlorine generators for example, believing they are too expensive; however these devices tend to pay for themselves with in two years. Palm Pools and Spa’s is happy to discuss this matter with you and help you understand the total cost of your pool upfront.
As with anything, the cheapest pool isn’t the best pool. In fact it’s normally the worst. Buyers need to understand they are making an investment that will be with them and their family for many years to come. Cheap pools normally mean sacrificing on quality parts, features or workmanship. While the lure of a cheap price may be appealing to those trying to get the most from their investment, in the long run maintenance, breakages and repairs will mean these savings are eaten away and you’re left with an expensive, annoying, substandard pool.
How will you use your pool?
Pools are indeed a luxury item, designed to provide enjoyment and relaxation for you and your family. In order for your needs to be met, you need to determine exactly what they are. This means sitting down and thinking about how your pool will be used both now and into the future. Buyers often spend huge sums of money on the pool they think they should buy, rather than prioritising and buying the pool that will best suit their needs.
It’s important to have understanding not only how you will use your pool but also, how will it fit into the landscape of your back yard. To oversimplify things building an enormous pool with a diving board on small block or town house property really doesn’t make sense. I doubt many readers would make this mistake, but you get the idea.
Below we have compiled a list of items worth considering when designing or buying your pool. If you take a honest, pragmatic look at each of these design elements you’ll take a big step toward determining what it is you’re looking for in a pool.
- Access: How will your pool be positioned in relation to your house? Is the position of your pool safe for children?
- What lies beneath the ground? Get an understanding of any cables, pipes or concrete slabs that may lie under the area you intend to position your pool.
- Storing pool equipment: This is an afterthought for may pool buyers, but has the potential to alter the appearance of your back yard drastically. Generally your pool pump and other pool equipment will be stored in a shed somewhere near your pool. Make sure you consider this when designing your pool layout.
- Trees: It pays to try and keep your pool away from deciduous trees. Fallen tree leaves are not your friend when it comes to pool maintenance.
- The structural integrity of the pool itself. This pertains to the walls, support structures and the fibreglass or concrete used in your pools construction.
- Any additional pool equipment you purchase. Cleaning devices, pumps, skimmers and heaters should all be covered by warranty. They will not always fall on your pools warranty, but they should be covered by some form of warranty.
- The materials and workmanship involved in the piping and plumbing of your pool, particularly pertinent if your pool is heated
- Quick to install
- Easy maintenance - Fibreglass swimming pools are finished with a smooth gel coat that resists algae growth, making the fibreglass swimming pool easy and fast to clean and maintain.
- Wide range of shapes, sizes & colours.
- Any shape, any size. Don't like the standard shapes? Want a swimming pool that is unique and original? A concrete swimming pool is for you. Endless designs and shapes can be developed to make your perfect pool.
- Difficult sites - no problem! (e.g. sloping blocks, bad access).
- Strong and durable - A concrete swimming pool is built to last many.
- Environmentally friendly equipment and construction.
- Who will be working on my project and how many years’ experience does this person have?
- Can I speak to the owner of the business?
- Can I speak to the most recent person you built a pool for?
- What payment is required up front (and what are the other payment milestones)?
- How long will the construction take? How are slipping timelines managed?
- Are you able to coach me through the maintenance and management of my pool?
- Who is responsible for any collateral damage that occurs to my property during the build phase?
- Council or Strata regulations: Understand what you are and are not entitled to do on your land.
Understanding your Warranty
We’ve said it already; a pool is a significant financial investment. It pays to understand where you stand on warranty issues should something untoward happen to your pool. Pool buyers are encouraged to closely read the contract they are issued (even the pesky small print) as this is all you have to fall back on should something go wrong with your pool.
It pays to make sure your warranty has provisions for the following
It’s also important you understand where the responsibility of your pool warranties lie. If your pump breaks, does the pump manufacturer hold responsibility for the warranty or does the dealer hold responsibility? Essentially, you need to know who to call and where you stand should when something go wrong with your pool. It’s also worth getting an insight into the timelines and response rates around your warranty, if your pool is flooding, clearly you’ll need someone urgently, are there provisions for this in your policy?
Concrete or Fibreglass?
This is the age old question when it comes to buying a pool. There is no correct answer here, like most other decisions relating to your pool, this decision comes down to your own personal situation and preferences. To help you make this decision we’ve included an overview of each option.
At Palm Pools and Spas we produce both concrete and fibreglass pools. Give us a call and one of our friendly staff will take the time to understand your needs, your requirements and your budget and will provide you with an unbiased opinion as to which construction technique will best suit you.
Choosing the right builder
This is perhaps the biggest mistake that buyers make. In most industries dodgy, fly-by-night operators ply their trade on unsuspecting victims and the pool building industry is no different. Installing a pool is a huge investment of money and time, so it pays to take your time and make a clear, informed decision on which builder to use.
It’s important to be aware of pushy salesmen, particularly those working for larger pool builders. Many of these operators are incentivised on commission based sales and will have little to no involvement in your pool building process. By dealing with smaller, owner-operator type businesses, you are more likely to be discussing your requirements with someone that actually understands what it takes to build a pool.
The first step to analysing pool builders is to do your research. Use the internet initially, check websites and forums. Questionable operators will likely have been reported in forums and it pays to use caution when it comes to builders with no web presence.
When analysing a builder's credentials, make you are comparing apples with apples. For example, if you are building a fibreglass pool, make sure the builder you choose has expertise in fibreglass constructions, not only concrete.
Below are some questions you can ask a pool builder to help frame your judgement and give you the peace of mind that you are making the right decision.
So, there you have it. Follow these 5 steps and you'll be well on your way to making an informed sensible decision regarding your pool. The next step? Start planning your first pool party!
Red is the owner of Palm Pools and he stands by every pool he builds. You can rest assured that when you chose a Palm Pool you will be dealing with Red from the initial scoping of your requirements, through the build phase, right up to when you and your family enjoy the first swim in your new pool. Palm Pools is a family owned and run business and our reputation is our key to winning new business. You can be certain that a Palm Pool will provide you with honest advice and pool to suit your needs.