Darlington Designs

Seven Tips on How to Choose the Best Pool Contractor

So You’ve Decided You Want to Build a Pool…


However, the decisions don’t stop there. One of the most important choices is selecting which pool contractor you’ll hire to complete the job. 

How do you know which qualities are most important? Or which questions to ask? 

Taking the time to vet various pool contractors is time-consuming, so the pool-building experts at Darlington Designs compiled seven key tips for you to follow when narrowing your selection. When making your final choice though—we hope you choose us. 

We have more than 15 years of experience in custom pool and spa building, as well as outdoor living and construction. As a “one-stop shop,” we take ownership of the entire project from the initial design to the final build. We work closely with our clients throughout the entire process, ensuring they are fully informed and happy every step of the way. 

Top Seven Tips to Follow When Choosing Between Pool Contractors

Follow these seven tips when assessing your pool contracting candidates: 

Tip #1: Look at Previous Work

Getting a sense of each contractor’s capabilities, previous works, and style is a critical factor to consider. Do you like their designs? Do their previous pools meet/exceed your expectations? 

Previous work is normally displayed on the contractor’s website (see our previous work here), but if not, feel free to always ask the contractor directly for examples. If visual examples are unable to be provided, it may be a red flag

Tip #2: Seek out Referrals/Reviews

Reviews and referrals from previous clients are some of the most valued forms of recommendations pool contractors can have. Ask family, friends, or neighbors with pools which contractor they hired and if they enjoyed their experience with them. 

If you don’t know anyone, you can always ask the contractor for some previous client references and/or testimonials. 

You can also perform an online search on the contractor and check third-party sites for reviews, such as Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List

Tip #3: Check for Insurance/Licenses

Just because a contractor has completed projects, does not mean they possess the proper licenses and insurance. Why is this important? 

If you run into any legal issues down the road, or an accident happens on the job, you can ensure that the responsible party is held liable. 

When you work with Darlington Designs, you can rest easy knowing we are fully licensed and insured. 

Tip #4: Ensure Your Project’s Specifications Can Be Met

Custom-built, in-ground pool with rock formations and a curved platform. You may know you want to build a pool, but do you know which kind of pool, or the building materials you’d prefer? There are a wide variety of swimming pools available in today’s market, some not well known to most homeowners. 

Some homeowners go into the pool-building process with a blank slate, open to the contractors’ ideas and opinions. Others, however, have done extensive research and have a pretty solid idea of what they want out of their dream pool. 

If you are the latter, it is important to discuss your ideas in as much detail as possible with the pool contractor. Since some pool contractors do not build every type of pool, or utilize every type of material, it is important to double-check that your potential pool contractor has the resources to successfully execute your vision. 

No matter which type of client you are, we are more than happy to educate our clients and work with them on building their dream pool in a way that fits with their vision.

Tip #5: Make Sure Everything Is in Writing

Contractors looking to make a sale may be inclined to “sweeten the deal” and offer you a special incentive, offer, or promotion. While a lot of the time these incentives are legitimate, some contractors may go back on their word. 

How do you prevent this? Get it in writing. Make sure any special incentives and terms of your negotiation are clearly outlined in a binding agreement. If a contractor is unwilling to do this, this is a glaring issue. 

Tip #6: Ensure the Contractor Is Willing to Work Within Your Budget

One of the top issues most clients need to overcome is the gap between their vision and their budget. At Darlington Designs, we start with a budget from day one and work closely with our clients to revise according to their dream designs.

Contract transparency is important to us. That’s why we outline all costs and ensure that our clients are aware of what is, and is not included in the contract price. 

When adhering to a strict budget, ensure your terms are in writing within the contract. 

Tip #7: Take Your Time

Building a pool is no cheap feat. It is a huge undertaking that involves time, money, and effort (plus a potential lifestyle disruption with the construction going on). That is why taking the time to thoroughly vet pool contractors and selecting the one that fits your needs is so important. 

If a contractor is rushing you through the vetting process, dodging your questions, or pushing you to sign a contract on the spot, this is a huge red flag. 

Are You Ready to Get Started?

At Darlington Designs, we’re committed to making your pool dream a reality. Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or call us at 856-442-0440. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia region. 

Also, feel free to contact us via our project form on our site. The project form can be found at the bottom of our Pools & Spas page