In fact, it is the only strategy you should use when it comes to hiring contractors. References isn't just about asking a contractor for references on past clients and then calling those past clients to ask if they were happy about the work that was done for them. References also mean asking questions that require answers that you can quickly refer to.
A good question to ask any contractor is this: Just how many pools have you installed? Any contractor can tell you everything there is to know about swimming pools and installing them. But that kind of information is something that you can read off a manual. But the true proof of a contractor’s capability is the quality of the work that’s been done.
Now, after you have been told by the contractor last year exactly how many pools they did, your following question is going to be the telltale: Can I see you reference list from last year? Let us suppose the contractor said 20 pools were installed by him and he gives you ten references, it basically means one thing: only 50% of those customers were satisfied with the work that’s been done. If that’s not a low customer satisfaction rate, we don’t know what is.
A contractor may tell you that he can’t give you any references because he is bound by some confidentiality agreement. But experience tells us that happy customers are more than happy to be included in the reference list, unless if they were celebrities. That said, if a contractor is unwilling to give references to you, simply walk away. Certainly there's someone local who is transparent and truthful. By following this simple piece of advice, you save yourself a lot of headache.
The easiest way to locate a contractor is by way of a referral – a friend or family member who is happy about the work done for them by the contractor. Outside of your immediate circle, you could also ask for recommendations from pool suppliers.
Make sure that the contractor you hire is licensed and insured. The unlicensed and uninsured may provide you with a much better cost on the job but you leave yourself unprotected should the job turn out bad or incomplete. You might also want to ask about the length of time their workers have been with them, it usually indicates they're an excellent company to work for and that they have an experienced team.
Most businesses give free estimates regarding the price of the job and will venture out to your house. Take advantage of this fact by asking for a quote from three contractors.