I’m building a pool, should I act as my own general contractor?

Ah… a swimming pool… relaxation, style and possibly; the talk of your neighborhood, who wouldn’t want a swimming pool for their home in the Inland Empire area.

So most would start with interviewing swimming pool contractors, I mean, that would be the first logical step, right? Yeah that would be a good starting point. There are a few however, that plan on bypassing that step altogether, planning to put on the Contractor’s cap and make it happen.

For those… allow me to say: As owner of a Landscape Design firm for the Inland Empire area, I have interviewed and spoken with hundreds of people who plan on having a pool built; from time to time, I run across a client who is “gung ho” acting as their own GC. To those who decide to go that route: “I say, good luck”.

In this article, as a landscape design professional I would like to detail my answer to the question: Should I act as my own general contractor when building a swimming pool.

The Perfect Scenario

The process of building a pool in the Inland Empire area is not difficult with a general knowledge of construction, a detailed plan, access to appropriate materials and finding the right sub-contractors. Under this perfect scenario you could certainly act as your own general contractor… However, all of these factors would have to be perfect; otherwise it will become a scheduling nightmare as well as a marriage tester.

There seems to be a large misconception that acting as the general contractor or owner builder of a pool project in the Inland Empire area will save lots of money. It may be true that there will be savings, but the amount you say might not be as much as you think. Most general contractors only make anywhere from 10-20% on a standard pool installation project. EXAMPLE: On a $35,000 pool that’s a potential savings of s $3500-$7000. Yes, that is a substantial savings, but in the bigger picture you may end up spending more than that trying to be your own general contractor. Lost wages, contractor delays, incorrectly processed permits and … marriage counseling.

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Wrapping your head around the process

There are many steps in building a pool.

  • Getting the pool design properly drawn out to scale and engineered.

  • Plans must be stamped and taken to the City for a building permit to be issued before any work begins.

  • Interviewing, hiring and managing sub-contractors. This requires someone who is prepared to invest many hours in scheduling, making phone calls to confirm, weather delays and assuring no “toes are being stepped on” by contractors working on the job site simultaneously.

  • Scheduling Inspections; you will need to be available for Inland Empire area city or county inspectors to come by during the process. You may need to schedule weeks in advance and co-ordinate that with contractor schedules. This will naturally require additional time out of your schedule, 2-4 hours at a time.

  • Ordering material such as tile, lights and pool equipment must be done at the right times in the process so not to is slow down or bring the project to a halt. Stock piling materials can create issues as well depending on the size of your yard and size needed for the project. (Not to mention the eyesore for you and your neighbors)

So here’s my thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discourage anyone from trying to save some money, it’s just that I have seen many try and regret doing so. The time, patience and sometimes frustrating days involved simply become too much for many to endure. By having a professional from the Inland Empire area who is responsible for scheduling, hiring, payment processing, materials, coordination, inspections; basically all the steps needed to get the pool through final inspection and cleanup.

By utilizing a general contractor who has on paper, quality verified experience, will make your pool project faster… and maybe even cheaper.

In the end, we all want the same thing. A great pool for our families to enjoy for a fair price without the headaches involved with the construction process. Stay smart and hire a reputable contractor. Be involved with the material finish decisions and when it is done enjoy the fruits of your labor poolside!

The Right Pool Starts with the Right Design

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape and pool design plan that exceeds your expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape and pool design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

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