Phoenix AZ Pool Builders: My 1st Impressions
My wife & I have recently begun talking to pool builders local to the Valley, for a geometric-style play pool we are looking to have built at our Peoria home. In case its of any use to anyone else around here, below are my first impressions of the 4 builders I've called so far.
Also I'm open to advice if you've had any experiences with these guys, and whether there's someone I should call who is not on this list... We might get quotes from 1 or 2 more PBs, but don't want to overkill on quotes either.
Anyway, my initial impressions:
Dolphin Pools: Very professional, very straight forward on pricing and what you get. I like these guys. The guy I spoke with (Gary) took 20-25 minutes to answer my questions and seemed like an overall decent guy. He said he'd was a little "old fashioned" and would rather come to the house to take measurements & would be able to give us a drawings and a final price for any options afterward. On one hand, I appreciate the company's willingness to come out and check out our specific situation. On the other hand: I'm a little "new-fashioned." I work from home and with a team of people all over the world, so I'm used to (and somewhat prefer to) work remotely when it is more efficient to do so. I get why they want to have someone come out and give a 90-minute sales pitch, and I do believe if I would have pressed the issue, I probably could have had him do something for me over the phone/email. But they otherwise impressed me, so I figured I'd just let them do their thing & see what happens for now :) Either way, I left my conversation feeling like the company would install a quality pool for a fair price. I meet with Gary in a few days, so will update below with how the meeting goes.
Presidential Pools & Spas: They were a bit more casual in the way they pitched to me, and took a ton of time (45 minutes +) to answer my questions. The salesman (James) was able to offer quite a few suggestions in terms of design and placement in our yard. Impressively, he also offered a couple creative ways we might be able to save money, and demonstrated that the company was both flexible and intereted in my business. While we were talking he reviewed an arial view of my house and took measurements of my back yard. (I later sent him a few pics and our survey measurements for good measure - no pun intended!) During my conversation, I spewed off a lot of information and desires, and James was extremely quick to respond with 3D renderings and a quote. His first design was so close to what we were asking for, it was almost a little shocking. Not that we are looking for anything earth-shatterinly creative, but we really didn't have to change anything from a design perspective. Their price was fair, maybe even good. Like I said, he was a little casual though too. He made some comment about wanting to do the first steps remotely due to "the price of gas these days." Not that I didn't appreciate doing this step remotely, but i thought it was a little bit of a weird thing for a salesperson to say in light of the fact that he's pricing out 25-30k worth of construction for me. Not a big deal, just a little of a weird comment.
California Pools: My neighbors have a California Pool and have been really happy with it, so I wanted to be sure to include them on my list. However, when I called, no one from sales was available. They called me back later but didn't leave a message, so I had to call the receptionist again to try to talk to someone. No one available again, so left my number. They inverted the digits, so got an email response from Sales, and finally had a direct line to reach someone. The guy I spoke with (Cliff) seemed a little disinterested. I had to pretty much lead the entire conversation, and he didn't give me an exact time as to when I should expect his follow-up with a quote and proposal, just "some time next week." (I wish I could tell my bosses my next presentation will be done "sometime next week," but I don't think that type of vagueness would go over well!) When I told him I wanted a geometric design, he responded that I really might want to go with a free-form pool instead, which is a totally different style than what we prefer. Honestly, he just seemed like kind of a turd on the phone, rather than someone who was listening to my ideas and helping me flesh them out. I know that's sort of a childish way to put it, but its the impression I was left with, so there you have it. Anyway, I figure it won't hurt to see how they quote me for the whole build, but I'm leaning away from them for now on the basis of lower than hoped for customer service. Who knows? Maybe Cliff had a terrible day, and he'll blow me away with great customer service the next time we talk. But, right now, my expectations for him aren't high, and for an investment of this magnitude, I think its reasonable for expectations to be pretty high.
Unique Landscaping & Pools: This is a much smaller operation, but I called them because their Pool pics look nice, and they do their own in house landscaping. I figured I might get a package deal on that, since my back yard is essentially empty, and we want to also put in a fire pit, some trees/plants, and some general landscaping, so I dialed these guys up. I got a weird answering system when I called and when I finally got around to pushing 4 for sales, I just got someone's voicemail. Didn't leave a message. Maybe I'll call back, maybe not. I just got a weird feeling they weren't quite a well oiled machine yet.