Want to Build My Own Pool - Houston Area

mooredbJune 29, 2013

Hi I am interested in building my own pool in the Spring area. I don't want to hire a pool company because they make nearly 50% of the project. I have had several friends that had pools built that said there is nothing to it. You just need to find the sub contractors and mange them.

Has anyone built their own pool and would have a list of sub contractors in the area? If I can find one, I am sure the others will be easier to get.


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I've thought about this too but I don't know if I've got the guts to try it. I'd be very interested to know how this goes for you if you decide to take this on. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:52PM
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Agreed, this would be interesting to follow if you take it on! We're thinking about this for our pool remodel - mostly since I cannot get a PB out here to even look at my job. It doesn't give a good recommendation for hiring them when they won't even show up to look!

I'm not in your area, but will say I was at a local family-owned pool store in my town yesterday (not a chain) ... this is the pool store that usually has all the odd parts for older pools, with experienced folks running things ... and they had a list posted by their phone, organized by specialty "plaster" "hot tub guys" etc. Maybe try to locate a similar type of store in your area and go speak with the old timers to get some leads? Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 9:53AM
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It looks easy until you try it.
There are several trades involved, and frequently, one can't start until the previous one finishes. If an earlier one doesn't start or finish on schedule, often due to more 'important' work elsewhere, you have to delay the next one(s) and hope they can reschedule to a timeframe that fits your revised plan.
A good GC can apply pressure to keep your job flowing, usually by using subcontractors that rely on him/her for follow-on work. You're also paying for on-site expertise to help avert errors and omissions. If there is a problem, you have a single point of contact rather than having to deal with two or more sub-contractors engaging in a finger-pointing contest.
Good Luck, and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:50PM
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I drove around this past week and found a highly acclaimed pool builder putting in a pool and I snagged the gunite company. He basically said they do most of the pools for a lot of builders and there are only a hand full of companies that do the gunite work in the Houston area. They also do rebar as well. They have been around for 25 plus years. He gave me a list of the other subs and said that subs work with several other pool builders. He said he would be happy to work directly with me.

We are in the process of building our home, so I am not in a huge hurry to get our pool in. I've manage several major projects with vendors and people at work on a daily bases and have a friend that is a commercial builder that said its really easy to mange this yourself. It's all about scheduling and managing people and making sure they show up. The subs will know what to do and when it needs to be done. Just don't pay anyone up front for labor until the job is done, some may ask for a deposit for materials but see if you can pay the vender directly for the material he said. I already had that thought anyway.

Most of the time the home owner is there telling the subs what to do anyway because the builder is not there. Also I found some detailed information by just Googling how to build your own pool and look what I found for those that have the time to do this yourself. Step by step instructions. This site charges 99$ for a list of subs in the Houston area. I just purchased it and it had only a few. Not really worth it since I already have the gunite company and some other subs.

I am 110% planing to do this project myself. I won't start for another 3 weeks but will certianly keep this thread updated with pictures and progress for those that want to give this a try.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to build your own pool

This post was edited by mooredb on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 6:15

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 6:00AM
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Please keep us updated throughout your project. I think a lot of people would be interested.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:12AM
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It sounds like you've got the experience with subs to figure this out. It's not rocket science. The only thing is don't forget the permitting & inspections in your schedule. We had something like 4 or 5 inspections in the process, plus electrical and gas inspections, and they tend to be easy if the inspectors are working with a PB that they know.
Expect them to be pickier with a homeowner permit - at least this is what we experienced with our home remodeling - although they were super nice to me and hard-asses to my husband. (He worked from home at the time and could overhear them talking to me during inspections, and it totally cracked him up how differently they would treat me....sort of the opposite of how you never let a woman take the car to the shop?)
Anyway, you should blog it and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Congrats on moving forward to contract out your own pool's construction,
However I think you might be a bit mislead after reading this comment
"" I don't want to hire a pool company because they make nearly 50% of the project. ""
I'm afraid your mistaken in the profitability we draw from our projects.Trust me on this, I struggle to make a 20-25% return when I compete for new pools as we have some competitors who will do them for 10-15%.
I will tell you a couple of things about how owner builders are billed. First the subs will charge a little more (5-15%) than their long term high volume builders, and second don't pay your sub 100% until your completely satisfied with the service provided. Without the umbrella of unpaid open invoices to hold over their head it's diificult to get a comeback.

Post pic's as you go and if you have any questions this is the place to get great answers.

See ya,

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 4:30PM
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We looked into the build your own option as I have several friends who did this and have a list of subs and all work turned out beautiful. We decided to go with a pool builder, one of the largest in our area, because the prices were the same and almost lower with the PB. Also you have to worry about the warranty on the build your own. I am so glad we went with the pool builder because we have had a couple issues with our build, that our PB is taking care of. Not sure how much hassle that would have been with BYO.

Also, we got a few quotes on each section on the BYO and it was a PAIN to talk to everyone and coordinate. If you are a working couple, you definitely don't want to go that route. Dealing with one person is so much easier.

Best of luck no matter what direction you go!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 9:50AM
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I've been researching for the past 2 months and plan to do that same. I also live in Spring. I have a list of subs that my neighbors PB used. Would love to talk to you to see if we can bounce ideas and tips off each other. I plan to start within the next 2-3 weeks. How are you preparing your build plans? I tried PoolStudios out but creating construction prints was cumbersome.

I'll PM you my contact info. Maybe we can help each other out during this journey.

This post was edited by tw1363 on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 16:23

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:30PM
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There may be some pool builders that make 50%, but many of us are not in that category. We don't even make half that, plus we carry General Liability Insurance that costs a bundle and pay taxes on the profit. I am not saying you couldn't do it yourself, but there are a lot of details and nuances that go into the process. You have to be sure you are getting reputable vendors who aren't shortcutting you on materials. Get notarized lien releases from everyone you pay to protect yourself. If the contractor has bought the material from someplace else, get a lien release from them as well proving the material has been paid for in full. There are a lot of con artists out there. Buyer beware! I think I could build a house if I wanted to, but I am going to hire someone with the expertise and connections to get it done the right way. Good luck if you still want to try to build your own.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:20PM
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A good pool builder would be worth every penny and then some. The subs do the work, it's true, but without a pool contractor telling them every move to make, and pressuring them for sake of future work, it can be a nightmare.

I just finished a pool with a bad general contractor (not pool builder) who told me there was nothing to it, and it was an absolute nightmare. Pools are very tricky, maybe the most complicated thing on your property, with many, many ways to screw it up. A pool build entails design, planning, timing, demolition, rough construction, finish work, plumbing, electrical, and landscaping.

I had many problems, even with a general contractor on the job part time.

Also, the subs and laborers try to take you to the cleaners when they know you have no experience, and you think you're saving money.

Don't do it!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 4:00PM
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womanowned, I sent you an email, did you receive? if not, pls contact me. thanks

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 5:21PM
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There are a lot of good sub contractors that are out there. But like the builders they will only do the bare minimum that they have to do in order to complete your project wheather out of ignorance or just trying to turn a profit.
It's not their fault most pool builders don't build a pool the correct way for the same reasons.

Yes a good builder does cost more money if they are truly doing what they are supposed to be doing. Just the cost of the materials and labor alone should put a builder that is doing the right thing in a much higher price bracket than the average builder. Even some of the so called big builders are more focused on keeping their overhead paid for more than doing a pool the correct way. Many times that's the only reason why they cost more.

I wish I could turn a 50 percent profit. I have to take the gross profit off one big job alone to pay my workers comp and I only do around 12 a year if that gives you an idea on workers comp cost!

Good luck with your build. I'm sure weather you do it with subs or the builder you will get the same product unless you pick one of the exceptional builders.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 11:38PM
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@Bossyvossy. If you sent me an email with that name, then, no, I did not receive it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I'll try again

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:43PM
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