How much should it cost to install a pool cover?

nicole007June 1, 2012

I'm wanting to buy my own on the internet and just have it installed but my contracter says the installation will cost so much it won't make a difference. He offered me one for $1300. Does it cost that much to install the metal stakes in the concrete? I saw one on the internet available from LoopLoc for the dimensions of my pool - 16X32 rectangle. I've been told that's what my pool is but I've read how if it's not just perfectly measured, it can cause problems. And I've also read somewhere the cover should be a little bigger than the pool measurements. But, my main question is how much for installation?

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I strongly recommend that you buy the least expensive one you can find on the internet and then ask the internet to install and provide warranty service for you.

I'm seriously considering leaving the pool business because I'm not allowed to make a decent living anymore. How am I supposed to compete with some guy with a website and no overhead drop shipping components in competition with me. Good luck getting your pool fixed when you force guys like me away.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Ok, so I'm bitter.

Fact is, if you buy a product on-line instead of from me and want me to install it, I HAVE to charge more for the install portion. It costs me the same to keep the lights on whether I sold it to you or I'm just installing it - and marking up products is part of how I put bread on the table. I can work somewhere else that day, making money, paying my bills.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 3:14PM
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If you want a pro to install it, buy it from him. This goes goes for anything.

If you are going the DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) route, then the net is a perfectly acceptable method for most things. I don't consider whole goods such as pumps, filters, heaters, etc... good purchases off the net.

Cheaper, sometimes, until something goes wrong. Then you need me and I am going to charge full fees, even if the item is warranted by the manufacturer. Let the manufacturer pay. They will find someone that will take less money than a good professional company will accept.

But if I sold it, I am there at no charge during the warranty period. Most pool service departments work like this.

Look at it like this if you will and please don't take it as an insult. To buy it off the net and ask another to install it is like taking your own steak to the Outback Steak House and asking them to serve it to you prepared and charging you less.

Cascade, IMHO, is spot on about this type of consumer. There are a number of professionals that donate time here to help consumers with pool issues and to keep it real by telling the facts and helping sort the marketing fluff and BSers out there.

Consumers trying to save come in many forms, from those that have been Pool Stored (there are a few low lifes there) to those that just missed the value added.

None of us know where you fit in but if hard working people like cascade, me, or any of the other pros that frequent this forum see this thread start, I wouldn't blame them for feeling insulted.

Yes, finding a good pool service is hard. Trying to get it cheaper than competitive, while possibly commendable, doesn't help you or the industry. As cascade said, we have to eat too.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:05PM
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I had a lady do the same thing a couple of years ago and I reluctantly agreed to install it for $500 when I get there the cover is 2ft short. So she calls the online dealer and they tell her it is her fault and she could buy another cover. So after paying me $100 service call to me and a couple of weeks she ordered one from me and I then installed it for $400. What she did with the cover I have no idea.....Now I do not install anything purchased from the internet.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:57AM
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Well I guess I am the odd man out here, I agree with the orignial poster.

As a consumer, I pay for a selected service and shouldn't being paying for a company's complete overhead. The installer should be able to breakout the cost of a cover and installation and charge accordingly. The cover costs $1500 and installation is $500 total cost if you buy from me is $2000. If someone simply wants an install-- they should be charged $500.

The $500 would have overhead built in-- but I see no problem for breaking out the price. You end up with a happy (return) customer.

When I had my pool installed a few years ago I purchased my loop lock cover on-line and had my pool company install it. No problem. In fact, every fall they come back and close my pool for me.

I think you have the wrong attitude-- not very customer service savvy. Price your services accordingly and you will be successful.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Then you and I will not do business. I am very customer service oriented and consumer friendly. I get it right, the 1st time. That has value.

If you want that service, it has a cost. Your choice.

If you choose to select the lowest dollar cost, you'll get exactly that and no more, ever. I don't use the cheapest auto mechanic for that very reason. I want to know that my mechanic knows whats been done because he did it. That has added value.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 4:48PM
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First I will help the poster then I will explain that I think that everyone has this all wrong and sometimes people can do it themselves or they shouldnt.

If you have a standard 16*32 pool with say external steps (they stick out from the rectangle shape of the pool) then ordering is usually easy...If you want to double check they usually have a strict way of measuring the pool just to be sure. You need to be sure of things like step location, handrails should be able to be removed, nothing to block the concrete around 2 feet out from the pool.

Alot of people now make safety covers but you should be aware of warranty issues (this is where an installer has an advantage). You should have a warranty of 10 yrs (looplok is fine but there are others cheaper). Dont just google and find the lowest price unless you know the name of the cover and the selling company has been in buisness for a while. Check on shipping charges because they can be heavy.

You only have one concrete deck and if you mess up on drilling the holes you are screwed as far as looks and maybe if the cover will work as intended. A good but slow way is when you have the cover is to fake install it by using rope and stakes beyond the concrete to hold it implace using the straps so you can mark for the holes without finding out later that the cover is the wrong size or that the holes are in the wrong spot.
Oh and rent the best hammer drill you can for this, dont use a cheap one or you will have issues. use tape on the bit to know how far to drill in.

As far as the installer or using one:
This is work. I have installed covers with 60 holes and its alot of measuring, drilling and work:
You need to think about the work, the time, screwing up the holes, drilling ugly chipped holes, measuring and the money to rent the drill and bit. If you use an installer then all worries are off, it is done (hopefully) faster and without issues. Another + is that if you use someone that say deals with loploc then if there is a warranty issues, usually the installer is theone that should deal with the company and not you.

Dont drag these covers on concrete, they are meant to be lifted and folded or they tear (any brand).

Note to the PO installed:
If someone just wants to order parts and have you install them then just charge for the work and let them know everything involving orders or issues is on them.
No matter what it is work and there will always be people that cant or wont do it and more of them will mess it up and then you can fix...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 3:48PM
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We all like to help people thats why we are on here...But the real world is not looking for service but for the cheapest price. Ducter if someone got say a main board for a Easytouch controller off line would you still feel good about installing it? Lets say the board fried during the install would you eat it or make them go back to the 15 year old kid they got it from off line that rebuilds them and sells them for less than you can buy one for? If someone purchases a cover from me I have 2 trips Measure and then Install and if they purchase a cover online even though I am the local service center I am not going to be there for warranty issues regardless if I installed it or not.
What if you get there to install a cover and the box is short hardware or (it happpens) are ya gonna charge them for another trip when they get it sent from there online source?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Nobody seems to care about service anymore (until the cheap guy lets them down), they buy everything based on price. As far as quality goes, they want the best but don't want to pay for it.
I recently priced some automation equipment as an add on for a pool I had built a while ago. The customer called to ask why I was so expensive. He had sourced the system out on-line for $500 less than MY COST. Since I had a relationship with him I told him I didn't blame him for wanting to save a buck and agreed to install by the hour if he bought on-line. Well, he missed some stuff in his order, so his system is half installed waiting for parts. But he saved a bunch of cash.
It's incredibly difficult to get any work right now for me, I've never been the low bidder but always stayed busy based on service and quality, almost all my work being repeat clients and referrals. Now customers just look at the last line on the estimate and award the job to the cheapest quote. The volume builders and the internet are kicking my butt.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Big differences in price mean something is different as a rule. That usually means someone isn't comparing apples to apples.

As for the lowest bidder, the cheapest isn't. My existing customers know this and most of my prospects have figured this out the hard way. In fact, I have to meet a prospect next week that bought a shell from a dealer that played the low bidder game and burned the prospect in some very important areas. My job is to help make things right.

There will always be those keep doing the same wrong thing over and over. expecting a different result. Many call this insanity. I just let them go. I don't want them being a reflection on my work, my company, or me in any way.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:06AM
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Sorry this doesn't answer the OP's question. But I wanted to address the angry installers.

Let me tell you a small allegory to hopefully give you an alternate point of view. I'm a pediatrician. The internet and the postmodern mindset have been decreasing people's trust in "experts." I used to get very angry about patients who took the advice of strangers on the internet over mine, especially regarding vaccines. I used to kick vaccine refusers out of my office. But after a few Moms left crying, I realized this thing wasn't going away. So I started explaining more, spending more time, being patient, and developing relationships with them instead of chasing them out. And do you know what? As they learned to trust me, most of them listened to me, often during the first visit.

Read "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson. Sometimes people change; things that used to work stop working. You could either get upset, chase away business until you quit or go bankrupt... or you could adapt. My biggest advice is to put relationships before single-job profit. Spend time just being nice, not yelling or complaining, maybe even make your case, with a smile. You'll be happier, you'll stay busier. And before you know it, you will get referrals, and if you're in a larger city, you'll get positive Yelp or Angie's List reviews that will get you so much business you'll turn down work not out of anger but out of sheer inability to keep up. I've seen people this has happened to.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Damn. I guess I totally got ripped off last year. I got my cover replaced. my pool is 16x34 rectangle. I Paid $3600 to have the cover replaced.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:52AM
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That does seem steep. Are you comparing apples to apples?


    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 7:06AM
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Davidahn, please don't think I'm just an angry man. Know that I've tried to adapt and deal with the situation as it is but I can't. I refuse to compromise quality and service for price and that is what it seems I must do to survive. I try to run my business in such a manner as to be fair to everyone. I pay my employees well, provide them with company vehicles, benefits etc. It's what I need to do to keep offering my customers quality service and an excellent finished product.
Every time, without exception lately, As soon as I provide a quote on a specific piece of hardware my client calls to ask why I charge so much. The fact is that I mark-up my materials by what I consider to be a fair percentage but the internet shows them pricing at least equal to if not lower than my cost. My customers tend to be wealthy people, and I don't imagine that they got that way by selling products at cost or pricing their services low, but it seems that they expect me to do so. I simply cannot afford to work for bare wages. I have insurance, compensation, office staff, vehicle costs - all the things required to offer them the service they expect of me, yet they think I should install a product at their home for the price they see on the web. It baffles me to be honest.
Last year I built a pool and spa for a nice fellow. I sent him to my distributor to choose his tiles. He spent some time there dealing with the staff and left with some samples he liked. I got pricing for him, again with a fair mark-up, and he price checked t on the internet. Of course, the online pricing was some 10% below my cost so he chose to order it there. When the time came, of course he expected me to measure his pool and give him quantities. Seems reasonable of course but in my estimating I used to work this into the price of the tile so now I'm essentially working for free. I give him the quantities, the tiles arrive, and we begin to install. Sure enough we're short of tile. I freak out a little, measure the pool again and check my notes...hmmm...should be enough. Talk to the owner and it turns out that he decided that I had over estimated and he knew better, cut the amounts by some 15%. So now my tile guy needs to go away and come back 10 days later, holding up the project and costing me money.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. In this case I had a long discussion with the client about how I priced things and why he should allow me to order the tiles but of course he knew better, at my expense.
I'm not trying to get rich on every job here, just offer a good product at a fair price. Last year I made a whopping profit of about 4% after the dust settled. I've pretty much had it, it honestly isn't worth the risk anymore.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:52PM
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We just had a pool contractor at our house yesterday (older gentleman, company is more out in the 'country' than the city or suburbs)....he flat out told us that he knows there are some of the larger pool companies that have one price sheet for our suburb and another for others. That is the reason that we shop around......we have been told this numerous times by our neighbors but this is the first time a business owner admitted it.

We are in a suburb of Indianapolis.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:00AM
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