Swimming Pool Warranty Pit Falls and How to Avoid Them!

by Pool Builders on 05-11-2012 in Articles

When shopping for In Ground swimming pools, one important consideration is the warranty. Most folks simply ask, "What is the warranty!" They then take the sales person at their word. I say dig deeper. Don't just ask to look at a copy, have them print a copy for you to take home. Secondly, take it home and spend a few minutes to read and think about it.

Remember, there are multiple warranties running simultaneously. You have the Equipment warranty which consists of; (Pump, Filter, Heater, Chlorinator or Salt System.) The warranty on pool equipment is backed by a manufacturer. The labor warranty is backed by the builder. Finally, the pool shell or structure warranty can be backed by the builder or a manufacturer. The pool vessel or structure is the biggest portion and expense of the project.

Let's start with pool equipment. Almost all pool equipment is the same. If a builder spends too much time talking about pumps, it's probably because his other products, like his pool, is lacking something. Most equipment pads come with a three year warranty, some things are extended to ten years but these items rarely need replacing. Make sure all equipment on the pad is from one manufacturer. The pump,filter,heater,chlorinator, or salt system, should be from the same manufacturer. Make sure there are proper warranty stations. Ask for a list of authorized warranty service stations. Make sure that the parts for the equipment pad are easily purchased at your local pool store, so after the warranty runs out you can purchase parts. Seals and gaskets are considered wear items and are usually not covered, so it needs to be convenient for you to get replacement parts. Never get products that can only be serviced by the builder, this will hold you hostage. That is enough about the pool equipment and as you can see there is a little more to your due diligence than just simply asking the question, what is the warranty?

When shopping in the swimming pool market there are many considerations on warranties. Fiberglass pools differ from concrete pools. With concrete pools the majority of your purchase goes to labor salaries. A very small part goes to the product. With Fiberglass, it is the opposite. The majority of your dollars goes to the product and a small amount to labor. So what does this mean? The warranty that the sales person vaguely represents is as good as the company that backs it. You can't make a good deal with a bad guy or a bad company. Most in ground concrete/Gunite or Fiberglass swimming pool companies, even if part of a large franchise organization, are mom and pop shops. What does this mean to the future of the pool owner? It means if the warranty is backed by the builder, when the builder is gone so is your warranty. It also means if the builder is in financial trouble of having a lean year he will refuse to cover it. Read some of the complaints on some of the blogs and complaint driven web sites. You can hear the underlying tones of sorry, we just don't have money to fix our mistakes.

Now I can hear the salesperson in the presentation, telling you they will be around forever, and it's the best, and we will take care of you. In our current society, legally binding contracts and agreements are meaningless unless backed by some one of integrity. Think about it, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and is gone. They built the railroads and infrastructure for the United States. General Motors went bankrupt and had it not been for the bail out, it would be gone. The fact is, second generation business have a ninety percent failure rate. The Harvard Business review article says; The data support the saying, some 70% of family-owned businesses fail or are sold before the second generation gets a chance to take over. Just 10% remain active for privately held companies for the third generation to lead. In contrast to publicly owned firms, in which the average CEO tenure is six years, many family businesses have the same leaders for 20 or 25 years, and these extended tenures can increase the difficulties of coping with shifts in technology, business models, and consumer behavior. http://hbr.org/2012/01/avoid-the-traps-that-can-destroy-family-businesses/ar/1

So the truth of the matter is that most small businesses will not be around that long statistically speaking. Corporations and specifically publicly traded Corporations will be around longer based on the study quoted above and statistics. So now we have established that a publicly held Corporately backed warranty will most likely be around the longest, and be the easiest for a consumer to use. Not only does a corporations warranty have better backing, you don't have to deal with the builders attitudes. Remember, every dollar of a builder backed warranty comes directly out of the builders pocket. It's in the best interest of the builders pocket book not to fix the consumers issue. No, we also know long term this type of corrupt mentality will destroy the builders business in the long run. In a perfect world this would not happen. But it does happen, just research internet complaint history on some of today's so called reputable builders. Corporate officers are usually held to a higher standard, and well educated. Corporate mentality exists for long term results as well as short term gain. They are accountable to the share holders for short term profits as well as the end user for long term growth. It's obvious that a warranty backed by a stable, publicly traded corporation is better than individual or builder backed warranties.

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