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Putting in a swimming pool can raise the value of your property and provide your family with fun and fitness for many years to come. But choosing the right contractor is the first step toward getting full value.

Reputable pool builders offer a seven-step guide to choosing a contractor:

1. Check websites. Review the websites of several local contractors. Look for pool styles and designs that appeal to you, and make initial appointments with a few builders. This is the time to discuss customization if you have design ideas of your own.

2. See credentials. Make sure the contractor has a certified pool builder on staff. The designation is awarded to a person, not a company, and signifies the staff member has gone through extensive training and testing.

3. Visit the showroom. Meet the people with whom you’ll be dealing. Be sure you’re getting good vibes about their knowledge, professionalism and responsiveness.

4. Ask for referrals. Ask each builder you talk to how many pools they built last year. Request a list of customer references and/or to see some pools they built–and contact the references for input on their pool-building experience.

5. Take your time. Compare prices and designs, as well as negotiations to date. Putting in a pool is a big project, and the contractor you choose should inspire confidence.

6. Make sure the contractor’s covered. Before you sign a deal, ask to see proof of liability and worker’s comp insurance, as well as a state contractor’s license.

7. Listen to your gut. Your intuition tells you a lot. Trust your feeling about whether you’ll be treated fairly and that your finished pool will live up to expectations.

Source: Swim World Pools