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The Turning Point

The Turning Point

Its a funny thing, right about this time, I happened to be chatting with a neighbor Todd about my pool odyssey.  He informed me that the pool he recently completed was done as an owner/builder.  And actually, he said that his wife Jody did most of the work.  They worked with a company called Tropicana Pools in which they gave them the option from letting them do everything, all the way to having the company do everything.  The more the company had to be involved, the more they had to pay.  They ended up taking the option where they provided a sub list to them and Tropicana would come out for three inspections (in addition to the two mandatory City Inspections).  Jody did everything else.  She made the calls, got the bids, scheduled the subs, was home when they came, etc.  For this I believe they paid about $4000.  That still seemed a little steep to me.  But the key thing was that she did most of the work.  And I knew Jody.  She was not the type that enjoys construction.  She was a full-time mom.  She not one to tinker in the garage or build things.  I spoke with her later and she said she knew nothing about building pools.  She said all the subs knew exactly what to do.  And it turned out great!  They loved their pool and would most definitely do it again if they ever moved.  Then she also told me about another neighbor who GC'ed their own pool and they loved it and saved thousands of dollars in the process.



Later that week, I happened to be talking to another neighbor and told him about the information that was given to me earlier by Todd and Jody.  He said, "Oh, yeah, I know a lot of people who are doing that also and their pools have turned out great!  And they saved a bundle of money along the way."  Hmmm... another data point.  I was in no hurry at this point to do anything about making a decision to build a pool.  All this information suddenly gave me enough empowerment and motivation to do some research into building my own pool.  I decided that I was going to take my time though.  I didn't want to mess up something this costly.

A few months later, I had started working for a new company in Chandler AZ.  Some of the guys in my new group had the habit of playing basketballs in the mornings before work.  As fate would have it, the first time I stepped onto the court, one of the developers in my group, Ken, elbowed me coming down with a rebound.  I came down profusely bleeding above my eye.  What a way to start in a new group.  I got to know Ken pretty well after that.  He mentioned to me that he had also done his own pool - sort of.  He didn't go with a pool builder, but he didn't GC.  He hired a GC to do most of the legwork for him.  There were some problems, but overall he was pretty pleased

After some time had passed, I happened to be standing near a FAX machine one day in the office and out popped a FAX that looked like a schedule of pool subs and when they were supposed to arrive at a job.  I quickly looked at the name and found out that there was a gal that sat close to where I sat who was taking on a major pool project with her husband.  I went over to her office, introduced myself, then inquired about their experience.  I found out that they were the full GCs on the job - exactly what I wanted to do.  They did all the research themselves and took care of everything.  She was gracious enough to sit down with me later on and told me all about their experience.  At the time I spoke with her, they were about a week from completing the pool.  It was an amazing pool!  She showed me tons of pictures and I swear it could have won awards for their pool design.  They took that baby to town.  It had a HUGE grotto area, fogging systems, the works.  WOW!  They were really happy they did it themselves.  In fact, they said they were thinking about putting all the information that they collected and putting together a video or something.

Anyways, at this point, I was fairly convinced that this was the way to go.  With all the information I had collected to that point, I finally felt like I was ready to embark on this project.  What follows after this is my experience going about building my own pool.  I don't pretend that I am knowledgeable about the process or that I even did it right, but after talking to countless people, I started to get to the point where no one was really telling me anything new.  At this point I figured I was ready to go. 

Note: In this next section, I will cover the step-by-step process of building your own swimming pool acting as the GC being the owner/builder.  I cover everything that I went through being my own GC and included things that I learned from other homeowners as they GC'ed their pools.  I cover all the necessary upfront things you need to understand before you start: having the correct mindset, understanding the pool building industry and the construction industry in general, and understanding your role as a GC.  I also delve into all the necessary prep work (e.g  design of the pool, sub research and selection, the bidding process, what to ask, how to ask) that needs to be done prior to actual construction starting.  I go over each trade and what happens in each trade.  This is by far the most crucial page on this website.


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