76ºF

Buying a pool? There are a few things you should know

News 6 spoke to expert to give you actionable steps to follow

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida heat can be intense and sweltering throughout the year. A good way to potentially beat the heat is to cool off.

However, for those you are looking to install a pool, experts encourage consumers to do their research. 

Rob Wasson has owned Masterpiece Pool and Spa since 2004, but he was been working in the pool industry since 1977.

Bolden spoke with the Bayton family, who did not receive their pool, despite paying $19,000 on a credit card for.

Wasson said his company is often asked to finish a pool job that another contractor started.

"Once a week, we get a call. ‘Can you help me finish my pool?’” Wasson said. "Usually, the contractor is long gone with most of their money."

So how do people keep themselves safe if they are in the market to have a pool installed at their home?

First, start with contacting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, or (DBPR).

At their website, companies can be searched for licensee by name, license number, city or county or by type.
Search by license type lets someone search by category: Construction industry. Secondly, type in a license type and select certified pool/spa contractor, and then search by city, county, state.

Potential pool owners can also also search for special qualifications in the additional search criteria area, such as temp certified pool/spa contractor, certified pool/spa contractor, residential pool/spa contractor, commercial pool/spa contractor and pool/spa servicing contractor.

Narrowing down the search criteria will provide a list of data with the license type, name of the business, name type, business address, license number/rank, status/expires, search to see if the contractor is licensed and look for past complaints. When clicking on individual business information, people can get a snapshot of the license information and, at the bottom, click to view license complaints.

Municipalities in Florida require contractors to have a license and insurance to pull a permit, so if a potential contractor asks the homeowner to pull the permit for the project, that should be a red flag.

"If someone approaches you and asks you to pull the permit for them, you can almost bet money that they don’t have a license,” Wasson said. "Even to pull a permit, you have to have a license. You have to have insurance.”

Second, set up with the contractor about how to make the payment.

"You want to have a schedule of payments, and you want to make these payments after the phases of construction are done,” Wasson said.

A 10 percent deposit is common for reputable companies.

A little research can go a long way in the pool purchasing process.

"Just do a little bit of homework, it's simple. I mean, go on a computer and research the potential contractor that you're getting ready to hire,"Wasson said. "Don't take someone's word for it. It's too easy to verify it. You can go in 10 minutes and find out if it's a legitimate place of business."