From the eyes of a subcontractor
By Jon Temple, Tempool, Inc.
When I started in the pool business in 1986, I was employed by a shotcrete subcontractor. At that time, the only subcontractors that performed work for a pool builder were for the shotcrete, electric, and plaster phases. The pool builder did all the other phases in-house with foremen overseeing employees in each phase, including starting up the pool and turning it over at completion to the homeowners. Those are what we call “the good old days” of our industry. What we have now, is reversed and most pool builders subcontract out most phases of the pool construction, sometimes even the sales department is a subcontractor working leads for multiple pool builders!
As subcontractors, we get a lot of feedback from our builders’ customers. And many times it is negative. As an example, homeowners often say to us, “We haven’t seen anyone from the pool company on our job since we signed the contract.” And along with that statement we hear, “I should have just hired all the subcontractors myself and cut the builder out as the middle man.” These are definitely not comments we like to hear, and it puts us in a very uncomfortable situation.
Our goal should be to build more confidence in our industry. We need to work together by strengthening our communication with each other, not only with scheduling, but also about issues that affect our particular scope of work. Knowledgeable and professional subcontractors are rare in today’s labor force. It is important to form a good working relationship between the subcontractors and the foreman for the pool builder. By working together you will be able to resolve any problems and achieve the best quality swimming pool for the homeowner. It is important that the pool company foreman make a point to meet with their customer on each phase. The customer needs to know you are engaged with their project, and that they are important. This takes face-to-face contact with your customers, even if it is only for a few minutes during each phase of construction. If it is not possible to meet face to face, a phone call from the Foreman will do wonders to build confidence with your customer. We are all in this together, so let’s work to make it a great experience for everyone!