Ray Cronise, our resident swimming pool expert, has some answers!
You are correct, that the installer is everything! Unfortunately, fiberglass pools tend to lower the barrier of entry into the installation pool business side and so they tend to attract what I might affectionately refer to as Billy-bob and the back hoe gang. You get the point. On any builder first check the BBB in your area. Also request a list of references AND a list of jobs currently under construction. This will give you the opportunity to see who you are dealing with directly.
A few more general things to consider:
- Don't allow them to talk you into exposed coping: go with pavers, stone, or a cantilever deck
- Consider Tile, but don't allow it to be installed at the factory - this will result in unleveled tile at the waterline
- Request that the pool be installed with no main drain. They are not necessary for circulation and can pose and entrapment hazard.
- Try to find builders that are members of NSPI. Also ask if they are Certified Building Professionals (CBPs)
Finally, be careful of dark colors and pools. We have colored surfaces, but do not have extremely dark colors. These fail after some time and fiberglass, unlike liners or shotcrete, are not designed to be resurfaced in the field.