If you are seriously considering a backyard fish pond, you’ve probably discovered there are a lot of decisions to make!
At the top of this list stands one glaring question:
HOW DO I SELECT A REPUTABLE POND BUILDER?
This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your pond builder will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your project.
To assist you in this process, we at Atlantis Water Gardens have put together a checklist to help you do your homework on potential pond builders. This checklist is based on our experience of not only working with over 1,000 pond and water feature customers throughout New Jersey, but also from helping hundreds of folks who found us through the internet find reputable pond builders in their area.
So, regardless of where you live or whether you are looking for a rubber liner, concrete or plastic tub pond this checklist will help you identify various criteria to look for when selecting your pond builder.
Let’s do this!
THE ULTIMATE POND BUILDER VETTING CHECKLIST
Contractor Name: ___________________________________
1. Business Information and Experience
– The company is licensed (if applicable in your state) and insured.
Note: ask if the name on the license is the same as the company name. If not, find out why.
– Find out how many years the company has been in business
– Years in business: _______
Note: 43% of contractors fail within the first three years after start-up
2. Customer References
Ask the following questions of the pond builder:
-How many ponds have you installed since in business? _________
-How many were installed last year? ________
-Of those installations, how many references can you provide? ________
Note: if the pond builder provides less than half of their customers as references we consider this to be a red flag. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people when asked are willing to go on a reference list. In our opinion, providing less than half of the customers as references equates to less than a 50% chance of being happy in the end.
Call at least 5 references
3. When Calling References Be Sure To Ask The Following:
-If you could do it over, would you use the pond builder again?
-What did you enjoy about the experience?
-What was least enjoyable?
-What pond/water feature, options, and accessories did you choose?
-What would you do differently?
-How did the pond builder handle challenges and problems when they arose?
Read the article below for more guidance regarding obtaining and calling references:
The Single Best Way To Choose a Pond Contractor Without Getting Hosed
4. Reviews and Ratings
-Collectively, the pond builder has at least a 5:1 good review to bad review ratio
-They responded reasonably to negative reviews when possible
5. Products Used By Pond Builder
-The products the pond builder uses have good reviews in the marketplace
-The customer references you called gave the products used by the builder positive ratings
-The products are backed by competitive warranties
6. Workmanship Warranty
Note: a workmanship warranty would cover issues that could arise such as pond movement, plumbing leaks, structural problems, etc. The minimum workmanship warranty by law in most states is one year.
-What is the duration of the pond builder’s workmanship warranty?_______________________________
-What specifically does the pond builder’s workmanship warranty cover?__________________________
-What happens in the event that a repair is needed? (who pays to replace water, repair yard, etc)?_____________________________________________
7. Installation Practices
-Does the pond builder have any installation or construction practices that distinguish them from the competition?_________________________________________________
-Are these practices relevant and in accordance with manufacturer’s specs? ____________________________________
8. Design and Project Planning
The Pond Builder will convey a plan to you before the project begins showing the following:
-exact pond location outlined in spray paint in your yard
-location of pump and filter system
-the elevation (or height) of the pond in relation to your existing yard
-access lane for construction
-retaining walls if applicable
-yard drainage if applicable
For a more detailed explanation check out:
Backyard Fish Pond Planning Meetings: The Key To A Successful Project
8. Pricing & Contract
-Whenever possible, the price for all work is included in the contract or at the very least as a formal quote.
-Estimated completion date is listed on the contract
-All “throw-ins” are listed on the contract
9. Things That Are NOT All That Important
-The size of the company: great pond builders come in all sizes 🙂
-In-house construction vs sub-contracted work: at the end of the day, great pond builders get it done either way and make sure you are happy in the end.
-Website and Marketing: Shiny brochures and updated Facebook posts are nice, but not necessarily an indication of integrity or expertise.
We hope you will find this helpful on your quest to finding the perfect pond builder. If you have any questions or comments feel free, as always, to leave them below.
If you live in Northern New Jersey and would like to RECEIVE A QUOTE for one of our backyard fish ponds, disappearing waterfalls or fountainscapes, click here.
To learn more about the cost of a professionally installed water feature:
How Much Do Backyard Fish Ponds Cost?
Lovin’ It? Want more pics?
We got em. 🙂 Here’s some pretty photos you can look at to destress.