Inground pools have always been an expensive addition to a homeowner’s backyard. However, with pool prices unlikely to go down, many homeowners are seeking tips to on how to negotiate with pool builder sales staff. After all, a pool will cost more than most luxury automobiles, so pinching a few pennies is very helpful.
In this article, we will explain how to negotiate with pool builder salespersons. We will also suggest a few negotiation tactics never to try on a pool salesperson. By the end of this explanation, you will understand how to get the best pool price possible.
Table of Contents
Why We Know How To Negotiate With Pool Builder Salespeople
Before founding Backyard Assist, Scott (author) was a pool salesman and designer at three highly reputable pool builders across the nation. First, in Arizona, Scott worked for BYOP Pools. At this company, customers were entirely focused on getting the best pool price, even if it meant taking on some of the project management tasks. Afterward, Scott went on to be a salesperson at SSG Pools (Boston, MA) and Austin Water Designs (Austin, TX), selling inground pools to hundreds of homeowners.
Therefore, when Scott wrote this article, he reverse engineered his sales process for homeowners. He thought long and hard about how clients would get his lowest price possible. He also explained how other homeowners bothered him so much that he gave up on their sale and moved on altogether.
Understanding Pool Salespeople
This part of our article is not specific to pool sales. You can apply this general but helpful logic to any sales setting. Salespeople operate on a commission basis. Therefore, they want to make a deal happen. If they spend time designing a pool and discussing matters with a homeowner and then a sale doesn’t happen, they make zero dollars. For that reason, they won’t be offended if you ask for a lower price.
In the current state of pool supply and demand, these tips could still be a challenge. It’s hard right now to get a concession as pool demand is extremely high. This article was designed for normal market circumstances, so don’t be surprised if some of these tips fall on deaf ears as pool companies are inundated with requests.
In our opinion, after 20+ years in the industry, now is not the best time to build a pool. However, if you really want a pool for your backyard, don’t let that deter you. We just want you to be aware of what you’re up against.
Tips For How To Negotiate With Pool Builder
There are three main things you should do when negotiating with a pool builder. This advice seems simple, but it’s the best way to get a lower pool price. The ways are be patient, be friendly and ask for exactly what you want. These are easy enough to understand, but important to keep in mind during negotiation.
Be Patient With Negotiation
Wait on any negotiation until you know exactly what you want (price, design and otherwise). Additionally, wait until you get the quote to start negotiating. Waiting until the pool salesmen does his whole job is ideal, which entains creates a design of pool and gives you proposal). The more time they invest in, the more they want to sell.
Be Friendly With Pool Builder
Keep in mind that salespeople love to talk, if you ask them correctly, they’ll tell you what they can do (what’s possible) for lowest price. Make the salesperson feel good and be your friend, let them talk about all the things they know a lot about. Keep the salesperson excited about having your business to get the best design/price possible.
Ask For What You Want
You can and should negotiate. If you ask for a discount, you’re almost guaranteed that you’ll get something. Always negotiate for exactly what you want. Here’s a great video explaining why you should never meet in the middle. If you don’t, you’re never going to get what you want. Most people make the mistake of just not asking.
We culturally don’t negotiate at marketplaces (grocery stores, clothing stores) like other countries, so it feels unnatural. Balance your price decrease request with an offer commitment at the time of your ask. For example, if you drop the price to $X now, we have a deal.
How Pool Sales Work
Be aware of how pool companies make money. There’s a minimum they can accept and then there’s extra amount tacked on to quote. Your job as a pool buyer/homeowner is to get as close to the minimum they can accept as possible.
In the pool industry, commission is usually about 5% of the minimum sales price. For example, using a minimum pool price of $100k, the salesperson makes $5k. They might try to sell it for $105,000 to make closer to $10k. That additional $5k is called overage and it usually gets split between the pool company and salesperson. Some companies have a fixed pricing commission, but that’s much less common.
How To Negotiate With Pool Builder Sales The Wrong Way
Tip #1: Don’t say “you need to think about it” as negotiating tactic. Most pool companies don’t charge for design/quotes. They’ll think you just aren’t serious and move on. Lots of people want pools but can’t afford them
Tip #2: Don’t assume they need the sale and will put up with a difficult customer. Chances are, if you’re annoying to deal with, the salesperson will just give up. This is especially common when demand for pools is high.
Tip #3: In the first meeting, don’t share that you’re talking to many pool companies, it’s not going to help. Share that information once you have the quote in front of you. Otherwise, you run the risk of them deprioritizing you right away.
How To Get Design Help And Avoid Pool Builders
If you don’t want to deal with pool builders, hire a landscape designer or architect to create a design plan of what you want. That way, they can handle pool builder selection and there’s a general design for the pool companies to bid off of. If you choose a design and build firm, they handle all pool interactions. However, keep in mind that they’re not incentivized to advocate for you.
Getting a design done and then shopping around off of that design is the best way to approach new pool quotes. Whether you do that with a landscape architect or not is up to you. At that point, when you get a design done before quotes, it’s an apples to apples comparison. Whereas, if pool builders are designing the project, each one will be different.
Final Advice For How To Negotiate With Pool Builder
If pool designer asks for your budget range, be honest. Trying to say what they want to hear will only create problems later on and waste everyone’s time. If you don’t know the answer to any question, even non price-related, you can say you do not know, that’s OK.