The Average Cost of Things

Average Cost of Inground Swimming Pools

By Brandon Cornett | © 2014 All rights reserved

Welcome to The Average Cost of Things, where we help you put prices into perspective. On this page, we will examine the average cost of inground swimming pools in the U.S.

How much does it cost to have a pool built in your backyard? What's the best way to find and research pool builders in your area? What are the main factors that affect the total cost of the project? These are some of the most common questions among homeowners who are considering a swimming pool addition to their home. So let's take a look, starting with the number-one question on your mind:

Average Costs in the U.S.

First off, we just should point out that we are talking about average-sized pools here. We won't be discussing those shopping-mall-sized swimming pools people build in places like Beverly Hills, because that would only skew the results. Besides, those people probably don't care about the average cost of anything, so let's just forget about them. Instead, we will focus on the cost of a basic inground swimming pool -- the kind that people build in "Suburbia USA."

We visited quite a few websites to gather data for this article, and we found quite a few inconsistencies along the way. There are many websites that mention the average cost of pools, but the numbers they presented were wildly different. So the first thing we did was create an average of all these numbers. Then we visited some professional contractor websites and used whatever survey data we found there.

Okay, enough introduction! Based on the process outlined above, we determined that the average cost for an inground swimming pool is about $19,000 for one with a fiberglass lining, and about $31,000 for a concrete or Gunite pool.

Quick definition: Gunite is basically a concrete material that is sprayed on with a high-pressure sprayer. First, they dig the hole for your inground pool. Then they build a grid out of rebar or steel. And then they spray on the Gunite to form the pool itself. This process generally costs more than a vinyl shell / liner, but it's longer lasting too.

Researching Pool Companies

A word to the wise. You should play detective when researching pool companies in your area. This industry attracts a lot of bad apples. Chances are, you know someone (or have seen someone on your local news) who got ripped off by a pool builder. In most major cities, there are two or three companies that have been around for many years, plus a dozen or so "fly by night" operations that come and go with the seasons. Best to choose the former and avoid the latter.

Sure, the cost of your inground swimming pool is important. But it's more important to choose a reputable company that can actually finish what they start. So do as much research as you can, starting with the Internet. You'd be surprised what you can find out about a pool builder by using Google. Just bear in mind that some of them close up shop when they get a bad reputation, and then they re-open under a new name. So try to choose a pool builder that has been around (under the same name) for many years.

Here's a summary of steps you should take:

  1. Do a Google search for the pool company's name. Be sure to scroll through at least five pages of results, so that you don't overlook something.
  2. Find out who owns the company, and then do a Google search for that person's name too. Pool builders can change their names to run from a checkered past, but the owner's name probably hasn't changed.
  3. Visit the business search section of the Better Business Bureau website, and check the pool company's name. One complaint in several years of operation is not a big deal, but several complaints should raise a red flag.
  4. Do you know people who have built an inground swimming pool recently? Maybe a friend, neighbor or coworker? Ask what company they used, and if they were happy with the cost and the process.

Swimming Pool Estimates Online

Our advice is to start the process through a website like Service Magic. They actually screen contractors before they'll list them in their directory, which helps you with your "detective" work. Among other things, they check to make sure the pool builder is properly licensed and insured, has no lawsuits pending, etc. It's a great way to research companies, and to get swimming pool cost estimates from several builders at once.

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