So you want to turn your backyard into a leisure and entertainment oasis. Is it better to hire one contractor to oversee the whole project? Or does it make sense to do your own research and hire an array of trades yourself to save on costs?
This one is a no-brainer.
Avoid the headaches of piecemeal project management. Hire one company with lots of capacity and experience to manage your backyard project. You’ll be surprised at the many advantages of doing that.
This exquisite backyard with a Betz pool and water feature was designed by the Landmark Group of Thornbury.
Over the last ten years, more and more of us are emerging out of our homes and into our backyards. This trend is bringing us more value out of our backyards, and many new ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
Marc Luff of Betz Pools, explains, "It's about full-on enjoyment of your backyard. You can spend a sunny day around your pool or in the shade of a furnished gazebo and then stay out into the cool of the night. Sit on a couch with a glass of wine and enjoy a great BBQ. See the stars come out around a fire feature, soak in a luxurious hot tub, or watch the game on TV."
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to try to pull together this kind of project yourself. Figuring out all the options, hiring an array of trades people, and taking on all the project management tasks yourself is a recipe for headaches and escalating expenses.
Here are just a few of the advantages of hiring one company to manage your backyard project:
1) Buying power
Using one large established company boosts your bulk buying power. They buy in bigger volumes, which translates into bigger discounts for homeowners.
Betz Pools maintains a full administrative staff to take care of the details which leaves our contractors free to focus on their trade.
2) Project management costs
Multiple contractors each adding on 10 per cent to manage the various trades they bring on plus their own overhead increases the cost of the work. "At Betz, we use our own contractors, people we know, and we oversee all the work," says Marc. "Plus, the contractors we hire don't have to worry about the expenses of a sales staff or secretaries. We have all that for them. They just don't need to charge as much as contractors who have an overhead to maintain."
Warranty discrepancy between different contractors is a big issue. Your pool installer's warranty may cover concrete expansion but your concrete patio installer's warranty may not. If the concrete in the pool expands and messes up the patio then you're in the middle. Also, as large repeat buyers, big companies usually get better warranty service.
4) Top quality all the way
A variety of contractors brings a variety of quality. You may get a spectacular pool, lush landscaping, and beautiful lighting, but you could end up with lousy stonework. You want all components to be in tune with each other and every aspect to be top quality.
Betz controls the quality of every aspect which helps to ensure the look of your new backyard is consistent throughout.
5) Coordinating the work
Marc remembers one project where an overbooked contractor saw that another contractor had left a couple of wheelbarrows of dirt on the property. "This guy was looking for any excuse to delay and actually used those two piles of dirt as a reason to stall his work on that property for weeks." Using one company means that company controls the entire process. They can rough in the things that will come later and pre-order everything that's needed.
6) One call
If something goes wrong, one company means one call. If you have a lot of trades on site and someone breaks a neighbour's lawn sprinkler or knocks over a fence post or scratches a house brick, it's hard to know who is responsible. With one company, all the trades are under one umbrella and the onus is on the company, not the customer, to solve any issues.
7) Fewer headaches
It takes a lot of time and energy to do the research needed to take on a total backyard makeover. "At Betz, we've been doing this a long time," says Marc. "We know pools. We know where people will want to sit, where they'll want to eat, where the trees should go. We study the different materials and new construction techniques. We go to trade shows and talk to dealers who specialize in amenities like cabanas, BBQs, lighting, and fire features. We have extensive experience with permit issues. Imagine the cost in time, not to mention frustration, for a homeowner trying to piece all that together."
Some of Betz’s backyard projects offer so many amentities that there is no reason to go back indoors after dark.
Marc sees only benefits to the trend toward expanded backyard entertaining. "You get all that invigorating outdoor energy and all these ways to entertain your family and friends without having to leave the privacy and comfort of your own property."
Surfing the Internet is a good start. But your single most important step for pool information is to contact a certified pool professional to make sure you get the custom advice you need.
Do you have something to say about backyard projects? Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.