You can find a lot of people out there that will be glad to build you an outdoor kitchen or install a swimming pool for you – at a price. But are you getting what you’re paying for? You can choose from an architect to landscape architects, kitchen designers, or general contractors. Each of these professions has people that are experienced in designing and installing outdoor kitchens and swimming pools.

How do you know which is best for your needs and best for your budget? We have collected some tips on what to look for so that you hire the best professional for the job and within your budget. Swimming pools and outdoor kitchen construction is expensive and time-consuming, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable with the one you choose.

• Choose a company or individual that is well-established in both swimming pools and outdoor kitchen constructions. They should have a minimum of 25 completed projects in their portfolio.

• Ask for a list of jobs they have completed and then follow through and call the homeowners. Ask if you can come view their finished project and look at the workmanship. This is also a great opportunity to ask them about the contractor you’re considering and if they have any recommendations or regrets.

• While interviewing contractors, designers, and installers share the exact same information with each of them so their bids are comparable.

• Check the local BBB for any complaints or grievances filed. One or two isn’t necessarily a red flag for a company that has been in business for 20 years. But a business that is less than five years old and has five complaints, you’re probably better off passing on them.

Once you choose a contractor for your swimming pool or outdoor kitchen construction project, you’ll have to sign a contract. Make sure these basic items are in the contract:

• Name, address, license number of the contractor
• Name, address, license number of any sub-contractors that will be on the job
• Start date and completion date for the project
• Clear terms of the agreement and explanation of how any disputes will be resolved
• Description of the work that will be done by the contractor, including clean up
• A list of equipment and materials that will be used and a breakdown of who is furnishing what and by when (With some swimming pool and outdoor kitchen construction jobs, the homeowner may have some materials they want to be used and will furnish them. Some contractors won’t work with materials they don’t furnish. Get this clarified at the beginning.)
• Payment schedule and warranty offered