Buyer Beware

Everything ultimately comes down to trust – Marcus Sheridan
This is s Stop Work notice that a county inspector left on the front door of a property where a swimming pool demolition was being performed by another contractor.

The content of this page should be of interest to everyone. You are strongly urged to read this page in its entirety. There are many companies demolishing / removing swimming pools who simply are not licensed. And, there are contractors who do have the correct licensing credentials, but lack the experience, knowledge, and competency to be performing swimming pool removal / demolition services.

I have made my living as a residential contractor since 1990. Yes, 1990. I started my company when I was in high school. I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all. I’ve observed it all. Both my clients and my prospective clients frequently share what they experienced / observed during their contractor selection process.

People, I know my industry. There are very few companies in Maryland and Virginia that exclusively perform swimming pool removal and demolition services. With that said, I know exactly who is licensed and I know who isn’t licensed. I’m well aware of who’s illegally using their buddy’s licensing credentials to pull permits.

I get called to come out and re-do work that has been done by other swimming pool removal companies. And, every year a frustrated property owner calls me to discuss me testifying in court as an expert witness against the contractor they hired to remove their swimming pool. Therefore, I know who the good guys are, and I know who the bad guys are.

When I get the call to come look at a job where the client’s relationship with their contractor went up in smoke, there are always two common denominators – 1) The homeowner chose the lowest price contractor. To this day, I have NEVER had to price re-doing work done by any higher priced contractors. The swimming pool removal jobs that go up in smoke – the homeowners went with the lowest price they got. I know this because they tell me they did. Some homeowners above and beyond to find the lowest price they can find. 2) The homeowner does not investigate contractor licensing status; they take a contractors word for it that they’re licensed. Most states have strict laws that state what a contractor can and cant do, along with laws regarding what must be written in a contract. The first red flag is a contract that does not comply with state contractor laws.

I’ve had this Buyer Beware page on this website since 2018. It started out with me only writing about unlicensed swimming pool removal contractors. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from prospective clients, so I’m taking it further and I’m sharing what other property owners have experienced with incompetent pool removal contractors – I will be adding pictures as time allows.

I’m passionate about maintaining integrity in the contracting industry, and I’ve seen first hand so many cases of property owners being deceived by incompetent contractors. As the first contractor to offer swimming pool removal and demolition services in Maryland and Virginia – I feel its my duty to try to inform property owners on what to look for.

 

UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS

Dishonest, deceptive, and unlicensed contractors are masters of what they do.

  • Yes, unlicensed swimming pool removal contractors have nice websites.
  • Yes, some unlicensed pool demolition contractors present their quote in nice, glossy, 4-color folders.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors have manners, speak clearly, and follow up on phone calls.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors may live in nice communities. They may express this to you as a means to sway you that they’re the real deal.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors have nice trucks and equipment.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors will pull permits (when necessary).
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors have references and they have insurance certificates / copies of their insurance policy.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors have nice proposal presentation packages.
  • Yes, unlicensed contractors will provide you with a warranty.
  • YES, AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR IS WELL REHEARSED. You’re certainly not the first person they have deceived. They have had plenty of practice.
  • YES, AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR.
  • YES, UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS ARE CON-ARTISTS.

Whatever it takes to get you to sign their contract – they got it covered from top to bottom. But ask them to see the proper state issued contractor license – and watch them dance. Or, if they’re using a buddy’s license number, which they’ll refer to something along the lines of “their parent company” or something along the lines of their “managing partner”, which is pure baloney and word games, and is still illegal even if it is true. People – a state ‘TRADE NAME’ certificate of registration is NOT a contractor’s license. If you try to ask questions – notice how quickly they try to move on to the next subject. What is written in this paragraph is not stuff I pulled out of thin air – it’s really happening.

An unlicensed contractor is fully aware they are in violation of state law. Well-crafted deception.

Ok, so you may be thinking “they’re going to do everything we want, we don’t really care that they’re committing a criminal act, they provided us with a copy of their insurance policy, and they’re giving us a warranty, so why not hire them to fill in our swimming pool?”

HERE’S WHY:
  1. If you give a contract deposit to an unlicensed contractor and they do not show up and start the work – the state will not back you up in recovering your deposit. In terms of any legal representation you will be entirely on your own. State licensing laws exist for a reason, to protect YOU.
  2. If the unlicensed contractor starts your job and abandons the job – you have no legal recourse. State licensing laws exist for a reason, to protect YOU.
  3. If you give the unlicensed contractor a job deposit, or even progress payments, and either before your project is started or during the project, they get arrested for operating as a contractor without a contractor license – they won’t be coming back, you just kissed your money goodbye. The court will issue a cease and desist order to the unlicensed contractor.
  4. In most cases, an unlicensed contractor will pull a permit by [illegally] using their buddy’s license credentials. This is illegal even if their buddy allows him to use his license, both parties can be criminally charged. There is liability associated with a county, town, or city permit. Let’s say you hired Pedro’s Pool Removal, whom is not licensed, to remove your pool. Pedro pulls a permit using the licensing credentials of his buddy who owns ‘Blue Moon Construction’. The permit will be listed in the name of Blue Moon Construction. This places the legal liability and responsibility on Blue Moon Construction. Yet, Blue Moon Construction has no idea who you are. I view it as identity theft. Ok, now, keep reading, I’m not finished yet. Pedro’s Pool Removal took your pool out (3) years ago. You just sold the property. The new owner discovers there to be a problem with the pool removal. The new owner is furious, just spent all their money on the closing of the property they just bought from you. They want the problem fixed, they retain legal counsel and serve you with a civil suit, they research permit records they discover that Blue Moon Construction is the contractor on county file who did the work. Subsequently, they also name Blue Moon Construction as a defendant. And Blue Moon Construction never stepped foot on the property, and never received a dime for the work done! You’re now living in sunny Arizona with a legal mess on your hands, and Blue Moon Construction also has a legal mess on their hands. Or, let’s say (3) years later you go to sell the home. You accepted an offer from a buyer. The title company starts doing their work and they discover there is a problem with the permit. The county won’t close out the permit until the issue is resolved. Thus, holding up the sale. Pedro’s Pool Removal did the work under a permit listed to his buddy Blue Moon Construction. Pedro is no longer in business, moved to another state. Because the permit is in the name under Blue Moon Construction – Blue Moon is responsible for getting the permit closed, and he’s never even met you or seen your property, let alone knows nothing about pool removal. Often times, an unlicensed contractor will insist that YOU, the homeowner pull the permit in your name. Then…… the permit liability and responsibility is all yours. If a contractor is trying to get you to pull the permit, in your name, then you should become suspicious and start asking questions.
  5. WARRANTY. What good is a warranty if the unlicensed contractor has been shut down, arrested, and / or imprisoned by the state??
  6. INSURANCE POLICY. A copy of the contractor’s insurance policy doesn’t mean squat. See, that policy was issued on a certain date. Who’s to say that the policy wasn’t cancelled 45 days, or 7 months later due to non-payment? The correct insurance document that you, as a homeowner need to have is what’s called a ‘Certificate of Insurance’. The contractor’s insurance agent will issue a Certificate of Insurance in your name, and it will say “as of this date, this policy is active, if anything changes we’ll notify you by mail”.
AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR IS NOT GOING TO ADMIT OR VOLUNTEER THAT HE/SHE IS BREAKING THE LAW.

It only takes a minute to verify licensing status. Presuming a few contractors are not state licensed, why even provide them with the opportunity to lie to you? Use the links below to protect yourself and weed out the con-artists.

You may verify MARYLAND contractor licensing status here:
www.dllr.state.md.us/cgi-bin/ElectronicLicensing/OP_search/OP_search.cgi?calling_app=HIC::HIC_qselect

You may verify VIRGINIA contractor licensing status here:
http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/

Our legal business name is Outdoor Finishes LLC

LICENSED CONTRACTORS

We licensed contractors hold our state licensing credentials near and dear to our heart. We went through all the proper steps to obtain our license(s), we’re proud of our accomplishment. In fact, a prospective client will not even have to ask a licensed contractor we’re if properly licensed, we plaster our numbers on everything! And if someone does ask – we’re happy to answer all their questions.

A Maryland / Virginia licensed swimming pool removal contractor will:

  • Display their state license number(s) in their website (required by state law).
  • Display their state license number(s) on their business card (required by state law)
  • Provide you with a written proposal / contract (required by state law).
  • Display their state license number(s) on their proposal / contract (required by state law).
  • Display their physical address on their proposal / contract (required by state law).
  • Know their state license number(s), they won’t have to “check and get back to you”.
  • NOT ask you to put the permit in your name (unless required).

 

Maryland Licensing Code

http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=gbr&section=8-101&ext=html&session=2017RS&tab=subject5

Virginia Licensing Code

http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodefull/title54.1/chapter11/

UNPROFESSIONAL INCOMPETENT WORKMANSHIP

Slideshow of photos of pool removal jobs done by other pool removal contractors. Some of these contractors have great websites and great presentations. I obtain these pictures when the property owners call me after becoming frustrated with their pool demolition contractor. Each picture has a caption describing the issue. if you place your cursor over the picture, the slide show will stop and you can read the caption. You can click on the photo to open in a different window.

  • VA swimming Pool Removal Options
    This is s Stop Work notice that a county inspector left on the front door of a property where a swimming pool demolition in Maryland was being performed by another contractor.