Simply Pools Blog

Hidden Swimming Pool Costs Home Owners Must Know About

Posted by Vince Camastra on Jun 6, 2010 10:13:00 PM

     It almost never surprises me anymore when giving potential pool owners quotes for their backyard project that previous pool contractors haven't made them aware of the many potential hidden costs, leaving them completly in the dark of such additional expenses which are vital to complete the project. And why are such important elements of the pool project tossed aside? Simple, when the pool contractors learns that the home owner is working with a tight budget, they will most often leave out important things such as retaining walls, gas hook up or electrical until the project is well on its way and will notify the owner of these additional costs after the fact and only when faced with the situation. Most often home owners that received quotes for their swimming pool, despite the fact that they obviously need additional things to complete their pool project, are almost never told of these relevant facts by other pool companies.

hidden pool costs

This is a classic example of ‘hidden costs' for pool shoppers. After being in this business for quite sometime now I've seen examples of homeowners getting hit with such costs after the start of the project by their pool company many, many times. And although the occasional hidden cost is inevitable, most can and should be caught, or at least brought to light, beforehand.

So that's the purpose of this article. I want you, the homeowner, to be fully cognoscente of the potential extra expenses you're going to have with your swimming pool project. The whole idea here is that you can set a budget and won't have to go into a panic mode once the project has actually begun because something surprising has popped up.

Top Hidden Costs of a Swimming Pool Project

Retaining Walls

Many times I have heard the homeowner say to me, ‘The pool guy said I may need a retaining wall after the project is done, but said we'll just have to wait and see', The fact is, retaining walls can get pretty expensive. They also have extreme importance in terms of pool and decking stability as well as proper yard drainage. So if anyone says you may need a retaining, please do yourself a favor and get a set price on the wall before the project ever starts.

Extra Decking

Like retaining walls, there are often times not nearly enough discussion about a pool's patio leading up to the project. And because most people get at least an extra 300-700 square feet of patio beyond their initial 3' or 4' border, the cost of additional patio is usually the most expensive option to the pool. Although I do understand that some homeowners are going to get the minimal amount of patio up front so as to save money and at least be able to enjoy their swimming pool, they should still have a plan/design already in place (with help from the pool builder) showing the amount of additional patio footage they'll need in the future. Again, do not overlook or push aside this important element to learning the true cost of your swimming pool project.

Electrical Hook Up

Some pool builders included the electrical hook-up to the project in their standard package, and others treat it as a separate invoice. I have no problem with either, but in our case we always handle it. And the cost for this will vary from $1,500 to $3,000. The reason for this is simple. The extent of an electrical job with a pool is based on how many items the homeowner is getting with their project that require power. For example, a pump, salt chorine generator, light, automatic cover, hot tub, and heat pump all require additional power when doing a pool's electrical. So depending on these factors, as well as additional outlets or lighting in the pool area, electrical costs can vary significantly. So just as with all the other categories we've discussed, make sure you have a clear cost for the electrical hook-up before the project starts.

Gas Hook Up

If you installing a pool heater, you will need gas to run it. Most homes now have natural gas and the gas line most often must be run from the gas meter to the pool equipment pad or shed which will require a licenced gas fitter to do the work. Gas hook up can cost as low as $600 for short run to as much as $3,000 if the gas line needs to be buried a long way to reach the loaction of the heater. Again, make sure you have a clear cost for the gas hook-up before the project starts.


Just about every pool in the world is required to have a fence around it in some way, shape, or form. Unfortunately, I've seen many instances where the homeowner didn't even think about the fencing component of the project until the swimming pool was completely finished. Such an order of operations is not a good idea and should be taken care of at the same time the swimming pool and patio are planned.


The process of putting in an inground swimming pool is a rather involved one, using quite a bit of heavy equipment to make the project a reality. Because of this, anywhere equipment comes in and out of the property so as to get to the pool area may be damaged. This means that any grass in this area will need to be seeded/replaced after the fact. In many cases, homeowners will just go ahead and sod in the area around the pool so as to get things looking back to normal right away.

If a driveway is the main entrance to the backyard, keep in mind there is a chance it driveway will sustain damage during the project. This is especially true in cases where the driveway, be it concrete or asphalt, was built too thin. In such cases, damage due to the weight of the equipment is basically inevitable. In fact, there have been many, many jobs where we have told homeowners that they needed to understand that their driveway was likely going to get very damaged due to the fact that it was obviously poorly constructed. Although such a conversation is never a fun one, it is critically necessary because we believe the only way to paint a picture when it comes to pool planning is by painting a realistic and honest one. At least this way, all parties know fully what to expect.

So there are least 6 hidden expenses of a swimming pool project. I hope this article helps you to be more prepared when you're ready to buy your swimming pool and if you having any questions, comments, or additions to the article; please don't hesitate to leave your thoughts below.


Topics: Fibreglass pools, Fiberglass Pool Cost, How To Choose Your Pool Contractor, Retaining walls

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