A quick list of questions to ask a pond builder/contractor in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or anywhere!
What should a home owner ask a pond contractor? After all, how many home owners interview pond builders every day? Here are six questions to ask a potential pond builder.
Question #1: Does the contractor listen more than they talk?
If someone is building a pond in your backyard, you want them to hear your ideas and listen to how you want to use it. A good contractor will ask questions and then shut up!
Question # 2: Does the company have insurance?
If a contractor, working on your property, does not carry insurance, you could be liable for costs associated with accidents or problems. Just ask!
Question # 3: Does the contractor have experience building a koi pond or a disappearing waterfall?
Do they have any pictures? (hopefully!) Take this one with a grain of salt though. Pretty websites and pretty pictures don't mean they build well. Ask if they have had any special training related to the work to be done.
Question # 4: Do they tell the truth? Is this someone you can look in the eye? Do they put in writing what is to be done along with a price and a date? Have they done what they said they were going to do from the first interaction or clearly communicated if difficulties popped up (like missing an appointment because a rain day delayed a big shipment. #contractor woes!)
Question #5: Ask about change orders. Does the company have a simple method or form to use should you want to make changes? This is probably the biggest trigger for contractor-home owner disputes. A change was made during the build causing a price change which shows up on the final invoice. Even if the company does not have a form, simply emailing a change along with a price will help clear up the "mud" because it creates a record.
Question #6: Be honest- about budget, about time frames, about hidden surprises underground. You want a trustworthy contractor who will do what they say they will do. The contractor equally needs to trust that you are being honest about what is underground and that you will do what you say you will do, like pay them.
Working together requires mutual trust!
There are many good contractors who work very hard trying to provide their customers with a wonderful product. Many of them are true artists. Some will have smooth processes and some won't. Hopefully, by asking questions first, you will find a great pond builder to work with! If you have other questions that you think should be included in this short list, please email them to us! We would be happy to share your experience with others.
Jeff Chudek has been building ponds and waterfalls professionally since 2005. As a kid, his favorite time of year was spring, because the spring thaw created so much mud and puddles, and all the trees and plants were waking up. He loves figuring out the best way to use something, and fixing things that are broken. He's good at coming up with ideas, and helping choose the best idea for you.