The cheapest and most expensive ways to buy and install a swimming pool?

Depending on how much money and time you want to save, there are different ways to buy and install a swimming pool, including a DIY pool. In many instances, the money saved can mean the difference between getting your swimming pool now or having to save a little longer. Or getting the pool and the bathroom done at the same time. Or… whatever you can think of doing with money you did not think you’d have!

Like anything in life, if you are happy to pay for someone to do all of the work for you, you are exchanging money for your time. Let's say  you are moving house. You can hire a removal truck, box everything up yourself, carry out the furniture and then unload in your new pad. It's more work, however you are saving thousands of dollars of your hard earned cash. Or, you can pay for a removal company to do absolutely everything for you while you meet the new neighbours with glass of wine in hand. It is the same with swimming pools. There is no right or wrong. It is a question of what is the best option for you and your budget. Learn more about the options for buying a pool here.

So, what are the cheapest and most expensive ways to buy and install a pool? Learn more about what type of pools are easier to install here.

1. Owner Builder Installation (biggest labour cost saving)

An Owner Builder is someone who takes responsibility for residential building works carried out on property they own (usually their home). An Owner Builder needs a council-approved building permit, arranges engineering details and certifications, supervises trades and/or undertakes the building works and ensures compliance with the applicable building codes and Australian Standards.

It is possible to Owner Build a concrete pool. However, concrete is unforgiving of mistakes. If you buy a vinyl liner or fibreglass DIY pool kit, being an Owner Builder is a more realistic option. Particularly if you or the trades you hire are experienced in swimming pool installation.

If you have structural home renovation or general building experience and are prepared to be responsible for your own swimming pool installation, Owner Building a swimming pool can save you a small fortune on the costs of installation. 

2. DIY Pool Kit - Assisted Installation (excellent cost savings)

You are still doing some project management however you buy a vinyl liner or fibreglass DIY pool kit which is delivered to your kerbside.  You can then hire a licenced pool installer to manage the entire installation, first water fill and equipment testing of your DIY pool kit using their tradespeople (excavators, lift crane, plumbers, electricians, site supervisor etc) and certifiers. The pool installer can arrange council approvals, or if you want to save more money, you can do this yourself through a Building Certifier. Once the DIY pool is installed, you can then arrange for finishing trades directly like landscaping, patios, paving, pool fencing etc to save more money.  If you’re thinking of a concrete pool, this isn’t for you as you can’t buy a concrete pool kit.

Learn more about what is usually included in DIY pool installation here.

Key takeaway - installation options

3. Pool Builder - Basic Installation (some savings here and there)

Whether it is a concrete, fibreglass, or vinyl liner pool, pool builders will manage the whole project, including delivery to site, council approvals, installation, the swimming pools first fill of water, clean and test run, paving around the edge of the pool (usually called coping paving), and certification on completion. What’s not included? Usually, the pool fence, full paving, patio’s, additional electrical work for water features, landscaping and anything else not essential to get you safely into your swimming pool and doing laps. The pool builder will apply a profit margin to the entire value of the installation which adds a considerable amount to the overall cost of your pool.

As a side note, some pool builders are using exactly the same fibreglass pool shells we supply as a DIY pool kit directly to you. Why? Because they have the best structural warranty in Australia and over 90,000 Australian families have one in their backyard.

Basic installation is one of the most common choices by the pool-loving public, due to a misconception DIY pool kits are low quality. Basic installation is a great option to allow you to arrange finishing trades directly (and save some pool builders margin) to finish the area around your pool.

4. Pool Builder - Full Installation (I’m happy to pay a premium so it’s all done for me) 

This is where absolutely everything you want for your swimming pool is fully managed and completed by the pool builder, including installation, equipment, landscaping, water features, pool fencing and paving. The builder will apply a margin to the entire cost of the job which adds up to a substantial amount. Naturally, this is the most expensive option, however it involves the least amount of time and energy from you. If life is already busy, you just want a pool with everything done for you and don’t mind paying a premium, this is a good option. When my daughters were both 2 and under, I would have happily paid triple the asking price for a soundproof box that guaranteed sleep and made each day 26 hour. Sometimes, it is just not about the money! 

If you would like to learn more about the differences between concrete, vinyl liner and fibreglass pools, you can download our very popular and free An Unbiased Comparison of Vinyl Liner vs Concrete vs Fibreglass Pools e-Guide here. 

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Rohan Taylor
About The Author

Rohan Taylor

My wife and I grew up playing in swimming pools. Our daughters learnt to swim in our backyard fibreglass swimming pool. There is nothing quite like hearing kids splashing about and giggling. As pools do, our pool became a social magnet for friends, family and neighbours which we loved. Helping customers to have their own pool and saving customers thousands on their pool and equipment is the best job in the world.