We’ve always wanted a big pool, but never seemed to have the time or money to have one installed. Instead, we stuck with the easy set pools that can be bought at almost any retailer. We had to purchase a new one almost every year because they weathered and cracked or we didn’t have time to get it put away properly. Don’t get me wrong, they worked very well when the kids were smaller, but they’ve definitely outgrown them.
We went without a pool last year, as it was our first summer in the new house. We didn’t really have the time or energy to level new ground and put one up. We decided this spring that we’d like to have a nice, big one, but it wasn’t really in the budget. Most places quoted between $3,500 and $6,000 to have one installed. We shopped around and looked at the easy set ones, but one in the size we wanted was over $800- and that wasn’t including sales tax! We were still going to have to level the spot, and that wasn’t going to be easy to do with a 24’ circle.
I decided to start watching Craigslist for one in a reasonable price range. I’d always heard that you should never pay for a used one and that they weren’t worth the effort unless they were free. Well, I’d been waiting 13 years and had yet to have a free pool fall into my lap. I’m pretty patient when it comes to waiting for a great price, but that was a little long for my tastes.
There were several listed on Craigslist over the course of a couple of months, but most were priced extremely high, the owners didn’t have a lot of information on them, or they sold immediately. I went to look at one and the man swore to me it was a 24’x48’x52” oval. I’m pretty sure above ground pools don’t even come in that size!
We finally found a 24’ rou nd for $300 in a town just 15 miles away. It had several accessories that would have cost us a fortune to purchase new. I called minutes after it was listed, but it was going to be a couple of days until Brad could go with me to look at it. This couple was SO nice. They had several calls, but were going to hold it until we were able to make it to look. When we looked at it, they showed us where it had been, told us everything there was to know about it, informed us how difficult it was to put up, and asked us to think about it for 24 hours before we made a rash decision.
I knew that we could get our money back out of it if it didn’t work out, so we decided to buy it. We picked it up, unloaded it, and it rained for two weeks. When it dried up a bit, our neighbor was gracious enough to come over with a backhoe and level the ground for us. Then it rained some more. He brought us a load of sand on a Friday afternoon, and on Saturday, we got to work. It took most of the day on Saturday and Sunday to get it erected, but by Sunday night, the pool was up. Dry, but up. Over the past week, I’ve added water a couple of hours at a time to avoid burning up the well pump. On Saturday, we were finally full enough to hook up the skimmer and pump and go for the first swim.
This was definitely not an easy job, but we saved a fortune by putting it up ourselves. We just had to ask ourselves how much work we’d do for the $1,500 it was going to cost to have it professionally installed.
Our final costs were:
- Pool: $300
- Sand: $136.66
- Liner: $106 (Liners are about 1/3 the price on Ebay as a pool store, including shipping. This liner was $298 in store, before sales tax.)
- Paver Blocks (to support rails): $10.20
- Grand Total: $552.86- or $300 under what a disposable would have cost (and we’d have still had to level the ground)
There are still a few incidentals to purchase, which are not included in the cost. These purchases would be required for any pool. I’m ordering chemicals and a bag for the vacuum today. Again, Ebay is MUCH cheaper than the pool stores!
This pool is going to save us a fortune this summer! We didn’t purchase our typical season passes to the water park, won’t have gas expenses driving to a pool, and we’ll hold both of the kids’ birthday parties here instead of renting a pool elsewhere.