It went great, all things considered. We spoke with several companies, most of them from Angie's List, and got bids from three. Courage was right in the pricing ballpark with the others, but seemed much more open and amenable to our ideas and feedback than the others. He (Jim, the owner) drew up plans and submitted a bid, then backed off while we continued the bidding process - no pressure, no ultimatums, just an eventual expiration date for the bid. We liked the fact that we were speaking with the owner during this part of the process who is and quot;in the fieldand quot; every day at his projects instead a salesperson, and thus someone who was familiar with all aspects of what he was talking about firsthand. We decided on him because he seemed honest, his price was competitive, he offers a lifetime warranty on the pool shell, and he had great recommendations; some people on our street have had him build more than one pool for them as they've relocated around the area - that alone says volumes - and and quot;Courage pooland quot; was cited several times as a selling point for homes when we were looking for a house 18 months or so ago, the only pool builder I saw listed by name in this way. Once we decided on Courage and signed the contract, which clearly spelled out exactly what was to be included and how much each installment payment on the project would be, detailed planning and the and quot;approval danceand quot; with our HOA began shortly thereafter. Our HOA is pretty strict about their rules and the process mandated for their approval process. Courage had done several pools in our development already though, so he was familiar with the requirements. We knew where we wanted the pumps and other equipment to be installed already (in a side yard), and we had a hole in the back yard dug by the previous owner as a starting point for the main part of the pool. But we still needed a design for the pool, and Jim had submitted a proposal that we had tweaked some as part of his bid. We liked the main idea but had Jim work with our landscape designer on some of the aesthetics of the pool with regard to tying into the plan for the rest of the back yard, as we were having the whole yard finished at once. Jim supplied all of the necessary drawings and samples needed to fulfill our HOA's requirements for the approval process with no complaints and no problems. In a few weeks we were approved and it was time for construction to begin. Jim took care of all the permitting necessary for construction as part of his package. He subs out all of the work but keeps a very short leash on his subs; he's very picky, and they know that going in and are on their and quot;best behaviorand quot; as a result. They were very professional and someone was on site working on an aspect of the pool almost every day, at least until we got to the point where we were ready for the deck around the pool to be poured. Excavation (not much as a benefit of starting with a big hole in the yard), plumbing, and the gunite shell were all done quickly - within 3 or 4 weeks. Then, as this phase was being completed at the end of August, we entered the part of the process where the owner has to keep watering the gunite; three times a day for the first week, one time per day afterward until plastering the pool - this is not particular to Courage, but I mention it for those that haven't ever built a pool because it gets tedious pretty quickly. Next we switched focus to our landscaper for a while. Since we were having everything - and I do mean everything - done in one fell swoop in the back yard the landscaper needed to do his own trenching and put in drainage and irrigation next. Courage coordinated very well with the landscaper, and vice versa, to ensure that each knew what the other was doing and when so that when one finished the other could subsequently come in and start their next phase of work. This communication was extremely important, and very well executed. However, it was inevitable that we lost a little momentum during switches between Courage and landscaper as one would commit their crews elsewhere while the other worked on our yard, so sometimes there was a lag of a few days or even a week when we switched from one to the other. When the landscaper had finished with their underground work and regraded everything, we switched back to Courage for a bit to tile the pool and construct a 5' high moss rock waterfall. We selected tile for the waterline of the pool from the company that does tile work for Courage, and they came out soon after to complete that work. Courage had worked with the landscaper to coordinate a single purchase of moss rock from the same source so that the rocks used in our waterfall would match those that the landscaper used in some rock walls elsewhere in the yard, another example of excellent coordination by Courage. We then switched focus to our landscaper again to do the concrete decking and coping around the pool, along with the rest of the concrete in our yard. We did four pours in all, but began with the decking and coping around the pool in the first two pours so that we could enable Courage to finish the pool once the decking was complete while the landscaper worked elsewhere in parallel. It took a couple of weeks to complete the decking and coping and let it dry sufficiently, and again we lost a little momentum with Courage at this point. At this point we were probably 10 weeks into this whole project since the pool work began. Courage came back in and had the electrical and plumbing work completed, installing our pumps and lights and spa heater. Then they put step tiles in and repaired tiles around the edge of the pool that were damaged during waterfall and deck/coping construction - the tile guys made it a point to say that Courage was very strict about requiring them to do step tiles at the very end to ensure they weren't damaged by wear during pool construction. Finally, by about week 12 or a little later, it was time for plastering and the end of the and quot;water the guniteand quot; phase for us. Plastering was over quickly - we got a pebble finish - as they plastered one day, then acid-washed the plaster and filled the pool the next day. They came back to test some of the equipment and correct a couple of issues once the pool was filled, including some corrections to the waterfall to ensure that water flowed over it in the intended manner. Once the waterfall was finalized they sealed it to prevent leakage - it's just rocks and mortar - where we didn't want water to flow. Courage also included a start-up service as part of their package. This included a startup kit to brush the pool and test chemical balance with. After plastering we had to brush the pool twice per day for the first week, then continue brushing once per day until the company providing the startup service said it was OK to quit; this continued about 2.5 weeks altogether. The company providing the start-up service balanced the chemicals in the pool for the first couple of weeks, tested all of the aspects of the pool equipment and worked with Courage to iron out any kinks, and then spent 3 hours one morning showing us how to do the chemical balancing on our own and how to use the various pool equipment, program the remote, etc. And then we were done! All in all it was a pretty smooth ride. Jim's office manager, Jessica, was our point of contact during most of the process and was awesome to work with - always courteous, always cheery, never fazed by anything at all. She always told us when we had an inspection due by the city (as part of the permitting process) and when we had to take some action (meet the inspector, install door alarms on doors that led to the pool, when the landscaper had to have fences/gates up with self-closing hinges and latches, when we had a payment coming up, etc). Courage was very flexible about making changes to the plan along the way too, although obviously there are deadlines in this regard depending on what kind of changes you want and whether they're possible given the phase of construction. The process wasn't perfect - no project of this size will be. Issues that we had included a surprise choice by the tile company for our spa spillway into the pool (corrected at no cost), the guys forming the shell working from Jim's original pool plan instead of our landscaper's plan when forming the sides of the pool adjacent to deck steps (landscaper adjusted to this on the fly with the decking), ordering the wrong lights (corrected at no cost and one day delay), some of the spa plumbing being crossed between pumps and spa (corrected at no cost), and a surprising 1and quot; wide black plastic border between pool tile and coping. On the water stop, which is there to prevent gaps from forming between decking and pool as the concrete shifts, we were not told that it would be there or given a choice in color - this was really done by the landscaper, but the result looked like a huge black crack all the way around the edge of the pool. This was unacceptable to us and we wanted to cut the 1and quot; border of the water stop off to leave just the thin edge showing of the part that goes between concrete and gunite/tile to minimize the appearance (the water stop is shaped like a sideways and quot;Tand quot; with the top of the T being the 1and quot; part that shows). Courage solved this for us by suggesting we paint the water stop to match the pool coping - problem solved, and the water stop is still there to do its job. This could have been a very stressful experience, especially doing it in conjunction with the landscaping, but Courage made it relatively painless. They were eager to work with us to ensure our happiness all the way through the process and with the finished product. Their commitment to quality and to customer satisfaction is obvious. I'm not sure I'd want to go through the process of building a pool again, but if I did Courage would be the first company I'd call.