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OakWood RenoTalk

Where OakWood’s Renovation Experts Share Insights, Tips, and Successes

PART 5 of How to Avoid a Renovation Disaster:

“If the contractor offers a warranty I’m protected”

By John Liptak, CEO & President, OakWood
This 8-part blog series reveals how customers make assumptions that lead to six big (and often costly) mistakes. Each blog shares “must ask” questions you can ask to avoid being taken advantage of by a dishonest or unqualified renovator.

Here’s a startling fact: 93% of all construction companies don’t survive to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Sadly, a majority of contractors go out of business within the first two years of opening their doors. That means a 5-year warranty may not be worth the paper it’s printed on.

If a contractor tells you they offer a 5 year warranty, your next question should be: “How long have you been in business operating under your current name?”

The reality is this: a 5-year warranty has value only IF your renovator stays in business throughout that period. The statistics are not good.

In our experience, the majority of renovation businesses will not be around to honour their warranty.

That’s why we recommend choosing a renovator with a minimum of ten years of experience while operating under the same name.

Here’s one flag that could signal you’re dealing with a fraudster, and that any promises of warranty protection are hollow: the company requires a large deposit upfront before any services are provided.

We have seen this happen on many occasions. In some cases the “renovator” vanishes after receiving their ill-gotten booty. What should you expect to?

A reasonable deposit to get started on your project is 10 percent of the total anticipated value.

More importantly, you should expect to see a detailed payment schedule throughout the renovation as work is completed. This builds real accountability into your project. More importantly, your renovator is motivated to complete quality work on time – because that’s when they’ll get paid.

“Must ask” questions to ask:

  1. Does the renovator provide a minimum five-year warranty on labor and installation with the option to extend this to 10-years?
  2. Will the renovator guarantee that all work will meet the Ontario Building Code and, as required, be reviewed by a City Inspector?
  3. Does the renovator abide by the Ontario Tarion Warranty protection guidelines applied to home renovation projects?
  4. Does the renovator provide a comprehensive satisfaction survey at the conclusion of your project – and will final payment be conditional on your complete satisfaction?

Asking these 4 questions before you sign will help you size up a renovator’s warranty and have real confidence that they will be able to honor any claims of coverage, protection and quality.

In part six of this 8-part blog series, we’ll look at why “written references” should only be one part of your due diligence for assessing a renovator and other credentials that maybe more telling and useful.

John Liptak is CEO and President of OakWood, an Ottawa-based renovation company. Established in 1956, OakWood is a fourth generation family run business. Under John’s leadership, OakWood has grown to become Ottawa’s largest and most established full service renovation business and Ottawa’s first and only Mike Holme’s approved renovation partner. A winner of numerous awards, OakWood has been voted Ottawa’s Best Home Designer and Renovation company every year since the Consumer Choice awards were introduced in 2007.