Ottawa's only Mike Holmes approved Contractor   (7,500+ Clients)

Getting more than usual calls about…

It’s the week before Christmas and the phones are ringing which is great to hear. Normally the weeks prior to Christmas have a slowdown in phone calls and then they pick up again in the New Year. But this year was different with lots of excited Homeowners looking to renovate their homes and calling before Christmas.

But there were also a record number of calls from Homeowners who desperately needed their work completed who had bad luck with their Renovation Contractors who left them high and dry or who simply could not finish the jobs. Four calls of this kind during the week before Christmas. We normally get calls like that every week but never this many during the week prior to Christmas. We are defiantly seeing a trend of what we call the Mike Holmes syndrome, which is a record number of “screwed over” Homeowners and also, much more rare but also increasing in number, the reverse – Homeowners “screwing over” Renovators. We can easily tell within 1 minute of speaking with the caller, which way the conversation will go.

Let’s talk about the second type of Homeowner first. Being the largest Renovator in Ottawa we can usually gauge quite accurately how many of each client type we get on a yearly basis. Out of 280 projects per year, 2 will have preplanned their way through the process to outright not pay us for our work, another 10 will be deceivers in their dealings with us and somehow justify in their own minds that they are right and everyone else is wrong, but the vast majority are great clients looking for a Renovator that is a partner who will improve their standard of living.

I don’t think our stats are out of the ordinary and quite frankly I think we are likely in a better position than most other Renovators because OakWood actually has 7 profiles of the perfect client that we are looking for as well as 1 profile of clients we are not going to work with, which means we probably prequalify our Clients better than most. Some Homeowners are simply not reasonable with their expectations and will never be happy clients, no matter who the Renovator. These are generally the same people that complain about everything in life and are mad at the world. Fortunately these personalities are also very rare.

On the flip side, from all the calls we get about Renovators not performing for Clients, the most common reasons are;

  1. Renovator simply left the jobsite, with very little money left in the project and lots of work left to do, the Homeowner is left holding the bag. The Renovator usually goes out of business or starts up a new numbered company, sometimes even with a similar name, but either way is not heard from again by the Homeowner.
  2. The low-ball Renovator who can’t pay their Subcontractors and Suppliers and cannot finish the project. Usually Liens are placed on properties by the Subcontractors and Suppliers and it becomes extremely difficult to get resolution and get the project finished. This whole situation is usually the fault of the Homeowner who should have known the low bid is “too good to be true” but like many thought “it won’t happen to me”. After a few weeks of this the Homeowners are exhausted and usually simply want the Contractor to go away and they will eat the loss and try to battle for their money in court.
  3. The Renovator who intentionally priced the project low to get the job and then gives you an extra bill at the end for all the work he did not calculate in the scope of work. This generally leads to Liens and court battles.
  4. Renovator does such a poor job that the Homeowner asks them to leave. This is usually at the financial detriment of the Renovator as the Homeowner chooses the timing to benefit themselves, however in the end it never benefits the Homeowner because any new Renovator coming in will charge more to finish the original project.

All of these situations usually end up in a court battle and resolution is drawn out for years. A simple $18 PPSA search at the beginning would have solved 75% of these financial issues. Most of these situations could have been avoided by the Homeowner simply doing their homework.

The sad fact is that there is very little we (or any other Renovator) can do to satisfy and help these Homeowners after the Renovator they originally chose is gone. In many cases there simply isn’t enough goodwill left in the Homeowner which leaves a very negative attitude and lack of trust that is so vital in the Homeowner-Renovator relationship; their money is gone and they are working with unrealistically low budgets to complete the project; they have usually lived in an unfinished space for a long time and “need it right away” negating the essential preplanning timeline; the cost of redoing work is far greater than doing it right the first time; and on and one.

So here is the lesson – Choose wisely when hiring your Renovator of Choice. Because after you choose it is too late. Having built over 5,500 successful projects we can give you some solid advice on how to properly evaluate and hire a Renovator; which will be expanded upon in upcoming newsletters. A good starting point  Download our FREE Report Remember, you will be entrusting your biggest financial asset, your home, to the Renovator you choose for the duration of the project. Trust based on factual evaluation, not emotion, is the key to a successful project partnership.

Have a great Christmas holiday.