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Not all contractors are created equal but sometimes it really isn’t their fault

It’s my hope that the bad contractors out there are running scared.
It’s my hope that the bad contractors out there are running scared.

The intention for my shows is to shine a light on what the bad contractors out there are doing — and teach homeowners how to find one of the good ones out there. I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job at helping homeowners become more savvy about choosing the right people to work on their homes.

It’s my hope that the bad contractors out there are running scared. I’ve noticed that sometimes the good contractors out there are taking unfair punishment because homeowners see an issue arise during a renovation and automatically assume it’s because their good contractor is actually shady.

While it’s a contractor’s job to make things right for their clients — they can’t squeeze blood from a stone. Sometimes things are out of their control and they’re unable to avoid delays or other issues. Here are some of the biggest reasons I see contractor’s taking flack where they shouldn’t:

While it’s a contractor’s job to make things right for their clients, they can’t squeeze blood from a stone

Delays Due to Changing Scopes

You never know what you’re going to find when you renovate and start opening up walls. Sometimes there are issues with your electrical set up that need to be addressed. Or maybe when you’ve pulled up your old flooring, you find that the structure underneath needs to be addressed.

This can quickly extend the timeline of your project and turn what should have been a three-week renovation into four, five, or more.

Here’s another scenario: what if during your bathroom renovation you decide that you want a standing shower instead of a tub. That should be a simple change, right? Wrong. Even seemingly small changes will take time to order the new materials — not to mention potentially messing with the schedule of the sub trades involved in the job.

In either of these scenarios, your contractor should prepare you a change order, which outlines an updated timeline of your project, including the new materials, and revised costs.

When Cheap Materials Fail

A contractor is at the mercy of the limitations of the material the homeowner chooses. Here’s an example I hear about a lot: A homeowner is redoing their bathroom, and opts to order cheap fixtures online to save a few bucks. Sometime within a few months of installation the fixtures begin to leak or otherwise fail. Is that the contractor’s fault that you chose a bad finish? No. Ultimately, a homeowner is responsible for the materials they choose for their project.

Now, a good contractor should give you a few options to choose from. They might provide a selection of low-end, high-end, and mid-range materials for you to choose from, plus walk you through the pros and cons of each. But if they’ve done that, and you still choose the cheap option to save a few bucks, well, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to live with the consequences. That’s not on them.

They Aren’t “Flexible”

Good contractors do their best to make things right for their clients, but that doesn’t mean saying yes to everything a homeowner asks. What’s the problem, isn’t the customer always right? No.

Are you upset because a contractor is “charging for every little thing?” After all, when you’ve got someone demolishing a whole section of your home, there must be some small things they can leave off the invoice, right? Wrong. Good work isn’t cheap — materials and labour cost money.

What about when the contractor insists on getting permits for the work and you’re trying to avoid it to save some money? After all, they’re just cash grabs from the city — and if they do good work, they shouldn’t need the city to check it out, right? Wrong. No contractor is perfect — and with permits, their work will be checked out by the municipal building inspector to make sure it’s up to code and structurally sound. Permits give you peace of mind that the work is done properly — and your contractor should insist on them.

Are there bad contractors out there who will take advantage of trusting homeowners? Sure. But not every delay or issue with a construction project means your contractor is no good. If they communicate clearly and take the time to make it right, they’re probably one of the good ones.

Mike and his family are back! Watch their new show, Holmes 911 on CTV Life Channel.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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