A national study conducted by Ipsos, in collaboration with Reno-Assistance, reveals the top Canadian cities and regions in which working with contractors for renovations is nightmarish. Toronto holds first place when it comes to its residents considering it difficult to find a trustworthy contractor.
Some statistics from different Canadian regions:
- Whilst the Atlantic Provinces have the highest trust and satisfaction when it comes to working with contractors, renovations cause more stress than any other major purchase – even buying a new property.
- Calgary residents seem to weigh a greater importance on their project’s price – as opposed to the rest of the country, for which contractors’ honesty is most important.
- Saskatchewan/Manitoba is the only region in which people spend more time choosing a trip abroad than picking a contractor for their renovations.
- Mysterious disappearances/theft of belongings over the course of a project are strongest in Montreal and Vancouver.
- Besides Toronto being the city with the most difficulty finding a contractor, it is also where homeowners have a higher probability of encountering more than one major problem with said contractors.
Trusting contractors with renovation projects has become a major issue throughout the country with two in three (64%) of Canadians not trusting general contractors, and their trust levels dropping when it comes to certain more specialized contractors. Electricians are the most trusted of specialized contractors, yet 47% of Canadians – nearly half – still don’t believe they are trustworthy.
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With home prices in Toronto (and across Canada, really) being what they are, more people are choosing to renovate their homes than to move. A Toronto Star report found that $72B was spent on home renovations in 2016, 40% more than the value of all new home construction. Furthermore, a report by consultant group Altus found that total renovation spend will hit $74B in 2018.
But here’s where the problem really rears its ugly head: a Newswire report indicates that 2/3 of Canadians will use cash or savings to fund their renovations. In Toronto, where money is clearly being wasted on untrustworthy contractors, this means that people are gambling with their life savings to renovate their homes, and they’re losing big time.
In major markets like Toronto and Vancouver, one could make the case that bigger orchards yield more rotten apples and that the population is too big to drive unprofessional general contractors out of business. But a certain amount of blame falls on homeowners, too: specifically, for not using the vetting tools available to them.
For example, less than 33% of homeowners consult customer reviews or look for customer complaints before hiring a general contractor. Now, while it’s true that this kind of due diligence takes a considerable amount of time, you’d think that an investment of that size would be worth putting in the hours, especially given how diligent most people are at checking reviews of Uber drivers and Air B&B hosts.
Another example (and an almost more shocking one) is that more than 66% of homeowners who sign on with a general contractor don’t even check the wording of the contract they sign.
So, there is a certain amount of caveat emptor going on, but this doesn’t excuse the apparent overwhelming number of untrustworthy, negligent or flat-out bad contractors in Toronto, Vancouver and other large Canadian markets.
Here are some highlights from Toronto’s renovation difficulties:
- In Toronto, 78% of people surveyed said it’s difficult to find a trustworthy contractor, while 25% said it’s very difficult.
- Almost 1 in 10 of Torontonians surveyed have had their deposits stolen by a contractor.
- Of all the city populations surveyed, Toronto leads the way in unforeseen extra bills, project delays, poor work that requires redoing, contractors not showing up and totally dissatisfied customers.
- Torontonians are 75% more likely to have problems with their contractors than Vancouverites, the 2nd worst surveyed city.
For a significant portion of Canadians (36%), major renovations reflect as the most stressful purchasing process, right after purchasing a new property (44%). Both purchases seem to be significantly more important than other serious ones, such as purchasing a new car, a pool, a boat, or an RV. There’s no doubt the financial impact of renovations and contractors’ honesty plays a major role in stress levels.
Reno-Assistance is the answer to both sides of the problem.
Reno-Assistance was created by Eric Perigny who himself lost thousands of dollars and hours of dealing with bad contractors. He went looking for a better way to help himself and others find and hire quality general contractors. When he couldn’t find one, he created it.
On the one hand, we take the pain out of identifying quality contractors by doing the up-front legwork with our 360˚ Verification Process. It’s among the most comprehensive vetting systems in the country, pre-qualifying general contractors on everything from a valid license to solvency to judicial actions taken to customer reviews. Very few contractors are awarded our stamp of approval, but the ones that do, earn it.
On the other hand, we take the hassle out of sourcing the right quality contractors by sending them directly to our customers. Every person who sends a request will receive up to three quotes from verified contractors with demonstrated experience in the kind of work a customer needs done. From there, it comes down to the customer’s personal preference.
I'm here to help you
- Jason / Renovation Advisor at Reno-Assistance
And to make it even easier for customers, we handle most of the customer communication. We’re your only point of contact for scheduling, changes, special requests and anything else that comes up.
Since Reno-Assistance’s inception in 2010, over 64,000 homeowners and business owners have been more than satisfied by the service, the quality of the work and the ease of getting it done.
As for the underserved and over-irritated Toronto market, Reno-Assistance will absolutely make it easier for Torontonians to renovate their homes and businesses. Our goal is to reverse the alarming trends brought forth in the Ipsos survey. We’ve already started doing it and we’re looking forward to a better industry, happier customers and an environment where the cream of the contractor crop rises to the top and stays there for good.