10 Ways To Avoid Hiring The Wrong Renovation Company

Ensure You’re Hiring The Right Home Renovation Contractor

Home renovations can be very difficult and extremely costly if you hire the wrong renovation company. A renovation is a huge undertaking and your biggest investment is on the line. The last thing you need to deal with is a contractor who doesn’t have your home and your best interests at heart.

The stories of home renovation nightmares are seemingly everywhere. In 2016, there was a news story of a Toronto renovation contractor who was doing shoddy work and running away with people's deposits. The contractor, Evgeni Ostrovski, was hired through Kijiji. When reading the story there are multiple warning signs that the victims could have easily seen and avoided. We will explain more in this article.

Before you hire, avoid the following mistakes others have made. We’ve created a list of conduct you shouldn’t let any Toronto Renovation Company get away with.

1. AVOID: Hiring a contractor who has “all the time in the world”

The demand for quality renovation experts is extremely high - especially in the warmer months. A majority of hires come from referrals, testimonials, and the ability to show past home renovation projects. If your contractor seems to have a wide-open schedule, that could speak to the quality of their work. Also, if they have all the time in the world - they may just take it!

2. AVOID: Hiring a contractor without a license

If your contractor doesn’t have a license then, don’t expect the best work. If they will willingly work without a license, what else are they turning a blind eye to?  It’s safe to assume that they may also be willing to neglect required Toronto building permits and liability insurance. Sure, hiring a friend or a contractor who wants to make a quick buck can save you money. A Building Renovator License is a qualification obtained after passing a written trade exam. Please note - you can be held liable for any injuries that happen and you are more likely to end up with buyer's remorse.

Read “8 Kitchen Renovation Mistakes You Need To Avoid

3. AVOID: Paying in cash without a receipt/contract


It may be cheaper to pay cash, but it’s rarely ever worth it. If the contractor isn’t offering you a receipt, then you know their finances are not in order. What if they deliver poor workmanship or damage your home. Without a proper legal contract, you may have an exceptionally hard time trying to recoup the cost.

4. AVOID:  Hiring a contractor who wants a large deposit

If the contractor is asking for half of the cost upfront - don’t hand it over so quickly. This is a telling sign that you are working with an amateur. Professional contractors will ask for no more than 15% so they can secure their time and work.

5. AVOID: Signing a contract without understanding it completely.  

In the busy world of construction – it’s easy for things to get missed. Take the time to carefully read your contract before signing.  You must agree to the terms of contract – such as payment terms and timelines.  If your renovation is complex, it’s a good idea to seek out a legal professional to review the terms with you.  

6. AVOID: Beginning a renovation without a Toronto building permit

If you or your contractor begin construction without acquiring a building permit, beware of the potential consequences. Your construction can be delayed, all the work could be removed, and additional fines and legal action could take place. Fines can cost anywhere from $200 - $26,000. You can apply for a Toronto building permit at the city website online here.

Read “8 Ways To Prepare For The Renovation Process


7. AVOID: A contractor without General Liability Insurance  

Verify the renovator has a general liability insurance policy – a liability policy of greater than $2M can cover a wide range of damage including damage to neighbouring properties. General Liability should also contain riders for demolition and underpinning work, if this is taking place.

8. AVOID: Contractors With No or Bad References

Ask the renovator for references especially, on projects like the one you’re about to embark on. When communicating with the homeowner, here are some of the questions to ask:

• Did the renovator treat their home with respect?

• Would they work with the renovator again?

• Did they feel they got good value for their money?

9. AVOID: Renovators without Professional Affiliations & WSIB Coverage

Always inquire about professional affiliations.  A professional contractor will be a member in good-standing with BILD, Renomark, and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

10. AVOID: Contractors without WSIB Coverage

WSIB protects Ontario workers, in the event of an injury on the job.  If the contractor does not have WSIB coverage, and someone working on the project in your home is injured, you could be liable for the cost related to the worker’s injury.  Before anyone works on your home ask the contractor to show you a WSIB clearance certificate, dated within the last 90 days.  You may check the WSIB website www.wsib.on.ca for more information.


Hire An Experienced Toronto Renovation Company

With over 35 years of serving the GTA, you can trust in the Toronto home renovation contractors at Bryant Renovations. Don’t leave your home projects in the hands of an amateur. Contact us today to see how we can help transform your home.