Last week, Hammerati.com, a “LinkedIn for construction” site that helps contractors easily connect to work opportunities and publish themselves online, launched Hero Builders, a superhero-themed contest designed to challenge the negative stereotypes about the renovation industry and help rebuild trust between contractors and homeowners.
We sat down with Hammerati’s Founder, Carlo Perez to talk about Hero Builders, why he thinks Holmes’ approach doesn’t work, and Hammerati’s mission to change the conversation about the renovation and construction industry.
What is Hero Builders?
Mike Holmes recently launched a new series posing as a superhero. Whether Holmes has been a hero to the industry or not is arguable but what can probably be agreed upon is that he’s tipped the scale – today contractors are guilty until proven innocent. Try starting any relationship with no trust – it will likely end in disaster. Hero Builders is our attempt at a different solution. Holmes uses a ‘Superman’ persona to promote himself as the one hero in a sea of villains. Hero Builders wants to prove that Canada already has heroes by the thousands – regular, everyday builders doing amazing jobs, on real schedules, with real budgets. Those are the hero stories we want to tell, and they’re the stories we think the public needs to hear.
Contractors are made out to be the bad guys these days. You obviously disagree.
Consumer confidence is one of the biggest challenges for the renovation industry. A recent poll by Ipsos Reid ranked contractors below cab drivers, lawyers and auto mechanics in terms of customer trust. But while disaster renos make for good TV, programs that show only the negative side distort the reality that the majority of Canadian renovations are completed on time and in budget, and most homeowners are happy with the work. Yes there may be some ‘bad apples’ but it’s simplistic to suggest that it’s because most contractors can’t be trusted. The problem is multifaceted, ranging from homeowners with low budgets and high-expectations to regulators who’ve failed to create a working set of standards for general contractors.
Why are you launching the contest now?
Holmes’ advantage is that he has a million-dollar megaphone spouting one message, while our industry is so fragmented we might as well have duct tape over our mouths. But if there’s anything that the Internet has proven, it’s that groups of individuals today can have a larger voice than any one person, corporation, or even government. At its core, Hammerati is a tool that helps contractors publish visual stories about their work and easily promote those stories online. In other words, Hammerati gives contractors a megaphone, and Hero Builders is our chance to use all those megaphones together.
Why is this contest important to Hammerati?
We want contractors to know that there are tools like Hammerati out there for them – we’re a business after all. But we’re also just appalled at how unprofessionally businesses we work with are treated, simply because they’re in construction. We see it as part of our mission to help these small businesses have a voice. After all, their success is our success, and as a technology company in the renovation space, we think we’re uniquely situated to help level the playing field.
Where can people go to learn more about the contest?
Visit http://hammerati.com/heroes. Contractors can enter themselves or be nominated by homeowners whom they’ve worked with. Every contractor we know has great stories of people they’ve helped. We hope the industry will join in to prove Holmes wrong and show that there are superheroes are already amongst us.