Magazine for professional home renovators.

I have a solution for the underground work

Last week we ran a piece called “Competing with Fly-By-Nighters.”  Thanks to former painting contractor Bruce MacKinnon for that one.

Here is a reply to that article, from “French Renovator” (he doesn’t say where he’s based) Jean-Claude

“Hi, everyone. I have a solution for the underground work. The government should look over at France. (Over there) if you get caught doing a cash job for $1,000 you get find $2,000 plus all taxes extra… and the best thing is that your customer is fined the same amount – as if he’s the driver at a robbery!”

“And if you don’t like someone and you know they are getting cash jobs, you can just call the taxman and get a piece of the action….”

“Thank you for your time.”

Posted by
Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
5 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. In Quebec, the first offense fine for an unlicensed contractor is $10K – second offense is $30K. The homeowner is also subject to fines for everyone onsite without a license, but I have never heard of a homeowner being fined. With the contractor clearly taking all the risks and the homeowner taking none of the risk, it’s a wonder why any contractor would cut their profits and jeopardise their livelihood.
    The cost to get a contractors license in Quebec is approx. $6K, another $2K annually for renewal of license, insurance, bond and association fees. And yet the underground market is alive and well all over Quebec.

  2. Yes it is and adding more licenses,levies , insurances and taxes of any form only serves to widen the gap not help it. Did you ever notice that every time we the people complain to the government about anything including the underground economy their answer to the problem is another tax or a license.HOW IS THAT HELPING the underground economy still exists and those spend thrift tax hounds have more money to piss up against the wall, and then say oh well you asked for it and we did put measures in place to stop it !
    Now they have more money you have less and nothing changes !
    Seriously !

    • Terry you nailed it. If regulatory agencies were voluntary, they would earn far more credibility for both governments and those who would agree to regulation.

  3. Insanity !
    Doing the same thing over and over again every day and expecting different results ! Just Saying !

  4. I am an electrical contractor (in BC) and I get asked to do cash jobs all the time. I tell all of my customers, that they can pay cash to all of their contractors (painters, drywallers, etc) — except your electrician. We are registered with the Safety Authorities and have $10,000 licencng bonds payable to them, as well as S/A permits. Insurance companies don’t sue drywallers or painters for the work they did. The idea like in France reminds me of what life in Albania must have been like under their dictator. Everybody spying on everybody else. And why should someone get a kickback from the government for reporting a cash contractor (or a contractor that just cut you off on the freeway)? The person who reports you could be the customer that had the work done. Always a sting operation somewhere. And if you are going to do a cash job it had better be for a good price, because the government plays hardball if they catch you. Where I live they are very soon going to implement a system where the building inspector is going to report to the electrical authorities any electrical being done when they do their inspection and visa a versa for work being done by a building contractor. I know that this practice is used in many places, but not here yet., It will be interesting. Personally, I am not going to tell the other inspection authorities anything. I think that the best idea is government tax credits for work done legally like they had a couple of years ago. Sure, the government has to set up the department, but it is a win win situation for everyone. Ahhh– the joys of being self-employed contractor.

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