Magazine for professional home renovators.

What to do when the homeowner wants to hire their own subtrade to work on your jobsite


By Alec Caldwell

You’re working on a renovation project and the homeowner tells you they want to hire a tradesperson themselves, to do certain work. It could be their brother-in-law, a friend, someone else they know. You know their idea is fraught with danger but how can you handle the situation without alienating your customer?

One thing you can do is to remind them that, if they start hiring their own trades, they are becoming, in effect, the “constructor” on the job (as specified in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as in other provinces and territories). This opens them up to legal liability in the event of an injury (or death) of one of the trades under their supervision.

Alec Caldwell is the founder of CARAHS (Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services) an organization that educates contractors on issues exactly like this one. Visit for more information.


Posted by
Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Yes, this has happened to me thankfully only once. The client unknown to me brought their own tiler in over the weekend eventhough the contract included all tiling. Come Monday, I explained that they were now responsible for his work and for his costs and any warranties were his. They agreed until final invoice when they deducted his travel costs, hotel bill, and somehow the 8 hr tiling I estimated turned into 23 hrs for this tiler which they deducted. There’s no recourse. There’s no reasoning with those who insist on being unreasonable.

    • Robert Koci

      Wow. I’ve never heard of that. That really really sucks. Where do homeowners get these ideas.

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