Editor Stephen Payne was having a bit of fun with a post he called, “The Mike Holmes Nausea Meter: This Week’s Winner,” where he published what HGTV is using as its promotional image and text for Mike’s new show. Readers responded with a few very funny comments, but Glen (don’t know his last name) responded to another Holmes post more thoughtfully on some of the good Mike Holmes has done for us. We decided it deserved a post of its own.
I would really like Holmes to illustrate what his reno/repairs actually cost the homeowner as well (but I assume the show pays for most of it). But I think the point that most of you are missing is the reason he started doing his show. It wasn’t to get down on contractors, it was to educate homeowners on how to select and find good qualified contractors.
We could easily have the used car salesman version of his show. Some are great and stand behind their vehicles and once you find him you’ll never buy a used car from anyone else. But there are a lot of these used car guys who will rip you off and send you driving off the lot laughing at how gullible and stupid you are. To avoid that we try to educate ourselves on what a car of that make/model/year and km is worth. We usually have a good idea what we want and are willing to pay before we hit the lot.
When it comes to our homes, people have a tendency not to shop around, to not educate themselves about what they want and what it’s worth, and how it should be done. If they did our jobs as contractors would be so much easier. Homeowners would be wary of the low-ball price guys, they would be able to talk intelligently about their upcoming reno and not have the contractor confuse them with talk of things they can or can’t do because he’s too lazy or doesn’t know how.
So I think Holmes is good for the industry from that standpoint. I love going into a homeowners house who is willing to waterproof their shower and floor because they want it done right and I don’t have to educate them on that and have them feel I’m up-selling them.
Can Holmes do a better job showing costs? Absolutely, as long as they are accurate costs, not costs without labour. Can he speak more about good contractors? Of course… too much time is spent on the bad guys, but the bad guys are the reason he is at that house.
Unfortunately, homeowners have a tendency to learn the hard way. They need to be burned before they realize they have to pay a fair price to receive quality work. I just had a guy who wanted his entire main floor renovated. I gave him my price and a 2 week turnaround. He went with a “retired guy who was a third of your price.” Fine. I’m not lowering the cost of what I do. Well this guy called me up 9 months later asking me to come back and fix half of what the retired guy had done, and finish what he hadn’t got to yet. 9 months later and a kitchen, living room and bathroom are still not done! Crazy. This guy had to learn the hard way that you get what you pay for.
I agree that casting Holmes as a superhero is ridiculous. But I think it is too easy to blame him for contractors having a bad reputation and being viewed with suspicion. It is our responsibility as contractors, General or otherwise, to uphold the quality and integrity of the industry. Be a better contractor and you will get better clients. Produce only quality work at a decent price and more work will automatically come your way. If you aren’t willing to be that type of contractor then get out! Find something that you are better suited for like used car sales or something.