Canadian Contractor

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell is the tools editor for Canadian Contractor magazine. You can follow him on his website (, on Facebook or via Twitter.
May 16, 2019 Voice

Perfectionism versus excellence

by Steve Maxwell

“Don’t spend your time lookin’ around for something you want that can’t be found.”

May 3, 2019 Voice

Two words that can improve your business – and your life – beyond measure

by Steve Maxwell

“I consider it a privilege to work for clients, and you should, too.” These two words should be said as much as possible.

March 15, 2019 Voice

Perfectionism versus Excellence

by Steve Maxwell

As a contractor, Perfectionism is a really bad goal. Excellence is where it’s at. Steve Maxwell explains the difference.

November 15, 2018 Voice

The Inner Life of a Contractor, Part 2: Why you need a craftsman’s heart

by Steve Maxwell

“The craftsmanship I’m talking about here is possible given any budget and any time constraints.”

August 24, 2018 Voice

The Inner Life of a Contractor, Part 1: Are you just molecules or more?

by Steve Maxwell

“The extent to which you thrive or wither as a contractor ultimately comes down to who you are inside. Nobody talks much about this, but some of us think about it, at least from time to time.”

June 22, 2018 Voice

Contracting and telling “white lies” to clients

by Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell writes about why ANY white lies in the contracting business are going to come back to hurt you.

April 27, 2018 Voice

A contractor is a machine: Are you revving too high – or too low?

by Steve Maxwell

Different contractors work at different intensities. But like any engine, there is a sweet spot for the most efficient output. Have you thought about yours?

March 9, 2018 Voice

Good guys versus bad guys

by Steve Maxwell

Ethical and profitable contractors operate in particular ways. Here are some of them.

November 9, 2017 Voice

A tale of two foremen

by Steve Maxwell

Foreman Ray ordered a 20 litre plastic bucket, containing 70 lbs of mortar, to be hauled high above the sidewalk

October 26, 2017 Voice

Lessons learned from a Chinese dirt bike

by Steve Maxwell

Quality is often about the small details – not the big ones

August 18, 2017 Voice

The best hand-guided trowel work I have ever seen

by Steve Maxwell

The skilled trade workers I met in South Africa were supremely skilled at precise, hand-guided work

June 23, 2017 Voice

Re-engineering a moisture-damaged floor built on top of bedrock

by Steve Maxwell

A contractor named Cam sent me an email about his challenges with this. Together, we tag team engineered a solution.

April 25, 2017 Voice

Two reasons good contractors are good diplomats

by Steve Maxwell

Diplomacy is a vital skill if you aspire to get better as a renovator or home builder

March 10, 2017 Voice

The best reason to be a contractor: “The right kind of freedom”

by Steve Maxwell

Had a bad day? Wondering why you ever became a contractor? THIS is why.

January 11, 2017 Voice

Air nailers versus hammers… lessons from history

by Steve Maxwell

New technologies provide windfall profits for early adopters – but only for a very short time

October 20, 2016 Voice

Why do we throw new tradespeople under the bus?

by Steve Maxwell

Way back in the past, Steve Maxwell writes, we used to have an apprenticeship system for trades training that the government kept its noses out of.

October 6, 2016 Voice

Why being a “transparent” contractor will help your business

by Steve Maxwell

“In a world where the public is scared of contractors, intentional and complete transparency is the ultimate marketing tactic. As long as you’re up to the reality of being transparent, that is.”

June 18, 2016 Voice

Why good help is hard to find

by Steve Maxwell

“My university degree was the biggest waste of time and money in my life,” Steve Maxwell says. Only when he pursued his passion for building did he feel complete.