Canadian Contractor

Three reno jobs you MUST turn down

As a professional RenoMark renovator I find that sometimes I have to say no to prospective clients and their reno jobs. This may sound wrong but, once I tell you why, you'll probably agree with me.


January 29, 2020
By Dave Gray

As a professional RenoMark renovator, I find sometimes I have to say no to prospective clients and their reno jobs. This may sound wrong but, once I tell you why, you’ll probably agree with me.

My company signed an agreement with the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD GTA) that includes a list of standards that my business must abide by. According to this Code of Conduct, I will always have a contract for the work that I do, I will only hire trades that have the appropriate insurance coverage, I will always get a building permit if required, and much more. If a client asks me to compromise my ethics or contradict the RenoMark Code of Conduct, I will say no. It isn’t because I don’t want to do the work. Believe me, I am happy to take on any type of project; however, to be a member in good standing with BILD GTA, I have to abide by the RenoMark Code of Conduct. Circumventing the law, building standards, or safety isn’t worth the risk to my employees, my business, or my client’s home.

Cash job

One question I often get asked is, “Can we do it for cash?” I feel that homeowners don’t fully understand what that means. The underground “cash” economy in home renovation and repair poses significant risks, including worker safety liability risks for the homeowner if workers are not covered by the WSIB, no warranties, unfair competition with reputable contractors, and loss of tax revenues.

No permit?

Another question I get asked is “Can we do it without a building permit?” Let’s break down the implications of doing work without a building permit. First, if the renovation is done incorrectly it will have to be redone. Second, when your clients try to sell their home, any illegal construction may need to be corrected prior to the sale of the house.

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Add-ons

Lastly, people ask “Since you’re already here, can you do another small thing, like paint my bedroom for free?” These are the toughest requests. I want to make all of my clients happy, but I am also running a business. I also have to pay for staff and materials. While a small request is possible, I need to be responsible and accountable to my business partners and employees. Small requests like painting an extra room should be managed professionally and through a formal change request. Remember, the homeowner and contractor are supposed to abide by the construction contract they signed.

At the end of the day, I understand and agree that the homeowner is looking to get the best value and the most amount of work for what they are paying for. A professional RenoMark renovator is obliged to follow the RenoMark Code of Conduct. That’s what makes RenoMark renovators different. Sometimes if a client isn’t willing to renovate legally or doesn’t understand the benefits of working with a professional renovator there isn’t anything more that I can do for that client. I do my best to educate clients about the risks of not following the law and working with a professional. These are the reasons why I am a member of BILD GTA and why I participate in the RenoMark program. And that’s why sometimes I just have to say no.

If you are interested in becoming a RenoMark Renovator please reach out to Jorden Lefler at to RenoMark@bildgta.ca.

Dave Jurinic is the Director at Toronto Custom Concepts.