The pandemic has changed many things, including the way we look at our homes. After months of working and living at home, many of us want a change, because we want our homes to be more functional, more comfortable or better reflect who we are. And one of the biggest problems in moving forward with home renovations and repairs is finding a contractor.
Not finding a contractor when you want a kitchen refresh is an annoyance, but not finding one when you’ve got a failed water or sewer service line or electrical short is a disaster.
In fact, in Service Line Warranties of Canada’s inaugural State of the Canadian Home survey, 33 percent of homeowners had difficulty even finding a contractor, while 37 percent reported having an emergency home repair in the past 12 months.
And a lack of labor is slowing construction projects throughout the country, not just home repairs or renovations, but also large federal projects like Bridging North America. There are hundreds of unfilled positions, work is being completed more slowly and backlogs are increasing. The building boom isn’t the only problem delaying construction – a shortage of readily available necessary materials because of supply chain issues have not only increased the cost of projects but delayed them as well.
These delays may encourage homeowners to be less choosy about who they hire for repairs, but a hasty decision can have unanticipated consequences. Homeowners should still request references, check to make sure contractors have proper licensing and insurance and apply for permits at the appropriate municipal office. Work not done to code could result in difficulty selling a home later, and, if a contractor doesn’t have insurance and there is an accident, the homeowner may be held liable. Additionally, unscrupulous contractors may not finish the work or do shoddy and even unsafe repairs.
In the State of the Canadian Home survey, a surprising 50 percent of those responding reported having some type of problem with hiring a contractor. Problems included jobs costing more than the initial estimate, 11 percent; concern about finding a trustworthy contractor, 8 percent; a contractor not showing up on time or at all, 7 percent; difficulty getting in touch with a contractor, 7 percent; poor quality work done by the contractor, 7 percent; jobs taking longer than estimated, 6 percent; and overall bad experience, 4 percent.
Perhaps, because of poor experiences, Canadians have not expressed much trust in the skilled trades – 64 percent have said they don’t trust general contractors and 70 percent have said they have had difficulty finding a contractor they trust for renovations worth $5,000 or more.
In an IPSOS survey, homeowners reported problems with added expenses and unsatisfactory work that needed to be re-done. Many of these homeowners did not take a closer look at their contractor before they hired them – only 19 percent checked the contractors’ insurance; 29 percent sought out reviews on the internet; 21 percent reviewed complaints about the contractor; 14 percent looked at their contractors’ legal history; 7 percent did a criminal check; and only 10 percent performed a credit check.
Managing a contractor can be a lot of work and, it’s something many homeowners are overwhelmed by or don’t have the time or expertise to manage. Service Line Warranties of Canada can provide a smooth experience for customers with a network of thoroughly vetted contractors who undergo background checks and are subject to post-job satisfaction surveys.
Service Line Warranties also has a call centre with live agents available 24/7/365. We provide optional home repair service subscriptions to homeowners – when a homeowner gives us a call, we dispatch a vetted network contractor, monitor the job and pay the contractor directly for the work, taking all the effort out of an emergency home repair.
To learn how you can partner with us and make home repair hassle-free for your residents, contact us.