Metro Vancouver Custom Homes & Renovations

Hello, My Name is Robert Toth. I am the owner operator of Homes To Havens construction. We specialize in high end renovations, additions and we build custom homes as well. We primarily focus our work in South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Delta. Our service area for our projects stretches throughout the entire lower mainland.

I want to help potential clients of mine or anyone looking to hire a contractor, renovator or builder to avoid hiring problem contractors.

I believe most people are good and operate with good intentions. However, there are the few contractors that intentionally try to cheat, scam or realistically steal from trusting homeowners. Hiring a contractor, renovator or builder to complete a project for you is an exciting opportunity. For most people, its not every day they get to engage in transforming the place they call home. For people like myself, it is a privilege to get to do this day in and day out as a job. And I’m proud to say that I believe most people in my industry are good people who operate with good intentions.

That being said, I can’t ignore the reality that there are bad apples out there. That’s the case in every industry. Almost everyone knows a story of a contractor intentionally trying to cheat, scam or realistically flat out steal from trusting homeowners.

As our market continues to change and interest rates get higher, I do worry that the probability a homeowner might have a negative experience with a contractor will increase. Some builders, renovators and contractors may find themselves over extended. This can result in their businesses becoming Insolvent. Simply meaning they have no operating cash. Once the contractor becomes insolvent a sad but common game starts. The contractor constantly chases a sale and pressures people to sign contracts. This allows him to collect deposits to maintain the business, pay himself and ultimately his overhead. The deposit should go towards your project labour, material and progress, however in these instances the money goes towards paying himself and someone else’s project who is behind. This is obviously not sustainable and ultimately it is a trusting homeowner that will get burned.

My goal is to help you avoid these contractors and more importantly avoid these situations. This can be done by asking the right people the right questions. When you interview your potential contractor start by asking these 3 questions first, if they pass the first test then you can move on to the next level of due diligence.

Do they have a WCB number, and can they show they are in good standing?
Do they carry liability Insurance?
Do they have supplier accounts and are they in good standing with their suppliers?

All of these questions should be answered yes.

Do they have WCB. This is the most basic coverage required by any company with an employee or that hires subcontractors. If they can’t give you this information you can go online and get it yourself. WCB will tell you if their account is up to date with or with out a balance owing. A lot of people don’t know this, but if you hire a contractor with past due premiums at WCB you can become liable for those payments. Always get a WorksafeBC clearance letter.

Do they have liability insurance? Liability insurance protects you, the client and the contractor from accidents. These can be someone tripping and falling on your property who isn’t working on the site. Or accidental damage to city property or a neighbor’s property. Liability insurance isn’t required by all cities however reputable contractors carry liability insurance simply because its cheaper than paying out of pocket for accidents. And no professional company would expose themselves to the risks associated with not carrying insurance.

Do they have supplier accounts? If so, where? If they have supplier accounts this can be a good sign. There are three types of accounts, a credit account, credit card account and a cash account. All three accounts usually will get the contractor better pricing, however the credit account is the best for you to look into. If they have a credit account the supplier will issue a bill to them at the end of the month and give them 30 days to pay. You must earn this account with good credit The other two accounts don’t require good credit. When you contact the supplier just simply ask is their account typically in good standing. If the supplier, who makes money on the contractor doesn’t trust them with an account it’s probably a big risk for you to trust them with a deposit.

This will be an important business relationship for the duration of your project. I want you to find a contractor you can trust. Once you are confident In these initial questions we will cover the next set of questions to build on your confidence in the contractor you hire.

If you have any questions regarding vetting a potential contractor please DM me and I will get you the answer asap.

Be diligent!!!

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