The home renovation market in Canada continues to show staying power, with Canadians spending over $48.4 billion on home improvement projects. Serving this market takes an enormous workforce of skilled tradespersons and contractors.
It’s a simple fact that a significant underground economy does exist within this particular marketplace. And the reality is that sites like Craigslist help feed this growth.
Whether it is fair or not, a certain stigma is associated with contractors who market their services within the Craigslist environment. There is an expectation that price is the most critical criteria in the selection and an acknowledged acceptance on the behalf of consumers that the quality may be acceptable but it is not at the highest standards.
Do You Take These Risks?
What often goes unlooked at is the fact that there are real risks associated with knowingly or unknowingly participating in this underground economy. It’s not simply “getting a better deal.”
If one is aware of the real risks, it begs the question – does any price savings justify the risk?
For a quick overview of warning signs that you chose the wrong contractor for your home renovation, check out the infographic below.
Having a licensed contractor does not ensure that you are getting the best deal or that your project will be without risks. But what it does do, is limit your risks to a reasonable level.
The underground economy in home renovations exposes homeowners to significant risk they often don’t understand and that can threaten their financial security. Furthermore, legitimate businesses suffer when they are forced to compete with those who cut corners, and don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
Kevin Lee, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association
As long as people are willing to take the risks associated with “cash deals” for savings on their home renovations, this part of the underground economy is not going away any time soon. Despite the public appeals of industry associations and consumers with renovation horror stories, the appeal of savings seems to do little to deter consumers.
So, are you planning to use a Licensed contractor the next time you have a home renovation project? Do you plan on finding your contractor on a site like Craigslist?
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