Five Themes For Five Years By Jim Caruk

Jim Caruk

It really is amazing how time flies. It seems like only yesterday we were sitting down to look at the first layouts for the launch of Renovation Contractor. But that was more than five years ago now. Our first issue came out in May/June 2011. We’ve since switched up our production cycle, making the April/May 2016 issue our fifth anniversary. With that in mind, here are five key themes we’ve tried to get across to our readers through this magazine.

We’re colleagues, not competitors

I’ve been saying this since the beginning: as contractors and homebuilders, we need to work together, rather than against each other. Of course you want to try to land the job, but it does nobody any good if we’re all undercutting each other.

Educate yourself

Don’t believe the old cliché: you can teach an old dog new tricks. You can also teach him about new tools, materials, and building techniques that will help him get the job done faster, better, and with more money in his pocket. Your subscription to this magazine is one small part of that. But do yourself a favour and get out to some of the trade or home shows to see what’s new. Or – blatant plug – come out to our annual Renovators’ Roundtable.

Act like a pro

In this business, first impressions with clients go a long way. If you show up to quote a job in a grubby old T-shirt with paint stains on your tattered jeans the client will immediately start worrying about what state you’ll leave their home in. I’ve heard from many readers who get crewmembers to wearing company shirts, and prohibit them from smoking on the jobsite. Keeping little things like this in mind can help you land your next job.

Don’t do cash deals

I know it’s hard to resist the temptation – and constant requests from would-be clients – but working under the table is a lose-lose proposition. If you’re doing a cash deal and someone gets hurt or you damage the client’s property, what do you think your insurance broker is going to say? And as much as we hate the tax-grab, it does pay for important things from highways to hospitals.

Stay safe

Every year, countless contractors are injured on the job, some of them fatally. In fact, homebuilding is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. All too often I see guys working on roofs without restraints, disabling the “annoying” safety guards on power tools, or otherwise putting themselves at risk. You’ll wipe out any time savings if you end up in the hospital or missing some digits.

Even more importantly, you need to be aware of the long-term health risks of working around things like mould and asbestos, and use the equipment and techniques that will help protect you from harm.