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Home Builder


Gary Kwong

Written by FairTradeWorks Advisor Gary Kwong.



I have received a lot of phone calls over the past year of working with FairTradeWorks from potential clients just wanting to get a price for what they explain as “a simple reno.”

The hard part of answering this kind of generic question as a construction professional is that no two jobs are the same and I refuse to give out quotations without looking at the actual job.   It’s not fair to anyone.  Plus, it’s important to me and to our FairTradeWorks client care team to always know our client’s expectations.  We simply can’t “lie” to them.   I bet you’re asking why I would use such a strong word as “lie?”

It’s simple actually, because in far too many instances, I’ve witnessed trades and homeowners argue on the final figures after renovations are completed because they weren’t clear and concise in the beginning.  I don’t believe that most of these conflicts start because of ill intent or deception.  I think they get out of hand by miscommunication and not committing to a contract.  That’s why I believe so strongly in the FairTradeWorks platform.  It ensures that EVERYONE from the client to the trades to us, the Advisors, know their roles, their timelines, the payment schedules and even the ramifications of what will happen if we don’t follow through.

As a FairTradeWorks AdvisorI’m trained to properly do a complimentary consultation with our clients to ensure they understand how our system operates and that I believe, instils confidence from the start.  We visit our client’s projects, take exact measurements, answer questions and try to foresee all of the potential challenges that we can so that the construction scope is detailed and accurate.  This way, when we do put the job out to tender, all the trades who are bidding on the jobs will have no surprises and therefore can’t pass on their frustrations to the owner.

As an example, let’s say a homeowner wants to replace his existing carpet in the living room with hardwood floor.  Without looking at the actual property, most trades can give out a per square footage price to supply and install the new hardwood floor.  However, when our trained Advisors go on site for the consultation, where we check to see if the old baseboards can be salvaged for re-use.  We factor in the wastage of material due to the shape of the room and also find out if the subfloor will need to be leveled.  The choice of flooring underlay material can also affect the cost; stratas of most apartment buildings do require a higher quality flooring underlay to avoid noise from travelling through floors whereas it may be less of an issue if the floor is to be installed in a single family home with the living room on the main floor.  The above example is just to show why the professional estimators will never quote a job over the phone.

-Gary Kwong


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