Kitchen Cabinets HOW to chooseYou’ve probably seen them: the guys in the pickup trucks with “Renovation Services” or some such on the doors. Sometimes the trucks are shiny and new and impressive looking. Sometimes they’ve seen better days. They both come down to the same thing.

They offer cut-rate prices to renovate any room in your house – heck, to take on any job you want them to do. They’ll charge you less than anyone.

The only catch is that you have to pay them cash.

Deal, right?


These guys, these “fly-by-nighters”, can take you for the ride of your life, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

In fairness, some of them might do a reasonably decent job, especially if the job is small enough.

But what if they don’t?

If they make a mess of it, and many do, you’re stuck with nowhere to turn. Many professional Ottawa renovators, the ones who subscribe to the outstanding RenoMark™ program (see below) will tell you they have seen lots of horror stories. They’re frequently the ones who get called in to clean up the disaster and start again – properly. The tragedy of it is that the homeowner ends up paying twice. It’s not right; it’s not fair. But that’s too often how it goes.

RenoMark™ renovators are the “elite of the elite” in the renovation industry. These are the people who take their work seriously and do everything it takes to protect quality and reputation. They are proud of what they do, and they stay on top of all the newest techniques and products. They attend information sessions and seminars. They are a community, and they help each other when they can. They’re peers. You can trust them.

Before you consider a renovation, don’t just hire the cheapest company or one someone told you would undercut all the others. In fact, stay clear. Stay as far away as you can.

Instead, investigate. Find out what RenoMark™ is all about. And then start dreaming, planning, and anticipating beautiful work you can count on.

When renovators sign on to RenoMark™, they’re pledging total excellence – not just the work they do, but the kind of people they choose to work on your site.

Bottom line? If your renovator carries the RenoMark™ logo, you are assured that you will be happy with your renovation.

What is RenoMark™?
RenoMark™ is a program that renovators pay to join. They must follow strict rules. These rules are made public to homeowners, who are advised to be sure any renovator they might hire carries the RenoMark™ logo.

RenoMark™ renovators are held to the highest industry standards. They have to do the big things – carry $2 million liability insurance and enforce strict workplace safety – and the smaller things that give you comfort: pledge to call you back within two business days, for instance.

In addition to insurance, safety and courtesy, they must:

  • Give you a detailed written contract for all jobs, big or small
  • Provide a minimum two-year warranty on all work except minor repair
  • Carry the proper licences and permits
  • Keep their worksite organized and safe
  • In the Ottawa area, be a member in good standing of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and abide by the GOHBA Code of Ethics.

This story was written by Ottawa Renovates editor Francie Healy for the GOHBA Renovators Council.

For additional renovation information, and information about qualified RenoMark contractors, see