About Smart Reno
Smart Reno helps you find and compare qualified and available contractors for your home renovation project.
Submitting a project to Smart Reno is 100% free. The cost of our service is assumed by the contractors.
When contractors join Smart Reno, they must demonstrate proof of insurance of at least $1,000,000.
All contractors that join Smart Reno undergo our verification process. This includes ensuring they have valid insurance. We also monitor ratings and reviews of their past projects and remove any contractor that does not meet our standards.
No. Where required, we validate that contractors are licensed to work in their designated provinces. Additional licensing or coverage may be required by your specific municipality. You should confirm any local by-law requirements that may apply to your project.
How it works
Your satisfaction is our top priority. You will receive feedback requests by email throughout the renovation process. At the end of your project, will ask you to rate your contractor and provide comments. These will be added to the contractor’s profile. You can also share your feedback with our customer service team. Your feedback will help us better qualify contractors and help future Smart Reno customers make better decisions.
If you have been matched with a contractor and haven’t heard from them in one business day, we recommend calling them directly.
Renovations can be stressful, and most projects do not go 100% according to plan. Having a good contract can help you plan ahead on how to handle problems if they do arise.
Before making any payments, we recommend signing a contract with clear payment milestones tied to construction milestones; The contract should describe an agreement between you and the contractor on how disputes will be handled and resolved if they do arise.
For any issues during construction, we recommend you first speak with your contractor to resolve them. If you are unable to resolve the matter, please contact our customer support team and depending on the situation, we can refer you to the appropriate resources in your province. Please note that we can only help with communications but are not responsible for resolving disputes, since the contract is an agreement between you and your contractor.
Every project is unique, but on average our customers receive between 3 and 5 calls from contractors. When matched with a contractor, you will receive an email with their contact details so you have the option to contact them directly.
We will review the timeline and category of your project and identify contractors that are both available and qualified to do it. Those qualified contractors will contact you directly in order to better understand your project and provide you with a quote. From this point, you’re able to coordinate next steps directly with your chosen contractor. We will be available throughout your entire project to assist you whenever you need it.
Using our history of over 200,000 projects, we use a combination of live project experts and a proprietary matching system to find contractors that are the right fit for you that fit your desired project timeline. The contractors will be in your local area and available when you need them.
The contractors we refer for your project have gone through our verification process as described here. No verification process is 100% perfect, and we recommend doing your own due diligence where possible. The decision for which contractor to work with is yours, and there is no obligation to choose any of the contractors we match you with. Once you do select a contractor, whether it’s within our network or outside of it, simply let us know so we can close the quoting process for other pros.
You can submit your renovation project directly on our website by clicking Find a Contractor. We’ll ask you a few questions to describe your project.
Start with obtaining quotes from verified contractors (Smart Reno offers up to three free, no-obligation quotes from vetted pros in your area!). And quotes aren’t just about the cost either, as each contractor may offer different options for making your home renovation dream a reality so be sure to compare and ask follow-up questions.
Next, confirm that the contractor has all of the necessary insurance and licences. Regardless of whether you find a contractor through Smart Reno or not, make sure that the contractor has no liens against them – these show that the contractor was unable to pay trades on previous projects.
Once you’ve decided on a contractor, ask them to provide a formal written contract that includes all of the details of the project (start and completion dates, payment schedule, project details and materials) and have both parties sign this contract. For payment schedules, a general guideline is 10% of the total price before the work commences to cover the initial cost of materials; higher amounts can be a red flag and may indicate the contractor is having financial difficulties.
The cost of a home renovation varies greatly and depends on so many factors (the size of the house, its age, current condition, location etc.) that there is no set answer. However, a great place to start is Smart Reno’s home renovation cost estimator tool. You can fill in your specific details (materials you want to use, the size of your space) and get a general estimate of what kind of renovation budget you can expect.
Very broadly, and with all the many variables in mind, here are some average estimates for home renos across Canada:
- Kitchen: $25,000 to $50,000+
- Exterior work (siding, brick, foundation, etc.): $1.80 per square foot and up
- Bathroom: $15,000+
- Bedroom: $3,000 to $10,000
- HVAC system: $4,000+
- Windows: From $250 each (double hung) up to $5,900 (multi-pane bay window)
- Landscaping: $5,000+
- Roofing: From $2.75 (asphalt) to $38 (slate) per square foot
- Home extension/addition: $200 to $475 per square foot
- Interior painting: $2,000+
- Laundry room: $5,000
- Home office: $250+
- Basement: $35,000+
Verified and reviewed contractors have experience so they know how to get the best results and get the job done right the first time. They have access to other industry professionals, tradespeople and suppliers which means they can get discounts and pass them on to you. They’re fluent in the different areas of home improvement so they know which tools and materials will work best for your project.
Verified contractors always put safety first by following all building codes and safety procedures and they respect your property – there is never a mess left behind.
Finally, investing in a verified contractor ultimately offers overall value for money – a job well done lasts a long time and increases resale value.
Once you’ve got your list of contractors, you’ll want to interview them to find the right one. To make sure you’re getting the best work from a contractor, here are some key questions to ask them.
What is your background and how much experience do you have with this kind of work?
You don’t want to hire a beginner when it comes to something as serious as a home renovation. Don’t be afraid to ask how long a contractor has been in business, how long they’ve managed their own business and their experience with the specific renovations you want for your home.
How many similar projects have you completed?
Confirm that a contractor has indeed done projects similar to yours and ask how many they have finished. If it’s just one, it could be a red flag that indicates the results weren’t satisfactory.
Will you be hiring subcontractors on this project?
Subcontractors or tradespeople are sometimes required for certain projects that require specialized work, like countertop fabrication and installation for a kitchen reno. If your contractor is hiring subcontractors, confirm in advance how they will affect the renovation, who the subcontractors are and what they will be working on. Ask your contractor if they will be on hand to supervise the subcontractors and, when it’s confirmed subcontractors will be on site, get their names and contact numbers so you have a point of contact. It’s also imperative to ensure that any and all subcontractors are fully licensed to perform their tasks.
Are you comfortable providing a list of past clients?
Any reputable and verified contractor will happily share past clients’ experiences and references. It is up to the homeowner to follow up with each of the clients (the more, the better) so they can be assured of the contractor’s abilities and level of service.
What is a realistic timeline for this project
Unexpected issues are always a possibility – especially with post-pandemic supply chain issues – but an experienced contractor should be able to provide a relatively accurate timeline for the completion of a project. It’s important to ask for completion dates, timelines for various stages of the renovation, as well as how any delays will be managed; This is a good way to track progress and make sure your reno project stays on track.
You can read more about the specific questions to ask a contractor up front here, as well as the key criteria Smart Reno requires all of our contractors to meet.
The kitchen is the heart of a household, and a kitchen reno is a big deal! That’s why we have a whole page dedicated to helping you plan your kitchen renovation.
Your bathroom should be a sanctuary. We have all the info you need to plan your bathroom renovation and find the perfect contractor.
Unfinished basement? No problem! Check out our basement renovation hub to find answers to all your basement renovation questions.
Let us help you transform the outside of your home; you can find information on Doors & Windows, Exterior Siding, Foundations, Landscaping, Masonry, and Roofing projects.
We sure can! More complex projects need a general contractor to oversee them; you can find more information on our General Contractor hub.
We can! Check out our Handyman page for more information on these types of projects.
If you’re not sure where to start planning your home extension, check out our Home Extension page! It’s a great place to understand your project before you request your contractor quotes.
You can submit interior projects including Painting, Flooring, Electricity, Doors & Windows, and other Interior Projects. Check out the respective pages to learn more about the planning process.
There is no minimum project size for your renovation projects.
There are several! The most obvious ones include:
- You can finish your home renovation faster without using your own money
- There are different options so you can customize a loan for your home renovation needs
- Approvals are often quick so you don’t have to wait to start your renovation
- Some home renovation loans such as a HELOC will let you either pay the loan off on a monthly basis or all at once
In short, a home renovation loan affords you the opportunity to turn your property into your dream home.
There are several home renovation loans depending on the size of the renovation. If it’s a small project, it can be put on a credit card. While credit cards are easy to obtain, they usually come with high interest rates.
For a lower interest rate option, there is a HELOC or Home Equity Line of Credit Loan where you leverage the equity in your property to get a loan. This type of loan can be a good option if you’ve been paying your mortgage for several years, as the entire credit amount will be made available to you up-front, and you will only pay interest on the amount you withdraw, giving you greater flexibility in your payment schedule. You can re-borrow and pay down as often as you like within approved credit limits.
Another option is a Draw Mortgage which advances approved funds to you based on completed agreed-upon renovation milestones. This means that you won’t get the entire amount of the home renovation loan upfront. Instead, the money is released based on meeting certain goals.
Other loan options for home improvements include a second mortgage or a home equity loan which, similar to a HELOC, gives you a lump sum but usually come with very set payment terms. It is important to understand that a second mortgage must be paid off in addition to your current mortgage — if you cannot meet your financial obligations, you may risk losing your home.
This type of loan is used to cover the cost of renovating a property and is often part of a mortgage loan. Homeowners tap the equity in their property to borrow the amount needed for the renovations.
When you apply for a home renovation loan, you often have to estimate the cost. That’s why it’s important to get several quotes from contractors before you apply for a loan.
A home renovation loan has a structured payment plan and you can get access to the funds immediately. It has a flexible timeline, running from as short as six months to several years. That means you can customize the length of your loan so you have lower monthly payments.
Each contractor is slightly different, but payment options might include cash, check, e-transfer, or credit cards.
Smart Reno is powered by RBC Ventures, a subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Canada. RBC offers multiple financing options to help make your renovation dreams a reality. Visit our Financing page to learn more.
Yes, RBC offers many different financing options whether you currently bank with RBC or not. You can talk to an advisor by calling 1800-769-2511 to learn about the best options for you and your project.
If you’re not sure how much your reno will cost, you can get an estimate using our Renovation Cost Estimator
Absolutely not. If you have already found a contractor and are now looking at your financing options, you can speak to one of our RBC financial advisors today by calling 1-800-769-2511. They can help walk you through all the options available to you.
No. While our goal is to help make your renovation journey as easy as possible, including helping you finance your project, you are not required to finance your project with RBC to be able to use a Smart Reno contractor.
Absolutely. Projects we receive have different desired timelines, from within the current month up to weeks or months in advance. This allows you to continue booking up your calendar for the rest of the year. Understanding the timeline from the initial project description can also help with filling in your schedule when one of your own projects has been postponed.
Our network currently receives a wide variety of projects requiring General Contractors and Specialty Contractors, and our clients are located across Canada. The volume of projects submitted is consistently rising, so we are able to provide various potential projects to our contractors no matter your location.
When you join the Smart Reno network, your clients will know that you are a high-quality and trustworthy contractor. With your membership, you will receive qualified leads for your specialty in your region as well as personalized service and support from your dedicated Account Manager.
You will be notified of new projects via email. Within each email, you can follow a link to your Dashboard to Accept or Reject each project.
In the short term, nothing. In the long term, our algorithm will think that you are not looking at the projects and will decrease your rating. This will move you down the priority list for projects and decrease the number of leads you receive. This is why it is important to reject projects when you are not interested or cannot accept them.
Yes you can decline projects. If you know you won’t be able to accept new projects for a while, let your account manager know. They will set your status to inactive, which will preserve your rating.
The maximum number of contractors able to quote for the same project is five. However, our average quotes per project in the last few years is three. There are many ways to stand out from the competition, such as communicating quickly with your clients, following up after quotes are sent, and offering great customer service.
When you join the Smart Reno network, you will be assigned an Account Manager who will be assisting you in setting up your profile, which includes selecting the categories of projects you are interesting in receiving and the regions where you are available to work. New projects coming in that match your profile will be sent to you. You will then decide which projects correspond to your preferences and availability.
There are various plans that are offered to contractors in our network. Please contact us to learn more about our service.
In order to have the opportunity to be recommended to potential clients that contact us to realize their project, you must be part of our network of verified contractors. Please contact us to start the qualification process.