FAQ2021-05-06T17:02:32-04:00

Frequently Asked
Questions

About Smart Reno

What is Smart Reno?2021-05-06T17:15:55-04:00

Smart Reno helps you find and compare qualified and available contractors for your home renovation project.

How much does it cost to use Smart Reno for my renovation?2021-05-06T17:15:22-04:00

Submitting a project to Smart Reno is 100% free. The cost of our service is assumed by the contractors.

Are Smart Reno contractors licensed & insured?2021-12-16T22:39:25-05:00

When contractors join Smart Reno, they must demonstrate proof of insurance of at least $1,000,000.

How does Smart Reno qualify the Contractors?2021-12-16T22:40:21-05:00

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.

Does Smart Reno validate municipal requirements?2022-07-15T17:22:41-04:00

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

Who will have access to my personal information?2021-05-06T17:36:11-04:00

We only share your contact information with the contractors you’re matched with so they can contact you directly. Our Privacy Policy provides complete transparency on how we use your personal information.

How can I provide you with feedback once my project is complete?2021-05-06T15:23:09-04:00

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.

I’ve matched with a contractor but haven’t heard anything. What should I do?2021-05-06T15:22:30-04:00

If you have been matched with a contractor and haven’t heard from them in one business day, we recommend calling them directly.

Who should I contact if problems arise during my project?2021-06-04T17:13:22-04:00

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.

How many calls should I expect?2021-05-06T15:05:53-04:00

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.

What happens when I submit my project?2021-05-06T14:58:56-04:00

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.

How do you select the contractors that best suit my needs?2021-05-06T14:57:39-04:00

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.

Do I have to choose one of the proposed contractors?2021-06-04T17:14:50-04:00

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.

How do I submit my renovation project?2021-05-06T14:53:18-04:00

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.

Home renovations

How do I choose a contractor for my renovation project?2022-08-05T12:18:07-04:00

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.

How much does it cost to renovate a house per square foot?2022-08-05T12:17:10-04:00

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+
Why should I hire verified and reviewed contractors for home renovation?2022-08-05T12:12:02-04:00

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. 

What questions should be asked to home renovation contractors before hiring?2022-08-05T12:10:46-04:00

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.

 

How do I learn more about kitchen renovations?2021-05-06T17:28:00-04:00

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.

How do I learn more about bathroom renovations?2021-05-06T17:27:23-04:00

Your bathroom should be a sanctuary. We have all the info you need to plan your bathroom renovation and find the perfect contractor.

How do I learn more about basement renovations?2021-05-06T17:26:40-04:00

Unfinished basement? No problem! Check out our basement renovation hub to find answers to all your basement renovation questions.

How do I learn more about outdoor renovations?2021-05-06T17:25:53-04:00

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.

Can you connect me with a general contractor?2021-05-06T17:24:05-04:00

We sure can! More complex projects need a general contractor to oversee them; you can find more information on our General Contractor hub.

Can you connect me with a general handyman?2021-05-06T17:23:15-04:00

We can! Check out our Handyman page for more information on these types of projects.

What if I want to do a home extension?2021-05-06T17:21:31-04:00

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.

Can I submit smaller projects like painting and flooring?2021-05-07T19:52:09-04:00

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.

Is there a minimum size of project that Smart Reno will accept?2021-05-06T17:18:40-04:00

There is no minimum project size for your renovation projects.

Financing

I started on the Smart Reno website, why am I being redirected to the Symple Loans website?2022-08-02T09:32:06-04:00

At Smart Reno, we understand that securing the funds to pay for a renovation can be one of the biggest sources of stress for homeowners. We work with Symple Loans, a personal lending company, to help clients evaluate their borrowing options quickly. Symple Loans provides an online borrowing experience that enables clients to receive a fully personalized quote and complete an application within minutes. If you request financing for your renovation project through the Smart Reno website, you will be redirected to the Symple Loans portal to proceed with your rate request, and if you decide to pursue one after that, your credit application with Symple Loans. All Symple Loans’ loans are subject to credit and underwriting approval by Symple Loans. Neither Smart Reno, RBC Ventures Inc. nor Royal Bank of Canada are involved in Symple Loan’s credit approval and/or loan disbursement process.

If my credit application is successful, who will fund my loan?2022-08-02T09:33:15-04:00

By submitting a credit application on Symple Loans’ website, you agree to do business with Symple Loans. Successful applications will receive a loan from Symple Loans. Symple Loans’ loans range from $5,000 – $50,000 with terms from 1 – 7 years and no early payment fees or charges. If you are a client of Royal Bank of Canada, other financing options may be available to you. To help you view what existing offers or borrowing options may currently be available to you, you will be redirected to the RBC Online Banking login page. If there are no offers available at this time, you will be able to book an appointment with an RBC advisor to understand what lending options are available to you. If you are interested in exploring loans or line of credit options with RBC, contact RBC at 1-800-769-2511 or Teletypewriter (TTY) Services for those who are hearing-impaired: 1-800-661-1275 or Book an Appointment online.

Who is Symple Loans and how can I get in touch with them?2022-08-02T09:34:01-04:00

Symple Loans is a personal lending company based out of Toronto, Ontario that provides unsecured personal loans to eligible Canadians. They provide loans through a fully online borrowing experience. Symple Loans has been accredited by the Canadian Lenders Association and the Better Business Bureau. You may contact Symple Loans via phone or email. Phone: 1-888-479-2292 Email: .Smart Reno collaborates with Symple Loans to help clients evaluate their borrowing options quickly.  Smart Reno will receive a referral fee for each successful loan opened with Symple Loans. This will not affect the interest fees payable by you. Please note that Symple Loans is currently available across Canada, (excluding(Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Quebec) Symple Loans is not owned, operated by or affiliated with Smart Reno, RBC Ventures Inc. or Royal Bank of Canada in any way.

What are the interest rates and fees offered by Symple Loans?2022-08-02T09:34:30-04:00

The
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost you pay each year to borrow money, including fees, expressed as a percentage. The APR is a broader measure of the cost to you of borrowing money since it reflects not only the interest rate but also the fees that you have to pay to get the loan. The APR that you get will depend on Symple Loan’s assessment of your credit profile, financial position and ability to service additional loan commitments.  At Symple Loans, the application assessment and underwriting process allows Symple Loans to better understand the specific circumstances of each applicant and offer customized interest rates and loan terms on approved loans. Interest rates start at 6.99% up to 22.99%. These are variable rates and future interest rate and repayment periods may be impacted by a change in the Canadian prime rate. Origination fees may be applicable on your Symple Loans loan. These fees are a one-time charge of 0-5% and are added to your loan principal which can be paid off over your loan term.

Late payment fees of $45.00 will apply for missed or late scheduled repayments.Symple Loans’ APRs range from 6.99% to 32.00%, the maximum APR that you may obtain as a Smart Reno client through this referral process is capped at 19.99%. Symple Loans will not provide loans to Smart Reno clients applying through this process if the effective APR is higher than 19.99%. Maximum APRs are inclusive of the maximum interest rate and loan establishment fees.

Will my credit be impacted if I request a credit rate offer with Symple Loans? How about if I submit an application?2022-08-02T09:35:11-04:00

When you request a consumer credit rate offer “quick quote” or apply for a loan with Symple Loans, your credit will not be impacted. Your credit may only be impacted if and when your loan application is funded.

How do I pay for my renovation?2021-05-06T17:48:45-04:00

Each contractor is slightly different, but payment options might include cash, check, e-transfer, or credit cards.

Do you offer financing options?2021-05-06T17:32:40-04:00

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.

I don’t currently bank with RBC. Can I still get financing for my renovation from them?2021-04-29T16:03:06-04:00

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.

How do I know how much my renovation will cost?2021-04-29T16:01:05-04:00

If you’re not sure how much your reno will cost, you can get an estimate using our Renovation Cost Estimator

Do I have to use a Smart Reno contractor to access RBC financing?2021-05-07T13:57:18-04:00

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.

Do I have to choose RBC financing if I do my renovation with a contractor I found using Smart Reno?2021-04-29T15:59:10-04:00

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.

For contractors

Is the service for me if I am booked up in the coming weeks or months?2021-05-06T15:41:02-04:00

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.

How do I know if there are clients looking for my type of expertise or in my territory?2021-05-07T03:06:01-04:00

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.

What does my Smart Reno membership include?2021-05-07T03:11:13-04:00

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.

How will I get notified about new projects?2021-05-06T15:39:25-04:00

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.

What happens if I don’t respond to a project?2021-05-07T03:12:30-04:00

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.

Can I decline a project?2021-05-06T15:37:25-04:00

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.

How many contractors can submit quotes for a single project?2021-05-06T15:36:38-04:00

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.

What happens once I am qualified as a Smart Reno contractor?2021-05-06T15:36:06-04:00

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.

How much does Smart Reno cost?2021-05-07T03:15:35-04:00

There are various plans that are offered to contractors in our network. Please contact us to learn more about our service.

How can I be considered for projects?2021-05-07T03:16:22-04:00

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.