Iain Kent from EagleView Construction Ltd., a Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.-based renovation contractor, has a reoccurring story he tells. The story is more of a nightmare, he says.
It usually starts off well with the homeowner excited to see their fully renovated bathroom. And, then the homeowner is aghast to find the sink is sporting a brand new $50 tap, when they expected the $5,000 model.
Kent told CDN that the home renovation market is a competitive space, where winning jobs can become cutthroat business. Usually contractors do not pitch high end finishes for important spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens. “Most renovators try to offer good quality at a low cost to win the job and are then shocked by the client who was looking to get a 15 jet-powered shower head,” he said.
Another Kitchener-based company, app developer Renomii Corp., is trying to make these awkward situations a thing of the past. Renomii, who completed the hyper-drive program at the Communitech Hub in Waterloo, has developed a cloud-based app that improves the collaboration process between builders and renovators and the homeowners.
At a cost of $99 per project, contractors such as Kent from EagleView, can capture data from the homeowner, get approvals from them, suggest changes to the homeowner that automatically updates the cost of the project or vice versa obtain new requests from the client.
Scott Barker, the CEO of Renomii, said that the Renomii app eliminates the risk for the contractor and the homeowner
“Contractors are losing money and referrals because of poor communications. That $50,000 renovation suddenly bloats up to $60,000 and the client does not understand why. The contractor is forced to eat some of those costs and then lose on average between $3,000 to $6,000 each time,” Barker said.
The Renomii app needs no training and is smartphone and tablet friendly. It’s built on a mobile browser and can run on BlackBerry, Android and Apple IOS, Barker said.
Kent said he jumped on the Renomii app as soon as it was launched. “I enjoy using the software and as a relatively small custom home builder change orders are a nightmare even if you are really organized. You spend lots of time selling the change orders and there’s always a bone to pick with homeowner. This system is great because it can be viewed in stages with the change orders and the new prices. And, the client can now see the scope of the project and visually approve it,” he added.
According to Kent, the Renomii app has saved his company at least two to three site visits per project along with hundreds of printed pages for signing. Kent has estimated that the Renomii app has spared him and his team approximately eight to 10 hours per job.
EagleView also used the Renomii app as their own contract depot as it can handle smaller priced jobs up to major renovations costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Baker said that contractors also receive 100Mb of storage, free support and the ability to add unlimited users. There is also a yearly plan for contractors starting at $1,299 that can be paid monthly at $125 per that includes unlimited number of projects and 500Mb of storage.
“Reality TV has made it that the general contractor cannot be trusted anymore. So we wanted to create an audit trail for them and from there we developed Renomii, an interactive software app for the $64 billion construction industry that essentially eliminates sticker shock,” Barker said.