PLEASE READ: I employed the services of Collvin Home Renovations and Contracting Inc. to renovate a bathroom, small kitchen and install a tile floor for a basement apartment I am renting. From the beginning of the project I expressed to Gavin the importance of adhering to a reasonable timeline. Throughout the projects different stages I kept checking with Gavin on the progress of the project and he kept on assuring me that; "It should be almost complete come next Friday". Well next Friday came and went for over 9 weeks and project was no whereas near finished. Yet every Friday Gavin was looking for me to get paid and yet the project was not progressing.
I learned quickly that Gavin is very good at telling a client what they want to hear as long as he can get money. I learned that he up charges the client whatever materials he needs for the job. I found him to be a dishonest person, let me explain, one Friday evening, (week 3) after Gavin was done working for the day he came asking for $5,000 to go purchase the IKEA kitchen cabinetry we had talked about. When I asked why $5,000, the cabinets are $3,000, he quickly added that he needed to pay himself, even though the week before I had paid him $2,000 as a deposit. I agreed to $4,000 since he told me he was going that weekend to purchase the kitchen cabinets. He never did purchase the kitchen cabinets instead he kept the money. He did go to IKEA a week and half later designed the kitchen layout plan himself and tried to sell to me for $225.00, telling me that he paid $250.00 for it when IKEA only charges $129.00 for them to do it. When I asked him why he had not purchased the cabinets and when he was going to? He sarcastically remarked, "When you give me the money". We both knew I had given him the money specifically for the kitchen cabinets and in the end he never did purchase the kitchen cabinets, I had to go to IKEA purchase them, its what I should have done in the first place. He kept the money for himself, his justification (in his mind) I am sure being its payment for the job.
After that experience with Gavin, things seemed to just get worse and worse. The project seemed to slow down even more, on a day-to-day basis I kept checking with Gavin to find out how the project was moving along and he would always assure me that everything was fine but that wasn't the case. He took on another client, at least one that I know of for sure, while still not finished my project, which further delayed completing my project.
By week 9, I had enough and fired Collvin Home Renovation and Contracting after several conversations with Gavin I realized nothing was improving and he wasn't adhering to a reasonable timeline. I was left with an unfinished bathroom only drywall and a partial shower installed, a kitchen with exposed studs, no drywall, no plumbing completed and only a partial tile floor grouted.
My personal opinion of Gavin is that he overplays (embellishes) the whole idea of how much work is involved in any project and of course all the materials he is going to use and time to complete the job, which in the end costs the client more money. When he finally does provide the client with his quote he comes across as if he is doing the client a favor by showing the client how low his cost is to them yet there is so much work to do. Don't kid yourself he knows full well where to hide his profit in any project. For example for the glass corner shower of 3.5ft X 3.5ft he charged me $1850.00 for material of which I supplied shower tile, shower floor, plumbing fixtures and that cost did not include the labour cost charged in finishing the shower and bathroom. $1850.00 for a Shower door and glass?
If you do go ahead and decide to hire him I wish you the best of luck and I would suggest that you obtain receipts for materials purchased for your project and that you hold on to your wallet a little more tightly then I did. I wouldn't recommend this contractor to anyone.
Response from COLLVIN Home Renovations & Contracting Inc.
This project started from a leak in the Fridge Water Line. I started onsite immediately to address this problem and the damage was the basement Ceiling, Hallway & Floor. I began immediately to fix these issues and then provided a quotation & timeline for this work, client responded back - Quotation too high. I continued to work on the damage areas myself and found some additional damage in the bathroom area, where the drywall was completely saturated with water but damage was not caused by the leak but from shower.
The Client decided to remove the Plastic Shower Enclosure and replace it with tiles, as well as some other changes. These changes meant that the bathroom would be completely demo and installation of a new Tiled Shower with a glass enclosure & door, Re-position the entrance door, installation of a new Exhaust Fan and a new tile floor. I expressed my concern about all this new work and meeting his timeline, to which he said that this was the best time to have this work done as he did not have a tenant. So I expanded the quotation to include this new work, client response - Too high. The next day I presented a much lower quotation, and informed the client that I would be the only person working and it would be on Time & Materials basis. He gave me his verbal agreement to proceed.
After the demo of the shower wall & bath area, the client was not happy with laundry area which is next to the bathroom. He said area too small and asks to move the wall further back. Again made changes to quotation which he agreed, but expressed concern with the timeline with only one person working and suggested that I bring in help, but he didn t want to pay any more money. As I work through the Shower build, the client did not like the size of the shower base and I had to rebuild the base twice to accommodate his requests, which meant the size of the Glass panels had to increase to custom sizes.
Again I express concerns about the timing of the project and kept suggesting that I employ more help to speed things up.
The client then informed me that he wasn t happy with his existing Kitchen layout and wanted to redo it, so I prepared an IKEA Kitchen layout in my off hours which the client approved. With his approval I requested $5K to cover this cost and a partial payment on the other work. The client issued a $4K cheque and then decided he wasn t happy with the cabinet s style & color and kept going back & forth for another 3 days. He then decided to also install a Quartz counter-top instead of the standard one, which required another quotation revision.
He then complained about the cost and abruptly cancelled this Reno saying it was now too costly. The monies for the kitchen were then applied to the other work.
On the following Monday, the client informed me that he purchased the cabinets and now wanted me to proceed, at this point I said that there s no way that I can complete this additional work in the timeline he wanted.
More complains and more discussion, he then acknowledged that he would have to pay more to speed things up, and in his own words said I guess I would have to stick my hands in my pocket to which I agreed. I then informed him that I would have an additional staff to move things along, to which he verbally agreed to. The next week, after the additional staff member worked, I provided the new labour charges to the client and he refused to pay, saying that he was not paying for any additional help.
I packed up my equipment and sent email with a STOP WORK order. I then prepared a Summary of what was completed & paid for and what was not completed. All items not completed a deduction was applied. After this assessment an Invoice Summary was created which showed there were still outstanding monies owed to COLLVIN Home Renovations & Contracting Inc. This was emailed to client with a request for payment and instructions that the Glass Panel & Door will be delivered to his home upon the receipt of these monies.