Is taking a home renovation course a good idea?

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Posted by: from Toronto
12/31/2016 at 1:10:44 AM


I'm looking to switch careers and would like know if it is worth getting into home renovations? What is the job market like and what could my yearly pay potentially be? I plan on taking a 6 month course in home renovations which teach hands on, on full scale models.

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Steve from IntegriMark Inc in Mount Hope
Date/Time12/31/2016 at 8:29:34 AM

Assuming you're not launching your own business, you can expect to start as a general labour in the $32,000 to $36,000 range. With years of experience you can move up to the $45,000 to $48,000 or higher if you gain supervisor roles.

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 9:26:56 AM

Working for someone with some carpentry experience but no license, you will earn approx.$ 20 per hr.+/-. If you decide to register with the Province (for HST) and start as a Sole Proprietor you can easily double that soon after. start at about $35. It takes approx. 3 years to get established well and your name to spread. As a Sole Proprietor you must have Liability Ins. This will run you approx. $ 1,000 per yr. Workmens Comp. is optional IF you do not have any employee's. I have been a Sole Proprietor for over 20 yr's and find it extremely rewarding.

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 11:38:24 AM

If you're not a qualified carpenter or have extensive as in 10 minimum you have to potential to loose a lot if f money. Skilled trades are called so for a reason. A 6 month course will be of no benefit for somebody who wants to be self employed. Honestly if I were you I'd work with a renovation company for a few years to learn.

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 12:05:06 PM

I cant say what the market is like in Toronto or the exact rate of pay since I live and work in B.C.

Though I can tell you that Contractors out here dont look for people with "renovation courses" other than having your carpentry apprenticeship, or occupational first aid 2 or 3 its all based on experience.

If you want to work in renovations there are many skills you need to learn and working with the professionals of that trade will greatly increase your skill faster.

Carpentry/framing knowing how a house is built and basic structure is important. Start as a labourer

Drywall/ mudd/tape is a skill that you will need for alot of small renovations and learning from a taper who is skilled will help you alot. A skill that not a whole lot of renovators are very proficient at.

Painting though its not a very difficult skill overall learing to cut lines, proper taping and good rolling skills should be learned

Finishing Carpentry. This is my specialty its a skill that takes time and experience but to do baseboard, trim, and basic finishing is a skill you can pick up quick. Start as a labourer to dap baseboard, fill holes and learn from the pros

Renovations can be good money but its alot of skills you need to learn to become good and make good money. Above is a cheat sheet to become good as fast as possible

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 2:41:25 PM

First off. How many years of experience do you have in home renovation? Nobody will care about you taking the course. And if you walk onto any construction site trying to get a job from a established company and speak with the owner telling them that you took a renovation course the only job they they would offer you is that of a labour. 98.9% of what you learn in there will be useless in the real world.

Everything you learn in the real world will also take years after of practice to become mediocre.

There is good money in renovations being the owner of the company. I have been doing renovations for 14 years now. And have been self employed for 3 years now, and to be honest I still don't know everything. With starting a business you should know how to do everything within the Services you are offering. Even if your going to sub out the work, you need to know what all you are looking at and be able to fix it in the event that the person you have hired to do the job is incapable of doing the job properly.

The first year was very hard,

Mentally and financially and took a lot of dedication and willpower to not fold up the business. On the second year was still difficult but I was able to payoff the debts for the year before overhead. Now in my 3rd year I have a good size client list and my company name is known around my geographical servicing area. Hopefully this will help you in making a responsible decision. With the amount of money you will need to invest in opening up and starting operations will be hard. And then if you have made a small mistake it can be costly and if you make a big mistake that causes damage or injury to the house and or residence can cost you a lot or worse jail time.

And trying to recover from something like that can ruin your life and anyone's in your immediate family

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 2:45:18 PM


I think in the current economy situation, it's very hard to get jobs. Everyone gets trades that have previous experience. If you have good connections, you might be ok. The salary is dictated by the market which is very poor now. Hopefully the economy picks up and then you'll know what to do.

Take care.

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 3:42:03 PM

It is like any other profession. You need to be sure this is what you'd like to do and commit yourself to learning as much as possible. As to the salary, it depends on where you are and what the competition is charging. There are a lot of part timers who will under-cut just to make a dollar. They usually ask for cash. If you go into it, ALWAYS provide written material, (estimates, invoices) and be legal. Build a reputation for honesty and fairness.

I charge $50/hour, but realize that includes advertising, license, WCB, and general expenses. Again, if you are serious, do a business plan and plan ahead for some slow times until you become known.

Good luck.

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Date/Time12/31/2016 at 4:27:04 PM

I agree with many of the posted replies.

Taking the time off with no income to attend a renovation school makes no sense.

Better to start at the bottom with a very good renovator and work your way up.

Make sure the renovator is a person with scruples, with a sense of honor. Lear from him and his good carpenters all you can.

Don't start working for yourself before you are very sure you can make a LOT more money, as you will be working a LOT more hours to bring business in, do the work, do the running around, get paid, bringing in the next one.

All the best,


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Date/Time1/2/2017 at 8:29:26 AM

Hi. I've been in this business for over 35 years. Instead of paying someone and using up 6 months of your life and money. Find a small contractor who does it all, offer to work for him for little money. It will help him and you both. You will know in a short time if this is right for you and you haven't wasted a penny. Don't plan to be a contractor unless you take a physiology coarse to be able to read the minds of others. Some customers can be brutal and or even not pay. You need to know how to deal with an array of situations. As for the market in Ontario is usually always on the move, good jobs and employers are always a challenge. Bottom line is, try it, you might like it. Keep a thick skin and lots of patients. The money is there if you become good at it.

All the best in the New Year. :)

Marcel :)

Happy hunting.

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Date/Time1/5/2017 at 9:16:27 PM

In todays market with no experience marcel above pretty much said it

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Anna in Florida
Date/Time9/17/2018 at 3:48:59 AM

What are you paying for that? I am doing home staging certification from at $149/month (I chose premium)

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Date/Time12/14/2018 at 3:09:11 PM

Hi Adam. Yes, it's a great idea. Working for someone or getting into business for yourself. I suggest you learn from some great experts out there and can help you. You can make a lot of money and it's one of the most interesting careers that I know. I'm an HVAC and now General Contractor. Team up with an old pro and learn much more than you'll ever learn in school. That doesn't mean skip the school. Good luck in your new venture. Marcel.

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