Mike Holmes, Bryan Baeumler or Jim Caruk?

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Posted by: from
6/8/2012 at 10:58:48 AM

Of the three most popular on air personalities - Mike Holmes, Bryan Baeumler or Jim Caruk, which one do you think best represents contractors, the construction and renovation industry and provides consumers with the most practical information and guidance?

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Clements Interiors in Aurora
Date/Time6/8/2012 at 11:19:19 AM

Jim Caruk, without question.

He most clearly conveys what it's like to work on a site for a long period of time and his show demonstrates all of the things that can go wrong on renovation and the thought process that goes on behind fixing the issues.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 11:19:48 AM

Mike Holmes but, not to many people want drywall and stuff ripped out while doing an inspection.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 11:21:29 AM

Janice, have you ever seen how many times Jim is late? and i dont mean by 2 or 3 weeks, its a year, no one is ever on jobs, so on so on.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 11:23:46 AM

Mike Holmes

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 11:27:56 AM

Good question. I think they all do, but for different reasons, at least with their TV personalities.

Bryan's recent show tend to be new home stuff focusing on the overall requirement of coordinating the job and the skill set and decision making that is required for a General Contractor. DIY disaster showed the the poor DIY guy as a slug in most cases.

Jim s shows tend to give a realism perspective to a renovation, includes the behind the scenes discussions with the owner, not all rainbows and unicorns type of thing.

Mike's shows tend to educate people about risk and to some extent the costs of not using the right trades person or General Contractor in the first place and the devastating results it could have. Saving a few hundred here and there coast several thousand later to fix kind of thing.

Make no mistake, all of these guys are contractors first and the TV personalities second. TV tends to focus on or sensationalize certain aspects which in some case is not really how things work with any of these guys I am sure.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Eagle Crest in Surrey
Date/Time6/8/2012 at 12:21:44 PM

I've been asked this before and my perspective is this. It's TV, not reality. The term Reality TV is a marketing device. There are many disasters that can and do happen. Just like car accidents they can and do. As a Contractor for years and working in the industry my whole life I can tell you that like a well run car, it's well maintained. I'll explain a little further and let you pick who you think 'shows' these elements honestly in a program. Same analogy: If you own a car, it needs service. There are many Mechanics to choose from. Most car accidents are not related to mechanical failure, it's human error. The difference between a good contractor and a bad one is the careful one. Clients ask me all sorts of dumb questions, useless questions and trap questions. I always, ALWAYS, ask the same question when I first meet someone. 'Have you been planning this for a while?' If they say YES, I ask them where they have got there ideas and information. This is the first step I take to be carful with a client. It's caution that is needed.

So your -reality TV- personalities who are not cautious or leave it up the client to be, are not good contractors and will not be able to be 'realistic' on TV.

I may some day film and post video of my work... I say may because when accidents happen you never know and the camera is probably in the truck somewhere but here's an example.

A full bathroom reno was in it's last day. The new plumbing was installed and tested, the floor, painting, lighting, tile, grout, and vanity complete. The client had their bathroom back and I just needed to install baseboards and change the light switches to newer ones. When i arrived the next day there was leak! How? From the back of the shower wall, more and more drywall came off, plumbing was cut out and replaced to find one pipe that had been poked by a screw. 8 hours because... even though I'm cautious I make mistakes. Never one like this before but I did. Most importantly I fixed everything asap and the client knew it was an accident, not negligence or incompetence.

Home owners world wide: Choose the cautious contractor, he/she is worth every penny.

Good luck author and everyone.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 2:28:57 PM

Jim Caruk by far!! I have worked in the renovation business for 30 yrs. Jim Caruk's show is the only show that is realistic. The questions I always ask when I watch Holmes is how did the homeowner pick there original contractor? and how much would Holmes price that job at if he were bidding?. The answer is obviose, The homeowner would still have picked the original contractor!!!!, thats how they got there in the first place . I have never ripped anyone off in my career but I have a drawer full of bounced checks

Jim shows it like it is! dealing with homeowners is tough and like a marriage it rarely ends with hugs and kisses s

If I fixed everyone's goof ups for free i'm sure i would get lots of kisses and hugs!

Most delay s in construction are caused by the homeowner not doing there part on time, choosing finishes or making payments and changing work after it is completed!!

Holmes show is as close to reality as the home flipping shows where you buy a house paint it in 10 days and then sell it for an extra $200,000

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 2:37:57 PM

Excellent question I have been in the industry for 30 years Not everyone has a million dollar budget you do the very best you can within their budget . The only show that represent this is Jim Caruk.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 3:17:52 PM

They all do in different ways, but having said that none of them do for the same reason. I like and dislike them all. I've even gone so far as to email H.G.T.V. and ask them why they don't take 30 seconds at the beginning of each show and explain that this renovation took 12 months or cost $100.000.00 in the real world, and NOT 60 minutes or $20,000.00 because all of the contractors donated their time and suppliers donated the material.

Most of the shows are just so much bull and flash to make a good program and mislead viewers into thinking all contractors are liar's and cheats except Mike, Bryan and Jim and lets not forget the worst of them all Scott McGillivray, Mister I can renovate a 1000 sq. ft. basement including kitchen, bathroom, electricial, and plumbing all for ONLY $40,000.00

They need to put a few shows on the air that help people and forget about the fluff and flash.


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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 3:46:47 PM

Definitely Bryan. It seems like Mike has an unlimited budget when he does his fixes. How does a contractor "afford" to include all the extras he does? Sure there is the right way to do things but realistically, not every house owner would be able to afford the things he does all the time. Bryan is more representative of the average contractor and he seems to explain things to the clienbt throughout the process.

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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 4:18:58 PM

Brian for sure.

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Dave from 360renos in Navan
Date/Time6/8/2012 at 4:43:45 PM

Hi Sandra,

You want reality....... try helping out on Mountain Roads Production 'All For Nothing' on the W network

It was fun but a long week!!

Opps .... I digressed ..... Caruk

Enjoy the week-end


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Date/Time6/8/2012 at 7:46:56 PM

Caruck is my pony in this horse race. Mikes show Holmes On Homes was a little over the top for me- though an endless budget sure do make fer some fancy results. His new show Holmes Inspection is right on the money. I've been against these so called "experts" for years and have seen some pretty hideous things they miss. Mike brought this to the forefront- small things that were okayed by inspectors that could prove disastrous later on.

Brian's show is humorous at best. This guy knows his stuff but he does not show the most difficult part of contracting- the client. This is where Jim changed the whole dynamic of the renovation reality program- by showing how things really work. Jim showed that no matter how far we bend over or how much we kiss a clients ass, there is just no pleasing some people. These guys all have their niche, but Jim truly shows the reality of this business.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time6/8/2012 at 8:40:20 PM

Why didn't Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor make your list? Or Bob Vila??

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Audio Authority in Vaughan
Date/Time6/9/2012 at 9:34:52 AM

Bryan and Jim are definitely the most realistic.

Jim's attitude is "you win some, you lose some" and that is the sad truth.

Mike on the other hand shows what is possible when you can tear down someone's house with an open budget. That is not realistic. His Holmes inspection, shows just that, well the original house inspector would have found many more deficiencies as well had he been granted the possibility of tearing apart the walls by the seller of said home. We all know that is unrealistic.

Another thing which is never mentioned by Mike is the fact that maybe, just maybe, the home owners that got taken by a contractor, were also the ones that went for the lowest bid, (a very unrealistic bid at that).

Bryan also tries to contain his laughter when a customer's unrealistic budget is mentioned for a project in which they want this high end, and that granite and this expensive gadget, but have no budget worth considering

There's reality TV and then there's real life. Mike represents reality TV, Jim and Bryan on the other hand are real guys with real life situation, they never sugar coat what happens. Mike is a great TV personality who sells himself wonderfully but come on, lets get REAL!

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Date/Time6/11/2012 at 1:57:21 PM

Wow this debate has gotten alot of replys.

In my option, think there all good, but that depends how you look at each of them,

Mike, Doesn't show what the real price of the reno costs, only states, " do your homework, get lots of quotes", "build it right the first time", I agree build it once and right, we constanly exercise that motto, we don't have students with no skills running around our job site, and we dont blame others on what a crappy job of what they 've done. I guess that's why we are slaves to our tools, and not TV celebrities

Brian, is funny at best, if he didn't have his wife, walking around spending money on the show, he'd probaly have half the viewers, But he shows well on TV and he is definetly a seasoned contractor.

Jim is my hero, he was my mentor, for me leaving my cushy construction managers position, i had, he has a REAL option to the construction world, is a roundabout super guy, ( he actually pulled over this winter and help me drag my snowmoblie out of the bush, with out even knowing who i was ) then we went on to talking about home building, in the middle of the bush. He doesn't care for the celebrity status, he cares about other canadian contractors, talk about CARMA, he's not building his own home inspection company, he goal is to educate junior contractors, to avoid the pitfalls, he's experienced, and to make an honest living in a shady business,


Joe Q

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Date/Time6/12/2012 at 6:14:40 AM

Bryan offers the most enjoyable and practical solutions to most maintenance. Holmes to

full of himself (too negative toward the work of others) Jim seems to be a nice guy but doesn't

do a great lot other than ride around on his toys.



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Date/Time6/12/2012 at 9:15:12 PM

They are all great, but in my opinion Brian is the most level headed of them all.

Mike lives in a world where money is no object and never clarifies the cost of doing stuff his way. At least in Manitoba, where people are always looking for deals, quoting the best of the best material would not get you many jobs. 90% of normal people would not be able to afford his renovations.

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Date/Time6/14/2012 at 1:29:45 AM

Mike Holmes and Bryan Baeumler are my two choices out of these three. I have seen some of the shows that Jim Caruk has and some of the work he does and it is clear that he knows his stuff. However, I feel that he does not share his knowledge and show his work in ways that benefit the viewers.

With Mike and Bryan they both make a point of showing their progress and explaining as much of everything that they can so that it is helpful and educating to everyone involved including the viewers. To be honest I don't even recall seeing Jim do any work on his shows, he seems to be more of a Site Super instead of a contractor.

Just my personal opinion.

Thank you,

Sherri & Dustin Depatie

Seamless Finishing Inc.

Office : 780-760-3852

Sherri : 780-297-0986

Dustin : 780-885-2231

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Date/Time6/18/2012 at 11:03:09 PM

Hi Sandra,

I have been a General Contractor for many years in Southern Ontario and build projects from small additions to large custom homes and cottages.

Having said that, your question can be divided into a number of answers:

Absolutely, without a doubt and without question, Jim Caruk and his first show "Real Reno's" is dead on the money. That is exactly representative of General Contracting. Changes without Change Orders, delays in materials, sub-contractors, clients decisions. Missing part of a take off while quoting 8 jobs at once, managing clients expectations (Jim does that with great skill), the breakdown of a Client / Contractor relationship, dealing with neighbours and the Ministry of Labour, etc. These are all things that were shown on his show. As embarrassing or frustrating as it can be sometimes, he showed what Real Renos are all about. My wife would laugh at the fact that every thing he would run into was something I had been banging my head against a wall at some time or another.

Now, both Bryan Baumler and Mike Homes shows do not claim to represent or be a true representation of the renovation process, but offer valuable information in what they are meant to show.

Bryan's show is great at providing valuable information on how to tackle certain projects and aspects of home improvements.

Mike's shows demonstrate the need for more regulation in this industry and the scary things that are out there, however, if there was another show called "The Fly on the Wall" that secretly sat in on the original meeting with the Contractor that caused the problems, I am certain that you would find 99 times out of 100 that the Contractor did not suggest going without permits, or an acrylic shower stall as opposed to Italian marble, and why they did not "throw in" a home gym or theatre, and that the Client DID in fact, despite all talk of the contrary and all talk of quality and reliability being most important, choose the rock bottom price guy.

So to sum up, they all offer valuable information. If you are looking to see the dangers of someone that doesn't know what they are doing - Mike

Learning how to tackle a home improvement project yourself - Bryan

An exact representation of the renovation process and how projects really go - Jim.

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Herbert from Bert'll Do It in Mississauga
Date/Time7/19/2012 at 5:24:20 PM

Bryan is my choice. Jim does present the truth about changes on the job. Mike surely does show what the lowest bider following min code can produce.

Bryan is the best entertainment with the DIY Disasters though. I never thought I would ever see a home owner make those mistakes until just a month ago when a client of mine removed a load bearing post in the basement. When I showed up doors would not close and there were cracks in the walls on the second storey. Took a full day to jack it back up and install new floor joists.

I just wish there was a show that showed home owners how to realistically budget and to stop choosing the lowest bidder and expect the finest quality. Also, I am already tired of turning down requests to install the lowest price materials just so they can make a quick and profitable sale. Trying to build a quality business!

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David in Vermilion Bay
Date/Time11/4/2015 at 8:43:21 AM

Bryan Baeumler. He depicts the best of contractors, by showing the viewer the procedures he uses and involves the home owner, in the project. He explains in simple terms what is happening.

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