In an age where smartphones, tablets and other internet-enabled devices are ubiquitous, you’d think communication problems in most industries would be a thing of the past, right?
Unfortunately, this is not the case in the home renovation industry. Communication breakdowns are still a relatively common issue and often result in homeowners and contractors butting heads over renovation costs. It causes confusion, distrust and typically leaves both parties feeling soured on the experience.
One Kitchener-based technology company is aiming to change the way homeowners and contractors interact with a web app that ensures lines of communication remain open throughout the renovation process.
RENOMii, which shares its name with the app the company developed, was founded in 2013 by CEO Scott Barker, along with COO Kara Smith. Prior to founding the company, Barker worked in sales and project management in the renovation sector for 20 years.
“Most renovations start at a certain price but almost always see change,” said Barker. “With those changes, costs begin to increase. If there is confusion between the contractor and the homeowner about what changes have been agreed to, the cost of those changes and how that impacts the final total, it results in mistrust and bad feelings on both sides.”
Homeowners are prone to what Barker describes as “sticker shock” when they discover the final total for the renovation is higher than the original estimate.
By using RENOMii, contractors can create a project in the cloud-based app and send any required change orders directly to the homeowner. When the homeowner receives a notification from the contractor, they can access the project on RENOMii, review the cost along with other important details related to the change and approve or reject it.
The broad goals of RENOMii are to bring more simplicity and transparency to the renovation process, keep costs under control during a renovation of any size and to save both parties time, energy and paper.
RENOMii has been positively received by the renovation industry thus far.
“As a contractor, I use this software daily because it allows me to stay in constant contact with my clients, keeping them continuously updated on their project,” said Damon Bennett, TV renovation contractor and owner of Damon Bennett Construction.
“Communicating with our customers has never been easier.”
Because RENOMii is a cloud-based app, the sign up process is straightforward. Contractors are able to choose between two pricing options: a pay-as-you-go per project option and an annual plan that allows contractors to start unlimited projects.
The company has some ambitious growth targets for 2015 that will surely be helped along by its exclusive agreement with Home Hardware Stores Ltd. Announced on March 18th, the agreement will see RENOMii available for sale in most Home Hardware Building Centre locations across Canada by the second half of the year.
“With our exclusive partnership with RENOMii, Home Hardware is proud to deliver on state-of-the-art technologies and services that our contractors and customers have grown to expect,” said Sandy Palmer, Allied Building Product Manager with Home Hardware Stores Ltd.
“Home Hardware has a long-standing tradition of trust with contractors, renovators, builders and homeowners,” added Kara Smith, RENOMii’s COO and co-founder.
“We build on that trust, and being supported by Canada’s best-known and respected suppliers of materials, it will only help strengthen the trust contractors, custom home builders and renovators have with homeowners, and grow their business.”
Also on high on RENOMii’s priority list for 2015 is continued expansion of their Mii Casa app built to allow new home buyers to choose features and finishes while giving real estate developers access to data on their buyers’ selections. The company promises that developers will see a reduction in administrative times by up to 50 per cent when using the app.
Momentum Developments is using Mii Casa for its Kitchener project, One Victoria Condominiums, and RENOMii hope to have more developers signed on this year.