Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics - Part II

It's kind of funny to think... Mike Holmes is a somewhat controversial figure, at least amongst the contracting world. In a Readers Digest interview, Mike stated that essentially 80 percent of contractors were bad. His exact quote was:

READERS DIGEST:]What percentage of contractors are doing good, honest work?
[MIKE HOLMES:] I call it the good, the bad and the ugly: 20, 70 and ten percent, respectively.

(For the full article, read

This of course drew the ire of many contractors across Canada. On the website, a website for the trades magazine Canadian Contractor, many tradesmen expressed their displeasure of Mike's comments with varying degrees of civility. To address their criticism and contextualize his remarks, Mike agreed to sit down with the magazine for a multi-part interview, which was posted to YouTube.

For more information about this, please refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entry Mike Holmes Answers His Critics.

Here is part one of the interview Canadian Contractor did with Mike Holmes:

Just a little disclaimer, I am a fan and big proponent of Mike Holmes, so pretty much anything I write will slant in favor of Mike, just as the interview above slanted in the opposite direction. That's my bias, I'm not trying to hide it, and I figured I'd just confirm it out in the open before I proceed any further.

For any person who has followed Mike Holmes' shows, what he said in this interview was nothing new. It's important to point out that Mike has remained consistent throughout the years in how he defines what a good contractor is. First, Mike stated that a good contractor loves and cares about his job, and will teach and educate his client every step of the way. Mike is such a big proponent of education, that he was recognized with an honorary degree in pedagogy (teaching) by Niagara University in May of 2012. He stated that a good contractor is someone who gets the insurance and certifications that are required to protect himself and his clients. Mike also stated that people just want honesty from their contractor, and being honest and upfront with people is pretty much the bedrock foundation for being a good contractor in Mike's eyes.

In the next portion of the interview, Mike was asked to contextualize his comments that the majority of contractors are bad. He stated, as he has in the past, that in addition to bad contractors, there are also bad clients to blame as well who only want the cheap. As far his good/bad/ugly comment, he stood his ground and defined what he meant by "bad" and "ugly." Again, the definitions he gave are not anything revelatory, as Mike has used these definitions in the past.

Mike defined an "ugly" contractor as an outright fraudster whose sole purpose is to con little old ladies and families out of their money. Both Mike and the host agreed that "ugly" contractors do exist, and they make up a small fraction of contractors. A "good" contractor according to Mike is someone who will go out of their way to do the job right, regardless of the circumstance. He possesses both a thorough knowledge of the products he uses and the skill to install them properly. A good contractor will lose sleep at night if the job is not done right, because a good contractor cares about what he's doing, and will always seek to do right by his or her client. A good contractor stands by his work, because there's no reason not to, and in the unlikely case that a mistake is made, a good contractor will always make it right. (Not everything that I just paraphrased above was said by Mike during the course of this interview, but everything I said has been said by Mike on one of his shows or in previous interviews.) The controversial part of the interview was when Mike defined what makes a "bad" contractor, which he feels make up the majority contractors. Again, Mike's definition of a "bad" contractor was not new - it is someone who doesn't know enough or care enough to do the job right. A "bad" contractor is not out to purposely defraud a homeowner, but his lack of knowledge, skill, and pride prevents him from delivering. A "bad" contractor is a contractor who needs to learn more about the products he uses and how to install them properly. Once again, Mike stated verbatim what he has said over and over again in the past.

Personally, I think Mike did an excellent job articulating his points and standing his ground. Whether or not people want him to, Mike is raising the bar for contractors. He's raising the expectations of what people think contractors should do, and instead of meeting those expectations, a lot of people are whining. Instead of upping their game, many (but certainly not all) contractors just want Mike to shut his mouth. It's true that not everybody has the funds to do what Mike Holmes does, but maybe it's possible to choose good materials and learn to install them correctly so that what you do now doesn't cause problems for your client down the road? Looking forward to part two of the interview.

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