Professional painters: Mike Holmes wants you
Celebrity contractor Mike Holmes has quietly (like he does anything quietly) rolled out a referral service that aims to direct business to professional painters, while providing homeowners with a higher quality of painter to quote on their work. The program (http://www.holmesreferred.com/) is being managed by Craig Lowe, owner/operator of Lowe’s Painting and a man who has been “on the brush” for some 26 years. For the past 12 years he has been one of Mike Holmes’ go-to painters.
For a fee, to qualifying experienced and high-quality paint contractors, Holmes Referred will provide leads as well as signage and marketing materials. Homeowners who sign onto the program who are looking for professional painters will get three Holmes Referred contractors to quote their jobs.
As the above article states, the contractor referral program can be found at http://www.holmesreferred.com and currently only serves the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but according to the website, plans to expand in the future. Although a fee is charge to qualifying contractors who wish to receive leads, the program is "free for all customers, including residential and commercial projects."
The program is currently looking for contractors of all stripes, not just painters. According to the website, they are seeking skilled tradesmen in the following categories:
For contractors, the mission of the Holmes Referred program is to "[provide] strategic credible leads and promotional support to reputable contractors to help deliver the highest-quality, construction-related services to homeowners and clients." To become a Holmes Referred Contractor, you must meet the following qualifications:
- Demonstrated significant skill & expertise in their specific trade
- A valid trade license (if applicable)
- Liability insurance coverage
- WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) coverage (if applicable)
- Passed Holmes Referred Contractors onsite inspections
Once contractors have met the qualification, they are charged an initial start-up fee, and a membership fee of $200-$500 a year, which in my opinion is an absolute steal. As a wedding photographer (a trade in its own right) to be a preferred photographer at some venues in Las Vegas where I operate can cost upwards of $500 a MONTH. Given that the annual membership fee can be recouped in one or two referrals, and given the name and reputation of Mike Holmes, I'm honestly surprised they don't charge more for this service. There's also a very minimal fee to accept a lead, but the amount is trivial (between $15 and $50 depending on the type of lead). Again, as someone who is familiar with paying upwards of $2000 for a booth at a one-day bridal expo (and as a wedding photographer, I make MUCH less than your average contractor), the fees being charged seem more than reasonable to me.
For those wishing to take advantage of the Holmes Referral program, the program is designed to pre-screen and select qualified contractors. Once a project request is submitted to the program, up to 3 contractors who match the specifications are then sent back to the submitter. Even though the program is designed to match clients with qualified contractors, the website still urges people to "do your homework," and find the right contractor for the project. A "trade-specific preparation checklist" is included with the 3 contractors to aid in selecting the right person for the job.