Renovation Mythbuster: Should I Hire Contractors on the Recommendation by Friends and Renovation Websites?

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Entrusting your home and years of savings to a contractor is an unnerving business.

Some of you may go out of your way to ascertain whether the company has a clean track record, maybe asking a friend about his/ her experiences with this company, how the result looks, whether the company charges a lot of additional fees etc.

Now take a step back and think, does your friend’s fuss-free, satisfying experience entail yours?

It might, but not necessarily. From the data we have gathered in renovation case studies, we’d say it’s a risky thing to do.


Myth #1

‘It should be safe, shouldn’t it? My friend wouldn’t recommend this company if they’d had an awful experience.’


We don’t doubt that your friend has your best interest in mind.

But from the experience of our professional consultants, in over 90% of the renovation cases that had gone awry, home owners were introduced to the contractors through recommendations by friends.

The fact that a contractor can stay in business only assures you that not all of the company’s renovation jobs went wrong.

For example, some companies might only pull a disappearing act when there are accidents, unpleasantry or arguments involved. Construction delays might only take place when the peak season commences.

Moreover, some renovation issues might not reveal themselves right at the beginning of the construction process. Home owners do not realise they have misplaced their trust until the later stages of the project.

Staff changes might also take place during the project.

To put it simply, the reliability of recommendations by friends should not be overestimated.


Myth #2

‘Look at that long list of recommended contractors on this website, these websites must have done their quality check before recommending these companies?’


Internet is a breeding ground for misinformation.

We often see online platforms claiming that over a hundred renovation companies have signed up as their business partners.

More often than not, only a couple of these renovation companies are in active partnership with these platforms.

Moreover, ‘customer review’ can also be misleading due to two facts. First, these customers might have incentives to give the company a glowing review. For example, they want to maintain good relations with the company in the maintenance period.

Second, these customers might not realise that the service they have received is below business standards.

Most importantly, each online platform has its own set of characteristics which attract specific construction companies in forming business partnerships.

Reputable companies can bypass commissioning online platforms to get in contact with potential customers.

In conclusion, unless an online renovation platform has substantial and practical value, you shouldn’t place your entire trust on online platforms.


Myth #3

‘Neighbourhood shops won’t survive a bad reputation.’

‘They’ve developed a chain. If that isn’t a guarantee, what is?’


So many renovation projects go awry in one year but how much information is disclosed about the unethical construction companies involved?

Even when the information is disclosed, very often the names of these companies are not mentioned.

Home owners often overestimate the transparency of online information. Remember, the lack of incriminating evidence and testimonies against a company is not sufficient proof for the company’s credibility.

Neither is the fact that the company has developed a service chain.



As a home owner, when selecting between different contractors offering you an array of renovation packages, you have to go the extra mile with your research.

Be it recommendation by friends, renovation websites or property agents, take it with a grain of salt. Verify the information you are given, make your decision wisely and patiently.

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