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How a Guelph, Ont. app is helping cut down on home renovation scams


Home renovation season is getting underway in Ontario and with that, comes home improvement scams.

Real estate agent and landlord Quentin Sillingle has several rental properties and knows all too well how quickly renovations can go south.

“I’ve had clients who have been defrauded,” he said, adding victims have been left with unfinished projects and empty pockets. “Some of these stories are hundreds of thousands of dollars that you’re getting into because costs have gone up.”

Sillingle is also recovering financially from jobs that have not been completed as promised.

Help from Bidmii

That’s where Bidmii comes in.

The platform, created by a Guelph tech startup, helps build trust during the renovation process.

It allows people to explain what work they want done, post it on the app, and contractors bid on the project and offer quotes. Potential clients can ask contractors questions and, once they find a good match, money for that job is placed in a trust account. It sits there until the client is satisfied with the work, and then at that point the funds are fully transferred over to the contractor.

“We’ve also got purchase-verified ratings and reviews,” said Bidmii co-founder Jon Christensen. “These are reviews that cannot be faked because we’re holding the funds in trust. We know which projects are getting done and which ones aren’t.”

The app, he adds, offers greater protection and transparency for all involved parties.

“The homeowner rates the contractor and the contractor rates the homeowner. That’s part of ensuring that everybody is playing nicely in the sandbox,” Christensen explained.

Sillingle has seen for himself the benefits of using Bidmii.

“We had one small issue where [a contractor] happened to be cleaning out the grout water and spilled it outside and it went underneath the fence onto the neighbour’s driveway,” he recalled.

Since the app holds everyone accountable, Sillingle said the workers were able to correct the problem rather quickly.

“They were back within the hour, apologized to the neighbour, cleaned everything up, came back to me and said ‘we’re so sorry.’”

Building even more trust

Bidmii has improved its app even further within the last several weeks.

It’s joined forces with another platform called MoveMate, which allows customers to book their move from one home to another, or one businesses to another, at a fixed price. People can book within the app, and contractors are vetted through background checks before they are assigned to residential moves.

“They find out which is a good moving company, which is not a good moving company, and they've essentially collected all of the good ones in their own network,” said Christensen.

Bidmii and MoveMate now work in tandem with each other in their respective apps.

“Our integration with MoveMate means that at the end of your move you're presented with Bidmii [and vice versa],” Christensen explained.

The hope is that people might benefit from using Bidmii if they’re moving somewhere new, and customers can use MoveMate if a renovation project is underway at their current home and they need to get their belongings to a new or temporary location. Top Stories


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