Lévis, February 1, 2020 - Desjardins is now the majority shareholder of Reno-Assistance, a company that pairs clients with reliable contractors who can execute large-scale residential or commercial renovation projects. The company has cultivated a pool of over 1,000 residential and commercial construction professionals and contractors. Desjardins is also supporting the company's plan to increase its footprint outside of where it currently has most of its business--Greater Montreal, Greater Toronto and the Quebec City region. In 2017, Reno-Assistance underwent an exhaustive review by Protégez-Vous, a consumer awareness magazine in Quebec. It was the first and only company of its kind to receive the organization's seal approval, which was renewed in 2019. The company platform will remain open to the public in the coming years, continuing to operate with the current team and under the Reno-Assistance brand. But Desjardins hasn't ruled out the possibility of capitalizing on synergies with different entities in its organization.
"Real estate is often the largest asset in any family," says Martin Brunelle, Vice-President of Growth, Acquisitions and Development at Desjardins. "According to homeowners we've surveyed, renovations can be difficult and cause no small amount of aggravation. And it's not necessarily any easier for commercial operators, who don't always have the time or the expertise to vet suppliers or conduct major renovations. Reno-Assistance offers a database of verified local contractors and personalized support and planning throughout the process, including in the event of litigation. We want to speed up the company's growth across Quebec and in Ontario, where Desjardins is the leading property and casualty insurer."
Shared values: advice and education
Reno-Assistance stands out from the competition with a referral system for the best contractors in its markets. And it boasts a team of seasoned advisors who use their knowledge to inform their residential and commercial clients. The RenoBlog on the company website has a number of articles on renovation, including why it makes sense to renovate the kitchen and the bathroom at the same time, what to think about when re-siding a home or what type of roofing materials to select. The RenoInspiration page on the site provides over 200 examples of residential and commercial renovation, including project descriptions, costs and before and after photos. The company site had 1.2 million unique visitors in 2019, more than doubling 2018 numbers.
"I started Reno-Assistance after experiencing problems of my own with contractors and renovations that ended up costing me $50,000," says President and Founder Eric Perigny. "Since we launched in 2010, we've provided personalized assistance and consumer protection to clients planning projects over $3,000. We're proud to partner with Desjardins because we share common values. We're confident that we'll soon have all the verified contractors we need to serve the entire province of Quebec and Ontario's largest cities."
Very high satisfaction rates
Reno-Assistance has a 94.5% satisfaction rate among clients, a remarkable achievement in the field. The rate was a drastic departure from the results of a June 201 Ipsos survey of Canadian homeowners on behalf of Reno-Assistance. Takeaways from the 1,742 homeowners who responded included the following:
- One third of Quebec homeowners think renovations are the most stressful element of the purchasing process.
- Three quarters (74%) of Montreal homeowners find it difficult to find a contractor they can trust. In the rest of the province, that number is 58%.
- 60% of Quebec homeowners don't check to see if their contractors are licensed, 75% don't check to see if they have insurance and 80% don't check see if they've been taken to court.
- 17% of Montreal homeowners say contractors have botched work they've had to redo.
- 40% of Quebec homeowners want:
- Help from a renovation expert during a project to avoid pitfalls
- Help understanding the quotes they receive from contractors
- At least 3 quotes on every project
- An extensive background check on contractors
- Contractor audits
Reno-Assistance, by the numbers:
- Founded January 2010
- Desjardins has been the major shareholder since January 2020
- 40 employees
- A 1,000-member network of 360° Verified Contractors analyzed on 54 points
- Over $200 million in renovation projects handled annually
- Over 76,000 residential and commercial clients supported
- 82% residential projects and 18% commercial projects
- $5 million: the largest project executed by a Reno-Assistance contractor
- Average project value: $17,000
- Minimum project value: $3,000
- Up to 3 quotes per project, at no cost, with no obligation
Reno-Assistance is a comprehensive platform that helps homeowners and commercial operators complete renovations by giving them access to the best possible contractors. It's also the only business in its class to have received the seal of approval from Protégez-Vous, a Quebec consumer awareness magazine.1 Each client is assigned an experienced renovation advisor to assist them throughout their project. The advisor provides advice and information, helps them avoid pitfalls, helps select up to 3 contractors that meet their project needs and schedules appointments. Advisors also provide a verification report, which includes a Contractor Confidence Index score, previous legal history, financial situation, client reviews and other key information. The advisors help clients review contractor quotes so they can make smart decisions. Clients pay no fees for the quotes or for the advisor's help. Established in Quebec in 2010, Reno-Assistance has handled requests from 31,500 clients concentrated primarily in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto. For more information, please contact renoassistance.ca.