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Planning a home improvement project? Look beyond the ‘Likes’

With something as important as a home renovation, a little legwork will go a long way
“Sometimes a little good old-fashioned leg work can go a long way to choosing the right professional for your project,” says Langley’s Stephen Tomes, a licensed contractor and owner of New Trendz Flooring and More and Kingsmere Construction.

If you’re planning a renovation – big or small – you want to feel confident that the company you hire is the best choice for your project, whether you’re looking for a new floor or a new addition. But with so many options out there, how do you choose?

Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a great place to start – perhaps a friend or family member has finished a project they’re thrilled with, for example. Ask about the work they had done and what the experience was like. Was there anything they would change?

In our modern world of online reviews and social media, some other comments – good and bad – can be more problematic. Without context or background information, not to mention the relative anonymity of commenters, these can be challenging when it comes to choosing a business or contractor to work with.

“Sometimes a little good old-fashioned leg work can go a long way to choosing the right professional for your project. There are a lot of businesses and contractors out there, and each has their own level of experience, knowledge and customer service philosophy,” explains Langley’s Stephen Tomes, a licensed contractor and owner of Kingsmere Construction and New Trendz Flooring and More.

Beyond his own experience as a longtime contractor, Tomes is a director of the Lower Mainland Better Business Bureau, and volunteers his time and expertise with the Home Inspection Association of BC and the Province’s energy efficiency-focused BC Step Code.

Best practices begin with narrowing down the “finalists” in your search and the BBB can be a good place to start, Tomes says.

In addition to profiling accredited business, BBB’s verified customer reviews let customers rate their marketplace experiences using a star scale. Reviews are sent to the business before being published online and upon request of BBB and businesses, customers must be able to provide substantiation of the interactions.

Questions to ask a potential contractor:

As you consider potential contractors, to see if your project might be a fit for them – and if they’re a fit for your project – do a little research, remembering that price isn’t the only consideration:

  • Will they provide a comprehensive written contract outlining responsibilities, timelines and fees, for example?
  • Do they have the required education, training and professional affiliations, in addition to essentials like insurance and WCB coverage?
  • Can they provide references? Check at least three, asking questions about the scope of the work, communication and perhaps most importantly: Would they hire them again?

To learn more, visit Stephen Tomes and the New Trendz Flooring and More team in Langley at #101 – 20579 Langley Bypass and online at You can also reach Kingsmere Construction at 604-897-5680 or