Is he reputable?

My references are impeccable, my client care superior and my craftsmanship second to none - really! 

I love what I do.
It shows. 
I make it look like a million buck$!

One of my past clients asked me - 'Karol, how come you are not on HomeStars or Houzz or some other 'trades rating site' You would get a lot more business!'. Instead, you are just on Kijiji...

That questions caught me off guard - just a bit. I thought, 'You are right Chris, I could get more business and grow bigger and bigger and make more and more money....'. 

But no, I wouldn't - my business model is different.  That, and I have mixed feelings about those sites. For starters, any rating website that offers me a 'gift certificate for an expensive coffee' in exchange for giving a testimonial feels a bit strange - there is really no way to substantiate that rating - it could very well be fake. Plus, I could be treating myself to a great coffee every single day....

[no....I'm not like that....but really I do treat myself to good coffee everyday, I just buy it. I like coffee!]

Another reason is that I don't list on 'rating sites' - the reviews tend to be on the extremes - exemplary or dreadful or both. What?! What's up with that? For every bad review that a business or a contractor gets there is another spectacular one! In my opinion - not to take away from all the great businesses that strive for ratings - someone is gaming the system. Not my circus, not my monkeys....

I recall, one evening, glancing through the ratings, looking for companies that I used to work for and finding Darmaga Hardwood flooring, and reading a really crappy review of it. I liked working for Darmaga - that was years ago, before I went to design school - they are a very reputable flooring company. It's been a family business for three generations - I recall Wally Darmaga sitting in the office reviewing projects personally, coming out to site to meet the client and resolve an issue in person. Their customer services was impeccable. And the nice floors I installed working for them...

And so here I am reading this essay on how 'bad the floors are'. And I immediately spot what the problem is. It is not that the floors are poorly installed, or that there is an issue with the product - it's the lack of designer oversight! See, any project - in my opinion - can benefit from what I call a 'designer oversight'. 

Flooring? - on the floor. 
Electrical switch? - on the wall. 
Cabinets? - stacked wooden boxes. 

Not to take away from the wonderful trades - floor installers, electricians or cabinetmakers - but that is the mentality. Unless explicitly instructed on how, in what way, or where - you will get  - 'a floor', 'a functional electrical switch', 'a row of cabinetry'.  

In my opinion - hardwood floor can be 'installed', or it can be spectacular - electrical switch can be upgraded to a digital, remote controlled dimmer for extra $30 and you can have a 'curtain of light raise and fall on your space' and your own living room will 'wow!' you every evening - you can have a wall filled with a row of boxes with doors, or you can have it 'looking like a million bucks!'*.

When you read this blog - that's the Studio Kosnik experience. That's what's it like to work with me.  Studio Kosnik is different. Being a designer and a tradesman I combine the best of both worlds! I like designing. I like woodworking. That's my forte! 

My references are impeccable, my client care superior and my craftsmanship second to none - really! 

I love what I do.
It shows. 
I make it look like a millions bucks!


So I did register with HomeStars to ensure that my business name does not end up being hi-jacked. Also - sorry, but this update has some cuss words, so please overlook those, I'm just a little pissed off about this thing.

So HomeStars is trying to shake me down for $1200! Yea! They are trying to shake me down for $1200! So what does paying them $1200 entail? Based on my conversation with the rep, it is as follow:

A] Removal of my 'competitor's ads from my profile listing'. WHAT?! By signing up with HomeStars the most prominent part of my profile is dedicated to my 'competition'. When I informed them that I offer a unique service, and that I don't really compete with anyone, they were dumbfounded as to how to answer that question. Yea!

B] HomeStars will 'increase my search radius to 50km, otherwise they will limit me to a 20km radius'. Now, my shop is smack down in the middle of the city of Toronto! My 20km radius covers the entire city of Toronto - that's essentially my core business area - that is more than 1200 square km of the city! I asked specifically how will they 'limit my visibility', what is the superb technology that they are using to 'limit me'? What technical wizardry are they using to prevent someone who lives '22km away from my shop' to search me out. Well, they were unable to answer that. HA!

C] Here is the BEST PART! While on the phone and the computer, she linked me up to 'some of my competition', to show me their profiles. And so I am looking at these profiles with eighty [80!] full 10/10 stars ratings - these guys are amazing, they are superstars - which could be true, by the way - and being reasonable I asked:

'How will I ever catch up to 80 ratings that are all 10/10, all while being truthful about my business?' Well, here is their answer - they will hook me up with a 'representative' that will work with me to quickly create a series of positive reviews.' I was assured of that! Really? You mean I can be the crappiest contractor around and for $1200 I will 'quickly get a series of positive reviews'.

You know what I call that - 'contractor magic'! - SCREW OFF HomeStars!

Here is a link to an article by Mike Holmes - you know, the 'Make it Right' guy -

It's a worthwhile read.

I work differently - I know very well what I can and cannot execute. If it is too big for me, or it requires skills that I don't have or the timing is not right - I will let you know. More, I will advise you what you can do about it - good honest advice. That's how I work.

Studio Kosnik

ps. I've hired off HomeStars. Was disappointed. Didn't leave a crappy review. Haven't hired off HomeStars since then. I only hire people I trust.