What’s the Big Deal about Cash Deals?

“What’s wrong about wanting to get the best price on my home repair work? Lots of people do deals for cash.”

When homeowners repair or renovate, cash deals are all too common. No contract, no paperwork, nobody’s the wiser. Contractors shave their prices by eliminating taxes; consumers pay less and get a better deal. Or do they?

The “upside” savings may seem clear, but what about the “downside”—the increased risk for homeowners? With a cash deal, chances are high that you will get a lot less for your money than you expected.

cash deals

When you hear about “renovation nightmares,” odds are this involved a “cash” contractor. And most times, the homeowners who got ripped off could do nothing about it.

What Cash Deals Can Cost You

Let’s be clear: contractors who work for cash ignore the rules, and this goes way beyond not paying their taxes. Here are a few common practices of “cash” operators that could cost you money:

  • The work is never started or left unfinished—after a large down payment or progress payment in cash, and the contractor disappears. Forever.
  • Shoddy work and products—the contractor does as little as possible, using cheap materials.  Because nothing is written down, there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • No permits and inspections—you may have an illegal project on your hands or one that does not measure up to current codes and standards. What happens when you resell your home? Is it safe? How do you know?
  • No workers’ compensation—if someone gets hurt on the job, you may be financially responsible.
  • No builder’s insurance—if your home or adjoining property is damaged, the cost of repairs may come out of your pocket.
  • No warranty and no follow-up service—the contractor is nowhere to be found or doesn’t respond to your calls. You are simply out of luck.

Remove the Guesswork

Protect yourself. Don’t be swayed by a cash deal; never work without a contract. Hire a professional and always Get It In Writing!

Take the guesswork out of your renovation. The Canadian Home Builder’s Association offers Canada’s best free and unbiased information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way. Find more information at and for even more renovation tips, visit Renovations on the blog.