Montreal West INFORMER

Vol. 32, No. 7

MW resident becomes Town’s newest reno expert

Magazines, from Maclean’s to Oprah, abound with stories about people who make drastic midlife career
changes. Not only are we no longer sticking to the same job or employer for our entire lifespan, many seek
new professional paths altogether. Accountants become farmers, mechanics train to become bakers and no
one bats an eyelid. In fact, many of us envy them since most new careers are built on the foundation of a

Ballantyne Ave. South resident Michel Labrosse could be one of those profiled in these change-of-career
stories we relish. After graduating from UQAM with a B.A. in Marketing in 1983, Michel had a successful 20-
year career in sales and marketing, working for prestigious companies such as Transcontinental Publishing.

Three years ago, Michel traded his vice-presidential suit, tie and briefcase for overalls and a toolbox, realizing
a lifelong dream to learn building and carpentry at the professional level. After training full time at the l’École
des métiers de la construction de Montréal, Michel passed all the Québec government exams required to be
licensed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, the province’s construction industry governing body.

He obtained his general contractor’s licence with flying colors along with nine other specialized licences in
home renovation and is now offering his services to fellow residents.

“I have always enjoyed manual labor and I did all my own home renovations, as a hobby,” says Labrosse.
“One day, I realized that I no longer had a passion for sales and marketing and after much thinking and
discussions with my wife, Lynn, who also works in sales, I decided to take the plunge and go back to school to
learn a new trade with the intent of setting myself up in business”.

Home building or cooking?
In fact, for a while it was a toss up between home building and cooking. Michel, who is very well known in
Montreal’s scouting milieu under the name Caribou, cooks at Scout camps twice a year. “I love to cook, but I
think there is a greater demand for trustworthy builders and renovators than for chefs these days,” quips
Labrosse. Several MW residents have already called upon Labrosse & Michaels – note the clever use of
Labrosse’s christian and family names to brand his bilingual business – to renovate bathrooms, build decks
and repair foundations. “At school, we learnt how to build a house from top to bottom. I have done it all”.

His work was recently featured in Châtelaine magazine after he designed and built a laundry room, impressing
the editors with his innovative transformation of a closet into a sorting/folding /airing space.

No job is too small for Michel who enjoys renovations as much as repair and maintenance work. And having a
background in marketing does not hurt either. “I understand customers and their needs. I know they want a
contractor who will turn up on time and present himself in a professional manner as well as someone who will
do the job expertly while charging reasonable rates. It’s not just about knowing how to use a hammer and a
saw. People expect total care and great service. And that is exactly what I deliver. No less than I would expect
from someone I would entrust my home to.”

While many contractors only act as agents and administrators, Labrosse prefers a 100% hands-on approach.
“Customers actually see me doing work and not just managing the work site. I take the time to talk to my
customers, understand their needs, offer workable and creative solutions and get on with the job too. Maybe
that is why I am already getting repeat business. Since I live in the Town, I want my customers to greet me with
a smile when they meet me on the street.”

If you are in need of renos, home repairs or general house maintenance, you can trust the guy from Montreal
West: Labrosse & Michaels,
(514) 239-5432,

J'ai fait appel aux services de Michel
Labrosse en 2004 pour la
construction d'un deck dans ma cour
arrière. Le travail a été effectué
très rapidement et avec soin et Michel
s'est toujours présenté à l'heure
prévue, sans manquer un rendez-vous,
chose rare dans ce corps de
métier... Quand il est reparti après sa
journée de travail, tout était
propre et rangé, comme s'il n'était
jamais venu.

Deux ans plus tard, quand le temps a
fait son travail et que le sol a
bougé sous le deck, j'ai appelé Michel
pour lui rapporter un problème
avec la plate-forme qu'il avait
construite. Le lendemain, Michel était
chez moi avec un collègue pour réparer
le tout... sans frais! On ne
pourrait demander mieux comme
service après vente!

M. Pagé, Longueuil.

In his spare time, my husband had started to fix-up the basement of our
home, an older house in Montreal West. We called in Michel to get things
moving a little quicker as we needed more space with a growing family.

As it was the first time we had worked with Michel,  we split the project into
three parts and gave him a first mandate to see how he worked. We were
very pleased and hired him to do the rest of the basement project.  Now he is
going to work on a new bathroom and remodel our old one.

My husband liked the fact that Michel knew what he was talking about, that
they could discuss all aspects of the work openly and that Michel always left
the workspace clean and tidy at the end of the day. Michel spotted problems
that we weren't aware of and made suggestions that we are happy to have
followed. Our basement is now unrecognisable: Michel transformed it from a
dark damp place to a whole new living space which is healthy, comfortable
and fun for the whole family to play and relax in.

"I would recommend Michel to anyone wanting quality work done at
reasonable rates with a contractor they can trust!"

Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

Michel built a nice deck in my backyard
in 2004. He worked quickly and
never missed a scheduled
appointment, which is rare in this
When he left at the end of the day,
everything was nice and clean, as if
there'd never been any construction
on the site.

Two years later, when the ground
below the deck shifted, I called
Michael to let him know about a
problem with the platform he had built.
He showed up with a colleague the day
after my call and fixed the deck
right away... and free of charge! Now
THAT'S customer service!

M. Pagé, Longueuil