When you hire a contractor, you are looking for professionalism, experience, and trust. In some unfortunate situations, the project goes sour and the contractor turns out to be bad. Here are some of the various things that can go wrong and how you should deal with them.
Note: Before hiring always make sure to take the appropriate steps. Check out our post about How To Hire A Contractor for tips on making the right decisions.
So what could go wrong? Well the most common problems you will encounter are issues with quality, reliability, and price. Whether you had a higher expectation for the final product, the contractor never finished, or the end cost was higher than the initial agreement, here are some steps to take.
Step 1. Gather all the documentation
Before making your claim, attack, or accusation, make sure to have all of the paperwork in-line. It is important to have evidence of the initial agreements, before and after photos, and any other supporting documents especially if you plan on making legal claims against them.
Step 2. Request mediation or arbitration
Always try to work things out with the contractor first. If they refuse to settle, you can request arbitration to help resolve the issues. If they refuse to speak with you and work through the claim, then it is appropriate to take further action.
Step 3. File a claim if the contractor is bonded
Some contractors will have purchased a surety bond policy to help protect them from disputes. It can protect them from false claims and protect you from poor quality work. A bond company may be the fastest way to get compensated for your losses as they pay out the damages and then pursue the contractor for reimbursement.
Step 4. File a claim with the state licensing board
If the contractor is not bonded and has refused to resolve the issue through mediation, they may be willing to work with you to save their contractors license. Many state licensing boards require no outstanding claims for a license to be renewed, this can be used to get their attention and get the conversation going.
Step 5. File suite in small claims court
No one wants to end up in small claims court, but for larger projects, it may be worth your time and effort. Filling these claims can be simple and resolve the issue if significant damages have occurred.
Step 6. For serious cases only, write public reviews and complaints
Keep in mind the severity of the mishap when you seek justice. Poor quality is not always a reason to publicly complain or hurt a businesses reputation especially if a contractor is willing to work with you to resolve the issue. For serious cases such as fraud, theft, and significant financial damage, it may be justifiable to write public reviews to help your fellow community members avoid a shady deal.
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