No matter the effort you put into finding the right contractor for your project, there is always a possibility of running into a troublesome contractor. Today, some cheeky contractors fool their clients, and such contractors can make you feel hopeless.
Of course, no one wants to work with a conniving contractor or one who doesn’t have their best interest at heart. In case you ever find yourself dealing with such a contractor, the following are a few tips to help you handle the issue.
Make the contractor understand your expectations
According to the contractors at AFS General Contracting, this is the first thing to do when dealing with such a contractor. Most people hire a contractor for a certain type of job, only for the contractor to change their plans in the middle of the project. With that, you should let your contractor know the details of the project right from the beginning. Failing to do that can create room for the contractor to do whatever they want, which can cost you money and delay your project.
File a claim
This helps, especially if your contractor is bonded. Most states require a contractor to get a surety bond, thus insuring them against any client disputes. Also, the bonds protect the client from incomplete or shoddy work done by the contractor.
This, in turn, gives you another option—filing a bond claim with the contractor’s insurance agent. Ensure the contractor gives you a copy of their surety bond before signing the contract, since the contractor may cut all communication once you start questioning them about the quality of their work.
Filing a claim allows the bond policy to pay you, thus compensating you for the losses you might have incurred. Then, they will pursue the contractor to refund them—and no contractor wants to see a client filing claims against them. And, for a contractor to be entitled to get a surety bond policy, they need to be licensed. This, also, opens up another opportunity for you to deal with a contractor who tries to fool you.
File a complaint with the licensing board
The reason why you should hire licensed contractors is that you have an opportunity to report any complaints or disputes to the relevant licensing board. And to maintain their reputation, and avoid losing their license, contractors will need to correct the issue, instead of risking their license.
So, reporting your contractor to the state licensing board can force them into negotiation to resolve the problem. To find your relevant licensing board, you only need to search for your respective state’s licensing and regulation department. Also, note that the process of filing complaints varies depending on the state and you should contact your state and enquire about the filing procedure.
File a lawsuit in a small claims court
The benefit of filing a lawsuit in a small claims court is that all parties don’t require the services of an attorney. However, this has a limitation too—there’s a capped amount that a plaintiff sues the defendant for.
So, whether your contractor is delaying to complete the project, or they’ve gone over budget or gone against the terms of your contractor, a small claims court presents the perfect grounds for mediation. However, you should confirm the limit set in your jurisdiction before opting to report your contractor in a small claims court.
Also, filing your claims in a small claims court is very easy, since these courts are designed for plaintiffs to handle cases without a lawyer.
Fire the contractor
If your contractor doesn’t deliver as per your contract, or is not working with the required consistency, you don’t have to stress yourself about them. Mostly, such contractors end up doing shoddy work, which can cost you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you need the work to be redone.
With this, you will need to gather enough evidence about the contractor’s malpractices before terminating their contract. You should anticipate some legal challenges or pushback from your contractor. However, you should be ready to defend your decision to terminate the contract, and also stand your ground when they ask for payment. Always take your time to review the termination clauses in your contractor before making the final decision to fire the contractors.
Hire a construction lawyer
If all the options highlighted above don’t work, and the damages you need to sue for are significant, you can hire an attorney. Suing your contractor should be the last resort. It’s costly, time-consuming, and stressful. However, if your contractor continues to fool you, and your project is delaying and incurring losses, an attorney can help you to pursue them legally.