When problems come up with your home improvement contractor, life can be stressful and trying. Here are some ways to resolve contractor disputes.
Are you working on a home improvement project? Such projects are great because they can very easily increase the value of your home. But before you get started, I’d like to share with you some tips I learned from experience with regards to dealing with home contractors.
Choosing My Home Improvement Contractor
When I was looking for a home contractor, I got references galore and checked all of them. I had to make sure that the contractor’s insurance, bonding, licenses and other credentials were current and above board. When I narrowed down the list to my three favorite home contractors, I asked if they had done any similar projects to the Florida room I wanted to add on to my house. Two of them had, so I asked for their references. Once I got the clients on the phone, I asked the following questions of each one:
- How was the communication before and during your projects? Were you kept informed about the status of your home improvement project, of any problems that came up or of any changes that needed to be made?
- Were you satisfied with your contractor’s answers to your questions?
- Was your contractor willing to listen to your suggestions and input?
- Did they arrive at work on time every day, and did they clean up after themselves?
- Did you end up with costs that were outside of your original estimate? What were they?
- Was the project completed in a timely manner or were there delays?
Believe it or not, I had one of the references let me stop by and see the completed work on their home to get a better idea of the accuracy of their project. I was actually pretty impressed with the work done and the openness of the client!
How To Avoid and Resolve Contractor Disputes
With my home contractor picked, I checked with the Better Business Bureau to see if there were any complaints against the contractor. I was pleased to find that everything looked good. No red flags came up. I chose my home contractor for the following reasons:
- He didn’t require me to obtain the building permits (he’d do that himself).
- He didn’t request cash only payments.
- He didn’t solicit door to door.
- He didn’t give me an instant quote, site unseen (pun intended). You should discuss the job in detail before receiving a quote.
- He didn’t require a large down payment.
But still, the unthinkable happened: his workers showed up for work late two days in a row. I was fit to be tied, as I really wanted our room addition finished quickly. I had to stop and count to 10 before picking up the phone to make a call. I knew that if I yelled or screamed, it wouldn’t accomplish anything except a headache and hurt feelings. So I tried my best to talk sensibly with my home contractor and try to work out the problems.
It is best to deal with any conflicts that come up immediately — don’t wait. My home improvement contractor apologized for the crew and we agreed that he would have them work extra to make up the lost time. Thank goodness I had a friend who advised me to keep my cool. I was prepared to contact my attorney next to help settle the dispute with my home contractor. I was hoping that a letter from my attorney would settle the problem, but it turned out to be unnecessary. My lesson from this whole experience? Start out with a good attitude, communicate with your contractor and address things amicably. By doing so, things should progress nicely for you and your home projects like it did for me.