Having trouble with your home project and worried about the cost and the fallout? Understandably, when it comes to your home, you want to solve contractor conflict fast: perhaps things are moving along in your kitchen renovation when you notice that some of your cabinets have been improperly installed. You march right up to your contractor, furious, and let him know exactly what you think of that. A loud argument ensues, and your contractor storms off. Now, the project has ground to a halt for an indefinite amount of time...
Luckily, there are ways to help prevent and to solve contractor conflict fast
A scenario like this can easily happen, but it will delay your project timeline and may even ding your budget in the end. Try these 15 tips to solve contractor conflict fast to protect your project timeline and your money!
Plan ahead and beyond
It's really easy to start fixating on cost when you're comparing contractors. Avoid problems mid-project by accounting for the unexpected beforehand as much as possible, and refer to that info when something crops up. Ask the prospective contractors about all the different types of problems that could potentially pop up, and find out how they will update you and manage the budget and the timeline should one arise. If you're having trouble talking to a contractor about possible troubles now, before the project has even started, he or she is clearly not the right fit for you.
Research as much as humanly possible
One sure way to solve contractor conflict fast is by knowing what you are talking about. Research your project and its potential issues so you can make intelligent decisions and actually recognize a mistake when you see it. This way, you won't create an unnecessary conflict by accusing the contractor of a "mistake" when you're wrong or delay a project because you can't make a decision.
Get it all on paper
Have every part of the project process documented, including every date, time, price and name that relates to your problem. With documentation such as written estimates and receipts, you'll have evidence to present when you're seeking resolution. If your project was done poorly or not finished, make sure you have time-stamped videos and photos to back up your claim. You should also be prepared to explain how you want the issue resolved.
Define your problem
Before you go to speak to your contractor, get your facts and expectations clear. When you have clarity on your own expectations, it will become easier to talk to your contractor about where something has gone off the rails if the situation arises that you're trying to solve contractor conflict fast. Avoid bringing previous conflicts into the discussion because bringing an older issue into your current talk could cause the contractor to become defensive and less focused on resolution.
Only bring relevant people into your discussion
One mistake people often make when trying to solve contractor conflict fast is bringing too many people into the discussion. If there's an audience, your contractor is less likely to openly admit wrongdoing. Don't yell at your contractor in front of his or her staff or other people. Doing that will just result in an embarrassed contractor who is more concerned about his professional image than your problem.
Stick to the facts
Go over what you do know with your contractor, but also acknowledge you probably don't know everything. Even if you're incredibly angry, your conversation will accomplish far more if you leave your emotions out of it.
Remain calm, cool and collected
As noted above, you need to pull your contractor aside and speak to him or her privately about the problem. Resist the urge to start yelling about the mistake, even if it's really frustrating. The key here is to approach the contractor in a calm and collected manner so he or she will be more open to having the conversation in a productive way.
Listen to your contractor
Really listen to your contractor instead of waiting to interject just to disagree. It's both polite and enlightening, and you just may discover why this issue happened to begin with and learn how to avoid a repeat!
Hold the finger-pointing
Your top priority is finding a solution to your problem so the budget and timeline stay on track. Don't automatically blame the contractor. Work together to determine why the mistake happened instead; this will automatically shed light on who should pick up the tab for it.
Admit your mistakes
If you've made some mistakes along the way, freely admit them. This will make the contractor more open to working with you on this issue, even if it turns out it's his or her fault and not yours.
Put a plan in place
Have action items for your resolution and get it in writing. Give a copy to the contractor and keep one yourself, and then schedule another meeting to discuss what comes next.
Go over the consequences
If you're not satisfied by the contractor's response to your problem, calmly go over what will happen if you don't get what you're looking for. For example, you can let them know you will no longer do business with them or refer them to family and friends.
Establish a follow-up procedure
Once you have your expectations in writing, be sure to check with your contractor regularly to confirm everything is moving as it should. Even after the issue has been resolved, you should have weekly meetings or calls with your contractor to prevent any miscommunication in the future.
Re-read your contract
Take a second look at your contract if you think there's a major issue that isn't being handled. The solution may already be right in that contract!
Let it out as soon as possible
If something is wrong, point it out immediately instead of waiting until days or weeks later. You don't want the situation to snowball, and it may very well do so if you're not vocal. A misplaced outlet, for example, is far easier to fix before a backsplash or other wall piece has gone up.