We all want our home renovation projects to come off without a hitch, and with the amount of money most Americans spend on a large scale project (between $20,000 and $60,000, on average), you’d think it would be possible to avoid messy disputes. It’s true that highly reputable home renovation companies very seldom leave unhappy customers in their wake—but the fact is, problems do occur.
What specifically goes wrong between homeowners and home renovation specialists? Here are a few common scenarios:
Unexpected surprises—as the renovation gets underway, the contractor discovers underlying structural problems that change the scope and cost of the renovation.
Contractual disputes—it comes to light that homeowners and contractors are not on the same page about the exact nature of the work set out in the contract.
Scheduling conflicts—delays and scheduling conflicts cause homeowners to ask for concessions that contractors are unwilling to make.
Poor workmanship—contractors perform shoddy work and/or were never fully qualified to undertake the project at hand.
Conflict resolution: Where to Begin
As a homeowner investing thousands of dollars in home renovations, it’s never easy to find yourself (and your project) in a compromised position. The first step toward resolution is to approach the manager or owner directly and outline your concerns. If you’ve hired a reputable contractor, you can be sure they’ll do everything possible to rectify the situation without escalating tension. After all, satisfied customers are the building blocks of a successful renovation business. If your contractor doesn’t understand this, he or she won’t be around for long.
If no resolution is found, you may be able to reach an agreement where both parties agree to dissolve the contract, issue refunds, and/or complete specific stages of the work. The project can then be completed by a different (reputable) contractor. This is hardly the most efficient route, but sometimes it’s the best resolution available.
As a last resort, find out whether there is any legal recourse available to you. People are often unaware of the various clauses and statements in the contracts they sign, and what they actually mean in terms of the law. Depending on the exact nature of the dispute, your contractor may be in breach of contract, and may be legally obligated to rectify the situation on your behalf. Due to the size and scope of many home renovation projects, seeking legal council may be a financially viable course of action.
Moving Ahead with Your Project
The last thing any reputable home renovation contractor wants is to leave you unhappy with the situation. Why? Because your voice matters. You have the power to inform other potential customers about your experience. That’s why upstanding contractors will do whatever it takes to get the project back on track when disputes arise. An amicable solution in which your project gets finished is always preferable to a heated dispute or even a legal battle. Choosing the right contractor up front, and being totally clear about the legal terms of your agreement, will keep your disputes to a minimum—and keep your renovation project moving!