Often when it comes to dealing with people, it is hard to find good help. This couldn’t be truer in the contractor world. While there are many good ones out there, it can take some time sorting the good from the bad. In our latest post, we will provide some tips on how to handle bad contractors in New Jersey.
Have you ever had the experience of hiring a local construction company only to uncover that their professionalism and work quality isn’t quite up to par? If so, then you know how frustrating and stressful it could be navigating and getting through this situation. Here are some tips to help you avoid the stress.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
With any contractor you hire, there is some planning to do before signing any contracts and forking over deposits. Make sure the contract is extremely detailed including all the “what-ifs” that may arise during the project. For example, how will change orders be handled? What if the project runs longer than expected or goes over budget? What will the pay schedule look like? You will also want to know what their work schedule will be like and if they carry the proper insurances. Also, will they be pulling all the necessary permits? Do your homework to make sure they are properly licensed for the project you are hiring them for. Requesting the contractor be detailed and thorough beforehand will actually help weed out the bad contractors from the beginning.
Honey before Vinegar
Before calling your lawyer, do your best to resolve the situation yourself amicably. Most contractors are not going to want negative publicity and bad reviews. In many cases, simply being transparent about your frustrations will allow you to resolve the problem quickly without escalation. If they are not able to resolve the problem themselves, try to work out a partial refund, so you can hire someone else to fix their error. When speaking to the contractor about the problem, speak calmly and professionally. Remember, mistakes can happen and being abrasive or rude won’t help remedy the situation. You attract more bees with honey as they say.
Go to the State Licensing Board
If friendly communication fails, you can file a complaint with the state licensing board. Your complaint will be reviewed, likely with an investigation into the business. No contractor wants a blemish or the risk of losing their license. If the contractor is in the wrong, they will likely bite the bullet to avoid any further damage. If they don’t believe they are at fault, you can expect the fight to go a bit further.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Many businesses don’t realize the impact of a low BBB score. The effects of complaints and bad reviews can be detrimental to a business. When researching a company online, their BBB page will likely be one of the first pages that pop up in the search results. If the business has a low BBB score, people will be wary of hiring them. The BBB makes a record or your complaint as well as what the company does to resolve the issue. This may just be enough to motivate the contractor to work to fix your problem.
Always be honest and diplomatic with your reviews. If you sound overly angry or even petty, people might discredit your review off as someone having a bad day. Instead, summarize the situation and include information about your attempts to resolve the issue. You can use sites such as Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor to share your experience with other homeowners who are looking for construction services in the New Jersey area.
If the contractor is in the wrong and refusing to work with you to resolve the situation, the next step would be contacting a local attorney who specializes in these types of cases. This will help you get a clear understanding of your rights and if it is worth proceeding via legal action. They can draft a letter to the contractor in question, letting them know your settlement terms and what the next step will be should they not comply. Getting the law involved will make most businesses want to resolve the issue as opposed to battling further and risking damage to their reputation.
Small Claims Court
Depending on the cost of the damages, your next step will likely be taking the business to court. Your attorney should be able to advise if you have a case or not, saving you from wasting time and money by pursuing the issue further. When going to court, make sure you are fully prepared with contracts, documentation of all contact, costs of damages, and legal fees to date. These are things you can request be reimbursed should you win the case.
Contact us today to avoid having to deal with bad contractors in the New Jersey area! (908) 547-0404