At Wisconsin House Buyers, LLC, we’re constantly dealing with contractors. Some are good and some don’t live up to expectations. We thought it would be helpful to provide a post that might help homeowners and investors alike navigate contractor issues and hopefully, identify the good contractors before ever hiring them in the first place. You don’t want to find yourself spending your cash reserves on projects that aren’t up to your standards. In our latest post, we will provide some tips on how to handle bad contractors in Madison.
Did you hire a local construction company in Madison, only to find out they didn’t live up to expectations? Here are some things to consider with that contractor and when hiring in the future.
Yes, it can be tempting to call the lawyer immediately when these situations arise. However, consider a more diplomatic approach. No contractor or homeowner wants to get bogged down with an expensive and lengthy legal dispute. Before calling your lawyer, do your best to resolve the situation yourself. Contractors are not going to want to receive bad reviews or have it get around that they did a bad job. In many cases, simply letting your frustrations be known will allow you to resolve the problem quickly and reach common ground between you and the contractor. 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 make them eager to resolve the problem.
It sucks to deal with, but make sure that you’ve read over and are both clear on the contractual obligations with your contractor. There are almost always “what-if” scenarios that arise and working these out ahead of time will help avoid disputes altogether. For example, what will the pay schedule look like? How will change orders be handled? What if the project runs long or goes over budget? You will want to know other things too, like what their work schedule will be like, do they carry the proper insurance. Don’t forget to ensure both of you are aware of who is pulling permits if they’re required. Do your homework to make sure they are properly licensed for the project you are hiring them for. Doing your research beforehand will help you to avoid most of the bad contractors in the first place.
State Licensing Board
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.
Check Reviews & Testimonials
Check contractor out online to see if they have any good or bad reviews. Take reviews with a grain of salt, but they can be extremely useful in painting an overall picture of how the contractor does business. If you’re leaving a review yourself, be honest but not harsh with your reviews. If you sound overly angry or even petty, people might brush your review off as someone having a bad day. Instead, summarize the situation and include information about your attempts to resolve the issue. Other people will want to know how the company truly does business before hiring them. You can use sites such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor to share your experience with other individuals who are looking for construction services in the Madison area.
Check the business out on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You might find reviews here and you might now. If you have already worked with the contractor and believe they’ve failed their obligations, you can file a complaint with the BBB. 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. Complaints can be resolved, and having it all out in the open might motivate the contractor to work more quickly to fix your problem.
Ready to get the Lawyers Involved?
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 sorts of cases. This will help you get a clear understanding of the law and what your rights are. They can draft 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.
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.