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How to Avoid a Contractor Conflict

While moving to a new home can be stressful enough, having to deal with contractor issues is something that should not make your experience more difficult. Finding out that your contractors accidentally installed your floor tiles onto your shower walls is enough to make any homeowner flip out; however, all this will inevitably lead to, is a further delay in your renovation and it will prevent you from moving into your dream home on time.

Instead of getting to the point where you and your contractor have a battle royale over who made the mistake – leading to an extended completion date – try some of these tactics in order to make sure your remodeling experience is as stress-free as possible.

  1. Clearly Express the Problem. Inarguably frustrating as it is when a contractor spends an entire work day completing a task wrong, resist the urge to immediately blow up at them. Since this is a professional working relationship – not to mention you would like your home projects completed as soon as possible and properly.  Clearly re-state your project expectations and discuss the issue using the facts only; this way, it will be easier to decipher where exactly the mishap in communication came from and help you prevent it from happening again, and them getting discouraged at your impoliteness and doing a shoddy job.
  2. Don’t Invite Everyone. In order to have a more focused and honest discussion over the issue at hand, don’t belittle the contractor in front of his employees. This will not only embarrass him, but it will lessen your chances of having him admit to his mistake in lieu of preserving his professional dignity.
  3. Listen with an Open Mind. What if the problem occurred because of both of you, not just the contractor? Regardless of whether it did or didn’t, the best way to achieve successful conflict resolution is to spend time listening, as well as talking. This will make the conversation go much smoother and make the contractor feel much less defensive and thus, more likely to clearly hear what you are saying. Furthermore, while it is definitely difficult not to place blame – especially because whoever is at fault will most likely have to pay to fix it – try to keep a level head so as not to postpone your renovation indefinitely.
  4. Come Up With A Plan. From this point on, both of you will probably agree that action items need to be in writing in order to avoid any future complications. However, sometimes you can just refer to your contract and find that a solution to potential problems may have already been spelt out for the both of you.
  5. Speak Up. Just because you are trying to maintain a professional relationship, does not mean that you can’t still express yourself when something was not installed correctly in your new home. For example, if you find an outlet in your bathroom that is in the wrong place, then speak up sooner, rather than later. It will most likely be easier to solve the problem that way – for instance, it is easier to make a new hole in the drywall as opposed to breaking and replacing tile.