What to Do When the Contractor Does a Bad Job

July 14, 2023

Free photo construction workerCredit: gpointstudio via Freepik

You can do everything you’re supposed to do when vetting a contractor:

  • Verify their licensing and insurance, check.
  • Ask for references, check.
  • View previous projects, check.

Even after running through all these essential criteria, you can wind up hiring a contractor who can’t (or won’t) finish the job. They abandon the project halfway through, or their finished product doesn’t hold up to your standards.

As a homeowner, it can feel demoralizing and frustrating to be in this situation. You did your due diligence to find a professional, and you got a clown. Is there anything you can do? Below, let’s discuss the steps you can take to deal with this renovation nightmare.

Be Honest with Your Contractor

The best way to handle this issue is in-house. Before you involve other parties, try to come to an agreement with your contractor. Having an honest and respectful discussion can go a long way to rectifying this situation, especially if you can jumpstart your talks before they wrap up. Touch base throughout the renovation to discuss your expectations and concerns.

It’s best to get these touchpoints down on paper, either in a physical document, email, or text.

Stop Paying Your Contractor

If your contractor refuses to make changes to their work or, worse, they disappear before finishing, do not pay them another cent. Make sure you have a paper trail of all the times you attempted to contact them.

Cut Your Losses

Don’t try to stick with a contractor who isn’t meeting your expectations because you already paid for some of their work. (This reluctance to abandon a failing project is caused by the sunk-cost fallacy). Honestly, it’s best to cut your losses, fire your contractor, and get a more experienced professional on the job.

Hiring a new contractor can add unexpected costs to your renovation budget, especially if they have to undo mistakes your previous builder created. If you’re finding it hard to cover this added expense, you have a couple of options.

Most professionals would have you consider putting your renovation on hold until you can save what you need. This works best with a cosmetic upgrade that didn’t get too far. As long as you can live safely with the mess, you can wait as long as you need.

When an abandoned projectputs your family’s safety or comfort at risk, you can’t postpone the project.

In an emergency, you might feel compelled to get the quickest loan you can find, which is often a payday cash advance. However, there are alternative options that provide the same convenience without the punishing repayment term, including a line of credit. A line of credit comes with a minimum payment that keeps your account in good standing, which can take some of the pressure off your budget when it comes time to pay what you used.

File a Complaint

After hiring a new professional as a replacement, you might be ready to put this nightmare behind you. However, you might want to escalate the situation if the original contractor stole money or damaged your home.

You can file a complaint against their business with the contractor’s state licensing board and your state attorney general. You might want to reach out to your municipality’s administrative center for advice on your next step.

You also have the option of taking them to small claims court or suing them, but understand that hiring a lawyer is very expensive, and you’ll require a lot of documentation to prove your contractor of wrongdoing.

Taking legal action should be your last resort. Hopefully, the other options shared here today offer a better solution to your tricky situation.


Urban Splatter

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