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8 Things You Can Do When A Contractor Does Poor Work

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: hiring a contractor to remodel their kitchen, install a new roof, or build an add-on to…
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Jacob Wadding

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: hiring a contractor to remodel their kitchen, install a new roof, or build an add-on to their house, only to be left with an unacceptable result and thousands of dollars spent.

The best way to avoid working with an unreliable contractor is to:

  • Do thorough research
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Read online reviews
  • Ask for referrals

But if you simply were unlucky with your selection or relied on a local handyman with a truck, you could be left in a difficult, complicated situation. You don’t have to just put up with a result you’re unhappy with. Here’s what to do when a contractor does poor work.

1) Communicate in Writing ✍️

Many issues between homeowners and contractors come down to one thing: miscommunication.

The contractor may fail to provide an accurate scope of the project or may leave the homeowner in the dark as far as updates, progress, and deadlines. Homeowners may also not ask the proper questions up front, leaving them unsure of what to expect.

Be sure to communicate clearly with your contractor when you aren’t happy with the result. And if possible, get the communication in writing over texts or email so that you have evidence later, if needed. And if you communicate verbally in person or over the phone, let your contractor know that you’ll send an email recapping the conversation to confirm you’re both on the same page.

contractor does poor work convo

2) Talk to the Subcontractors 👷

If you have concerns about the work based on what the head contractor is saying, talk to the subcontractors on the project. Remain respectful because the general contractor will likely hear of any uncomfortable questions you asked the subcontracting team.

But if you have suspicions that the subcontractors are overworked or underpaid, ask them how the project is going and listen for any red flags. Sometimes, speaking with the subcontractors can help fix miscommunication issues if the general contractor is unclear.

3) Write a Demand Letter ✉️

If you signed a contract, firing your contractor can be difficult. But, you can amend the original contract to give the contractor more time to complete the job. (And more time for you to hold onto your money until you’re satisfied.)

In many cases, if you want to fire your contractor, you’ll need to prove breach of contract. This can be difficult to prove, but documentation and photos will help. Note details like:

  • Property damage
  • Inferior/inappropriate materials
  • Incomplete deadlines

Then, write a demand letter to the business asking them to fix the problem within a certain number of days, or you’ll terminate the contract.

Make the letter clear and specific, and make a copy of it before you send it. Send it as certified mail so that you receive a note when you mailed the letter and when it arrived. (This comes in handy if you have to end up getting a lawyer involved down the line.)

4) If They’re Bonded, Submit a Claim

A reputable contractor should be licensed, insured, and bonded. If they purchase a surety bond through their insurance agent, it provides protection for their customers. A contractor’s surety bond is essentially a promise to be liable for the debt, default, or failure of the company.

Hopefully, you hired a bonded contractor. If so, you can call their insurance company to submit a claim. If your claim is approved, the insurer will compensate you for any losses.

5) Report Issues to the State Licensing Board

Another perk of hiring a licensed contractor is that you can report issues to your state contractor licensing board. The contractor will have to remedy the problem to avoid losing their license.

The agency will vary from state to state, so you can find the necessary information on your state department’s licensing website. You can also call the department to get the information you need to move forward with a report.

6) Utilize a Payment Schedule

This step is something to do before the work begins because it helps you avoid scams down the line. Include a payment schedule in your contract that states you won’t release the final payment until the work is finished.

This helps you avoid getting bamboozled by an unreliable contractor who takes your money and runs without finishing the job. If supply issues are holding up the work, you can pay for the work that was completed to your satisfaction and set up a payment schedule for when the rest of it will get completed.

A good contractor will never demand full payment upfront.

contractor does poor work review

7) Leave an Honest Review 💻

Online reviews can make or break a business. Don’t immediately jump the gun and leave a harsh review online at the first sign of difficulty. But if your contractor does shoddy work and refuses to amend their mistakes, let them know that you’ll be leaving a review.

Sometimes the thought of a bad review can be enough for a contractor to finally want to solve the issue. But if they still don’t do anything to help, leave an honest review outlining your problem. Don’t be unnecessarily harsh or mean, but explain your disappointment in how the contractor handled your situation.

8) If Things Are Very Bad, Contact an Attorney 🧑‍⚖️

The last thing anyone wants to do is take legal action, but if you’re left with property damage and thousands of dollars gone from your bank account, you should hire an attorney. Reach out to a construction or real estate attorney who knows how to navigate the types of contracts you dealt with.

If you don’t have the means to hire an attorney, you can also represent yourself in small claims court. Small claims court generally works for disputes less than $15,000. In this situation, you pay just a few dollars to start a case. The judge speaks to both parties, asks questions, and finally settles the dispute.

Avoid Issues With a Trusted Local Contractor

. We can definitely empathize with homeowners who deal with scams and shoddy work. No one wants to be left scrambling to get their money back because someone caused damage or left incomplete work on their home. Yikes.

The best way to alleviate the stress and worry of hiring a roofing contractor is to work with one that’s been proven in your region. Here at ARCH Exteriors, we’re fully licensed and insured in Maryland and Virginia, and we have over 200+ 5-star reviews from happy homeowners.

Avoid bad contractors and rely on someone you can trust instead. Reach out to ARCH today, and we’ll be happy to connect!

About the Author
Your home is probably the most expensive thing you own. When you hire somebody to make improvements, you want high-quality work. In addition, you hope they’ll take the same care you would. You want someone with a good reputation, legitimate credentials, well established, using quality materials, and who charges a fair price. For over 11 years, I have worked hard to provide all of those benefits to my clients. One of the major reasons we have been able to do that is our ability to keep highly qualified personnel. Our workers are well trained, properly motivated, and managed professionally. I make certain that I convey measurable systems and procedures that our team understands and can readily follow.

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