Sometimes you’re not always lucky to work with the best contractors or traders, and a bad experience can leave you with a product that you are very unhappy with. Today, we are going to talk about how to recover from situations like this! 

Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! This is your one-stop location to learn and read about any topic related to the use of stone in your home and beyond! We are the best choice for your countertops, vanities, fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. We also provide artist-quality craftmanship, concierge-tier service, and a satisfaction guarantee for all of our customers. Sadly, not every company offers this kind of approach when working with their customers. We’ve all heard our fair share of horror stories or have been through an experience where a contractor or craftsman was hired to install, build, or fix something in the home. Halfway through or towards the end of the project the whole experience goes sour or the work and product overall turns out to be incredibly disappointing. While this is something that our customers will never experience with us, it is still a real possibility or has already been an experience that you’ve dealt with. How do you respond, recover, and move on from these difficult situations and get your home back? This is what we will be talking about today! 

How To Deal With A Bad Contractor Situation

This is never a situation that we want for anyone, but we do realize that it can happen. We wanted to share some information on what you can do if you ever experience something like this! 

  • Please keep every bit of documentation between yourself and the contractor. This includes all paperwork, every email, text message, and even phone records that show how often you tried to contact your contractor. 
  • Be the bigger person, do not explode into anger and threats. If you’ve been left in a lurch and left with a half-finished job, a mess to clean, or poor workmanship, ask for help and seek out professional help if you need to! 
  • Get all of your major home improvement projects inspected. Make sure that if you did deal with or have been left with a bad situation, that you know exactly what needs to be improved or fixed so you won’t have to completely fix or remodel the same part of your home later down the line. 
  • Do not pay for everything upfront. Structure your payments in return for milestones completed throughout the project. If you’re unhappy with how the project is turning out, stop paying! 
  • You can complain, but this doesn’t mean complaining to who you’re working with. You can complain to someone who will listen to you! You can file a complaint with the government agency that licensed the company or individual you are working with. The threat of losing a license is a very scary thing and can get someone’s attention that isn’t respecting you. 
  • Before heading to court, if you feel that is the necessary and needed course of action, check if your contractor has added an arbitration clause in your contract. Arbitration is much more affordable than a lawsuit and you won’t need to hire a lawyer. An arbitrator is a trained professional that will listen to both sides of the case and make a decision. The Better Business Bureau offers arbitration for little to no fee at all! 
  • If you’ve done everything you can except going to court and things are still not resolved, then going to court might need to be the next best step! You can go to small claims court or you can hire a lawyer to file a civil case against your contractor. 
  • Look to your local government! Did you know that many states collect fees from contractors to then turn around and pay unhappy customers whose contractors abandoned them, subjected them to fraud, or have left them with poor work that is not up to code? Each state that does this will have its own unique process of handling this situation, so it is a good place to start by searching for terms like “construction recovery fund” or “construction industries fund” on the internet. 
  • Contract your Better Business Breau and see how they can help you and begin filing a claim against your contractor! 
  • Research and see if you have consumer reporters in your area. Contact them and see if they would be willing to investigate and report your case for free. Just call your local radio or TV stations to ask and begin the process! 

How to Deal with Shoddy Workmanship

Now that you’ve dealt with the contractor in question that has left you with this bad situation, it’s time to recover, repair, and get your home back. How do you do this? 

  • First, deal with them as professionally as possible and document everything. If a job has been done poorly and not up to your standards or up to code, work on getting your money back. Try and get the money back by handling the situation as professionally as you can or by hiring a professional to help you. 
  • You do have the option of working the situation out with your contractor or trader to go back and fix the issues, possibly at no cost. If they have liability insurance (please make sure to check that they do before you work with them), their insurance should pay for the damages they have left behind on the first attempt at the job you hired them for. 
  • If having your current contractor fix the issues they’ve left behind isn’t an option and you need to move on, it’s time to hire a new trader or contractor. This time around, you need to be even more careful in your hiring process than when you chose the first time around. 
  • When you’ve hired someone new to fix, continue, or complete the project at hand, make sure to draw up a new schedule of how and when everything will be completed by with them. 
  • Create a program together that has new dates for completion, and for reaching different milestones throughout the entire project. 
  • Make sure to visit the area you’re having fixed and check in frequently with your new trader or contractor consistently. 

How To Hire A Good Contractor or Trader

We never want you to go through a bad experience like this or to have to go through it again. To help avoid any sort of bad situations, we wanted to share a few tips on how to hire the best contractors and traders in the field. 

  • Always make sure that whoever you choose to work with is licensed to work in your area, is bonded, and has insurance. 
  • Make sure you’re choosing a contractor or trader that is specifically trained in what you are looking to get done, not just someone who is handy in many different areas. 
  • Make sure you’ve been giving a detailed contract that has been signed and agreed upon by both parties before any money has been paid and before any work begins. 
  • Always know who will be doing the work once it begins. Will it be one group of people or will it be multiple different groups of people for different steps and parts of the project? 
  • Make sure you set up guidelines with how you would like the contractor and their team to work in and around your home. 
  • Ask for referrals from the trader or contractor you’re interested in working with and follow up with them. Make those phone calls! 
  • Ask to see examples of their work, if they don’t have any that might be a bit of a red flag! 
  • Look at their credentials and always interview your candidates first hand. Don’t pick someone off their resume alone and without meeting them. 
  • Make sure to know if they have an established presence in the community and if they have a trustworthy reputation. If there is any doubt about any of this, we would recommend that you don’t work with that specific trader. 
  • Do they have a consistent and permanent mailing address, email, cell phone, voice mail, and fax number? Can they provide certification of their trade and how long they’ve been apart of their trade organizations? If they cannot, we also suggest that you don’t work with this individual. 
  • Get everything in writing before you begin working together! 

Please know that we have full faith in our industry and our peers, but we also know that with any career and vocation, there will be a few bad apples every once in a while. Please also know that you will more than likely have more good experiences than bad ones when working with a contractor or trader! We believe in helping our clients, spreading awareness and education, and being as truthful as we possibly can. As we’ve said, we strive to give our customers the best possible experience every time we work with them. If you have any questions or concerns, please make sure to reach out to us soon! Until next time stay safe and keep investing in your home and your style!