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How To Fight A Bad Contractor

There probably isn’t a single person who has never had a negative experience with a contractor. The fact that your project may fail simply because someone you rely on to their job performs below standards is quite frustrating. You need to do everything you possibly can to prevent that from happening.

how to fight a bad contractor

Whether the workmanship was not up to the agreed standards or there were delays, you’re quite likely to lose your nerves or money, or, as it often happens, both. Still, there are some steps you can take to avoid facing such problems. Naturally, no matter what you do, some problems may still occur, but you can protect yourself from the consequences. So, let’s see how we can protect ourselves as much as possible.

Firing the contractor

The is probably the most obvious solution, but it is rarely without additional problems. Your contractor is most likely to challenge your decision in court as a breach of contract. You’ll have to provide sufficient legally acceptable evidence to justify your decision. However, you’ll be wasting time and money in court, on top of the fact that you haven’t seen your project completed.

In order to be able to provide compelling evidence, you need to document each time the contractor fails to meet the obligations stated in the contract. Next, send a return-receipt letter to the contractor stating that they will be in breach of contract if they don’t rectify the problem before a specified date. This should warn them that you’ll be terminating the contract unless things change. You may never see the money you’ve already paid, but at least you won’t be wasting any more.

how to fight a bad contractor

Small claims court

In small claims courts, you don’t have to hire an attorney, because you can represent yourself and pay just a nominal fee which will allow you to present your case. Local rules and regulations vary, which is why you should find out what rules are applicable where you live.

The procedure is simple: a judge listens to both parties, asks some question to clarify the matter and passes a decision. The problem with this step is that your compensation is limited to a few thousand dollars, which means it doesn’t cover greater damages.

Performance bonds

These are guarantees by a bonding company that tasks will be completed per the provisions of the contract. It is worth noting that performance bond requirements are obligatory for all public work contracts worth $100,000 and above. Further, performance bonds for contracts offering services will cost you a percentage of the overall contract amount, which can be determined by assessing your financial strength. If a claim is filed on the contractor’s performance surety bond, they have to pay back the bonding company.

Complaints and negative reviews

You have quite a few websites where you can post your comments on bad contractors. Although that won’t help you get your money back, at least you’ll warn other people about your negative experience.

The problem with this step is that the contractor could sue you for libel. If you’re up against a rich contractor, they might make you spend thousands of dollars on your defense. Perhaps the best idea is to consult an attorney before posting any comments publicly.

how to fight a bad contractor

Rely on recommendation

This is an obvious and sensible tip. It’s always much safer to hire someone you’ve either already worked with or someone with recommendations from people you know and trust. Even though you’ll sometimes have to hire a professional you’ve never worked with, if you ask around and consults websites where people post comments on the quality of service they have received from various contractors, you’ll probably be able to narrow down the selection and make a good choice.


Every project carries certain risks and every project manager needs to know what they are and how to prevent them. Naturally, the best scenario is to avoid having to deal with a bad contractor in the first place, but in case you have to, you need to know what your options are. Just make sure you know not only your rights but also the potential problems that might arise from your actions.

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