Navigating Contractual Challenges for Trade Contractors

As a trade contractor, you may encounter situations where contractual language is unclear or misunderstood. This blog provides insights into effectively handling such scenarios, drawing from a personal experience in 2010.


The Scenario: Expanding a Home for More Office Space

In 2010, my wife and I considered expanding our home to create separate office space for our consulting business. After securing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for what we anticipated to be a $100K project, we sought estimates from several contractors. We accepted a bid from a contractor who we believed was reputable, having served as a home inspector in a local town.


The Challenge: Unexpected Costs and Communication Breakdown

Throughout the construction process, we encountered several setbacks but received no communication from the Contractor indicating any issues. As the project neared completion, the Contractor inquired about our plans for ordering bathroom and light fixtures. We were shocked to learn that there was no allowance in the project estimate for these items, despite having already paid a significant portion of the project total in progress invoices.


The Aftermath: Legal Action and Lessons Learned

The lack of communication from the Contractor and the unexpected costs led us to seek legal action. This experience highlighted the importance of clear contractual language and communication in maintaining client relationships and winning jobs.

A study published by the Consumer Federation of America last year ranked home improvement repair involving contractors as the second most complained about category by individuals, topped only by automobile sales and repairs. Clear language and communication can help contractors avoid losing sales due to poor review, and can eliminate the need for legal complications. And clear communication can certainly help homeowners feel more trust in their service providers, which leads to more future repeat business. 

Need help finding a system that helps you communicate estimates and terms clearly while presenting a compelling proposal? Check out Estimate Rocket’s estimate and job management software!

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