In a perfect world, we would all be able to prevent potential conflicts before they ever occurred. That’s not always possible, however, and as it relates to the relationship between homeowner and contractor, those conflicts can sometimes become extremely costly for both parties. They can also cause severe delays in your project. In some cases, they can even bring your home renovation to a complete stop. In order to dodge these potentially damaging consequences, it’s critical for everyone involved to pay close attention to detail as the project progresses and to address any issues immediately as they arise.
Of course, the most obvious solution is to avoid conflict altogether by practicing open communication and by documenting as much of your interaction as possible. Sometimes, though, misunderstandings will occur, regardless of what you do to mitigate that risk. Here are our tips for reaching a resolution as quickly as possible:
If you’re considering putting a complete stop to the project, make that your last resort. Stopping the project is rarely in the best interest of either party. If you are the contractor in this scenario, bringing the project to a halt means that you run the risk of not getting paid for the work that has already been done. The homeowner in this situation will experience significant delays in their project and, in many cases, will likely also end up paying for the same work twice.
Tip: As an alternative, attempt to reach a compromise that will appease both parties, such as alternate payment arrangements or perhaps complimentary services that will make up for any mishaps.
Approach the discussion with a level head. Whether in a professional or personal capacity, people have a strong tendency to react in harsh ways when tensions are high. Rather than trying to discuss the issue while you are still upset, take a few minutes to let your emotions settle before speaking with the other party. Avoid simply walking away, however. Inform him or her that you are extremely upset and would like a few minutes to calm down before the problem can be handled.
Tip: Avoid trying to resolve your conflict in the middle of a room full of people. Homeowners: if your contractor has employees in the room, quietly ask him to join you outside for a more private discussion. Contractors: Never bring up problems in front of a homeowner’s children or guests. Again, the best option is to request a more private place to talk.
Focus your discussion on the solution. Pointing fingers and placing blame are not going to get you very far. In most cases, mishaps that occur during a home renovation project occur as a result of an honest mistake. Instead of lashing out at the other party, do your best to steer the conversation toward what needs to be done to correct the problem as quickly as possible.
Tip: As you discuss a solution with the other party, be sure to create a plan and document every detail. Do not rely on verbal agreements, especially after a conflict. In order to ensure that everyone is on the same page, either make copies of your handwritten agreement or email the details to all who are involved.
Countless projects have been delayed as a result of a silly argument between a homeowner and a contractor, and many of them probably could have been easily solved through open communication and mutual respect. Don’t let your home renovation progress be derailed. If you find yourself in the midst of a disagreement, follow these simple suggestions to reach a resolution as quickly as possible.