Firing a Contractor: Do It the Right Way

February 21, 2018

Sometimes contractors just don’t rise to the occasion. When you have put all the right resources into a home improvement project yet you are not getting the desired output, then the problem might be the choice of personnel. There is nothing as stressful as waiting for a contractor to deliver on your vision only for him to disappoint you. Instead of waiting to have a disappointment at the end of the project, the alternative is to pull the plug on the contractor. In a recent poll conducted on Angie’s List, there was a staggering statistic that 25% of the members have had to fire their contractors.

Here is how to fire a contractor:

Provide justification

There is the consideration that the break with your contractor has to show just cause and be a mutual one. Having a written agreement is the best way to provide grounds for firing them. You can read more about it here.  You can’t just sack them out of the blue. Instead, you have to find grounds that show the termination was an act of honor, lest they sue for severance. When a contractor’s work is subpar, then there is sufficient reason to justify their firing. However, the conditions for substandard performance have to be set out in the contractual agreement.

Substandard performance               

When the contractor makes a bucket load of mistakes or delivers unsatisfactory work, it qualifies for substandard work. Despite being hired because of their skills in a field, the contractor may become complacent and neglect the client-professional relationship. When the project deadlines are not met, and the craft is sketchy, there is need to hire another contractor.

Create an assessment procedure

Of importance is to understand the relationship was commercial and that you are entitled to the best service your money can buy. However, this does not mean that terminating a contract has to be adverse. Reducing social friction while in the process of staying objective is very paramount. Employ controls that will gauge the performance of the contractor and a regular feedback system to keep you appraised of the on-goings on site. This builds an excellent backdrop to any termination. You should be clear about your needs and the contractor should countersign that they will be able to meet them. Outline any relationships, liabilities and deadlines such that any aggression on their side will be a violation of the contractual agreement.

Terminate amicably

It is of importance to include a termination provision, mostly without a severance paycheck to prevent the contractors from intentionally exploiting it. If this is done in an amicable manner, the contract is negotiated in good faith and both agree on the grounds for termination and especially a termination clause, there would be less risk of litigation if things went bust. Once in a contractual agreement, you are bound by employment laws and therefore, any termination must be carried out procedurally by the standing orders. If the grounds for the termination are sketchy, it provides room for litigation, and you may rack up spending a hefty amount of money in court cases.

The importance of out of court settlements

Breach of contract cases is the worst nightmare with precedence showing that the system favors the contractors. It is imperative therefore, that you do not have vague or unambiguous clauses in your agreement. It is important to know that the contractor can win by attrition if they have massive reserves of money and drag the case on for so long with your work on standstill.  They can hold your home improvement projects at ransom until the case is done.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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