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I am a Painter. How do I resolve a dispute with my contractor?

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As a painter running your own business, it’s critical that you are aware of what options are available to your business in the event of a dispute with a contractor. Dealing with a dispute with a contractor is always a difficult process, as there is never really a winner in such a situation, only two losers. As such, it is important that you can engage with your contractor in a manner that has the best chance of achieving an amicable result. However, if this is not possible, you should be aware of the legal options available to your painting business, so that you may resolve the matter cheaply and efficiently. Furthermore, some of these options will provide you with the opportunity to continue doing business with your contractor, while other will not. In the end, the result that you achieve will be very situational, as you should be analysing your chance for success or failure throughout the process.

How do I begin to resolve a dispute with my contractor?

In the beginning, you should be sure to take a gentle approach to confronting your contractor. This may go against some of your instincts, and perhaps this is not the first time you have thought about confronting them. However, rushing straight into threatening legal action or withholding pay is definitely not the correct course of action for your painting business. What you have to remember is that despite the fact that you are engaged in a commercial transaction, your contractor will undoubtedly have a sense of pride. Therefore, wounding that pride is unlikely to assist either of you when it comes to agreeing on a solution to the dispute.

Consequently, your first course of action should be to have an open and honest conversation with your contractor, in which you outline the matter and why you feel the way that you do. Then, you should give your contractor an opportunity to express himself or herself, as this will go a long way to making you appear reasonable in their eyes. Finally, once you have both reached the heart of the dispute, you should attempt to brainstorm possible solutions to the conflict.

Although this may look and feel like a counselling session rather than a business discussion, you should know that even if you were to go to court, this is essentially the process you would go through anyway. However, the benefit of this process is that you can reach a fair solution at not cost, and also continue to maintain a healthy business relationship with your contractor.

What if we reach an impasse?

Unfortunately, sometimes it is just not possible to reach an amicable solution when you and your painting business have a dispute with a contractor. In this case, the first things you should do is seek legal advice, as any action you take from this point onwards will have lasting legal consequences. Also, you should begin to consider which road you will choose to take to resolve the dispute. This decision will be entirely situational, as it will depend on whether or not you believe an adversarial approach is your best option, or whether there is still a chance to reach an amicable agreement. Therefore, if you wish to be adversarial, you could think about taking the dispute straight to court, or choosing to go to arbitration. Alternatively, you could seek to engage in mediation, where you and your contractor will still have that capacity to resolve the matter upon agreeable terms.

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If you are looking to start your own painting business or expand your already existing painting business, it’s vital you understand the options available to your business in the event of a dispute with a contractor. Through engaging in an open and honest discussion with your contractor at the beginning of the dispute, you will give your business the best opportunity to move on and recover with the least amount of disruption possible. However, if there is no resolution forthcoming, you should begin by seeking legal advice to ensure that you have a solid footing for whatever is to come. You should then take into account all of the circumstances of your situation and decide whether mediation, arbitration or court proceedings will be the best option available to your painting business. Finally, if you have any further questions relating to the protection of your business, feel free to call LegalVision for a fixed-fee quote.

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