Are you looking to start your own electrician business or expand your already existing electrician business? If so, you should begin to consider how you are going to resolve any dispute that may arise between you and one of your contractors. There will be times you will require a contractor to perform a job to a particular standard to protect your business’ reputation.
The nature of business relationships is that things may not always go according to plan. During the course of your business, you will most likely be required to confront a contractor about the quality of their work. A Subcontractor’s Agreement will assist you by outlining both parties expectations and obligations when completing the job. It will also provide a dispute resolution mechanism between you and your contractor if the relationship were to go awry. Consequently, you will feel comfortable and prepared that you have taken steps to secure the best possible outcome for your business.
How should I approach a dispute with a contractor?
Some business owners enjoy confrontation and see it as an opportunity to assert their dominance in the relationship. We strongly suggest opting for a more amicable alternative if you do find yourself engaged in a dispute with your contractor. Realistically, both your electrician business and your contractor stand to lose a considerable amount from the dispute. This should encourage you both to approach the situation openly and honestly.
It is often the case that your contractor could either agree with what you have to say, or at least offer a reasonable excuse for why the dispute has arisen. In addition, it could be possible for both of you to reach an agreement that could rectify the situation with little or no loss to either party. As a result, you should refrain from unnecessarily burning any bridges. This approach does not guarantee a favourable outcome, but it places you on stronger footing if the relationship turns sour or if the contractor refuses to complete his work.
Sometimes a contractor can be unreasonable or even irrational when being confronted by you. If this is the case, moving forward in the relationship, you will have a greater understanding of the person you will be dealing with in the coming days, weeks and months.
What is the next step?
If you have been unsuccessful in reaching a solution on your own, you should seek independent advice from a legal professional. A lawyer can assist you in understanding your situation, and advise you on the strength of your case. Litigation and pursuing your claim in court should, however, always be the final option you exhaust. A number of options remain available to you to resolve your dispute.
The first is Mediation, in which you and your contractor will appear before a neutral third party, who will attempt to assist both of you in reaching a solution to the dispute. This process provides a forum for both sides to discuss their issues and potentially reach an outcome that will enable you to continue doing business together in the future.
Another option available is Arbitration. This process is quite similar to mediation, except that the third party will come to a conclusion that will bind both you and your contractor. Consequently, you should choose arbitration if you feel that negotiation is fruitless but want to avoid the high cost of going to court.
If you are looking to start your own electrician business or expand your already existing electrician business, it is prudent to anticipate how you will resolve any disputes that may arise between you and your contractor. Having a comprehensive understanding of the process you will take to resolve any issues with your contractor will help ensure that you can both reach a solution in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Should you have any questions about drafting a Subcontractor’s Agreement, or require any advice on how to best resolve a dispute with your contractor, please get in touch!