Are you looking at starting your own, or expanding your existing wedding planner business? If so, it is important that you understand how you and your contractor will resolve any disputes that may arise.

As you and your contractor will both rely on each other to ensure the business’ success, your relationship may encounter some challenges. There may be times when you disagree with one another on completing tasks, or even where the relationship breaks down entirely. It is then necessary to take steps ensuring that these situations don’t threaten your business’ reputation. So, to protect your business, you should know what avenues you can pursue to resolve effectively and efficiently any dispute that may arise with a contractor.

Where Do I Begin?

Critically, you should first determine whether your contractor is indeed a contractor or an employee. Whether your worker is an employee or contractor will have clear implications for your tax, superannuation and leave entitlement obligations. You should first then check your worker’s status using the Australian Taxation Office’s employee/contractor decision tool.

If a problem arises between you and your contractor, it’s important how you react. It is easy to become frustrated and aggressive in such situations, however, this will rarely achieve the desired result.  You should then take a step back, and assess the situation, ensuring that your contractor is aware of all the issues. Next, arrange a meeting with your contractor, inviting them to outline their position and to speak openly. Only after you have understood their issues can you take the next step to resolve your dispute.

What is the Next Step?

Having listened to each other’s points of view, you should attempt to reach a solution between yourselves. Amicably resolving your dispute saves your money as well as your time, and can even allow the business relationship to continue. Parties cannot, however, always reach a resolution. Here, you should speak with a disputes lawyer who can advise you on the strength of your position.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Pathways

Your lawyer may suggest mediation as a quick and cost-effective means to achieve a resolution. During mediation, a neutral third party listens to both you and your contractor presenting your side of the story. The mediator will then ask the parties to table ideas as to resolving the dispute, and if you can reach an agreement, it will become legally binding.

Alternatively, you may look at arbitration where an independent third party, the arbitrator, makes a decision on the evidence that is legally binding. It is important that you first understand the cost implications of choosing arbitration as it can, at times, mirror the costs of litigation.

Conclusion

Before a dispute arises between your wedding planner business and your contractor, you should invest some time deciding how you will resolve any issues. Start with a frank and calm conversation with your contractor to identify points of tension and agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement, you should contact a lawyer. Understanding alternative dispute resolution pathways to court, such as mediation and arbitration, will also help you plan ahead and protect your business’ relationships and reputation.

Questions? Get in touch with LegalVision’s disputes team on 1300 544 755.

Adi Snir

Next Steps

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