The first way to avoid a contractor dispute is to select a contractor who has an excellent track record and comes highly recommended. We previously wrote a blog post about how we selected our contractor for the renovation of our new office space.
Based on our review of online discussions relating to disputes with contractors, there are a few additional pointers to consider:
We recently listened to a presentation by a real estate attorney who spoke about contracts with contractors. He made a few statements that really resonated with us. First, he stated that if something is not included in the contract, it was never discussed. Second, he stated that if someone were to pick up the contract a year from now, it should be clear to that person exactly what work was going to be done, by whom, and when—even if that person had not been party to the contract negotiations. Third, he stated that the homeowner must make certain that the contract is clear in terms of who is a party to the contract. Contractors will sometimes have partial names or DBAs as parties to the contract; the homeowner needs to be certain (and it needs to be memorialized) exactly who is a party to the contract.
Some additional pointers that we have gathered regarding best practices for the contract include: