How to resolve disputes with contractors


When you’re running a business, a healthy working relationship with your contractors is essential. Unfortunately, disputes with contractors are common and they can cause ongoing disruption and downtime.

When a dispute occurs, it is important to resolve them as quickly as possible, to reduce any negative impact on your business.

In this article, we will discuss how to resolve business disputes and where you can access support.

Why might disputes with contractors arise?

Disputes may arise if contractual obligations have not been fulfilled., There might be a problem with the quality of work or the materials used by the contractor, he may fail,  to adhere to plans or specifications, or not deliver the agreed level of craftsmanship.

In addition there may be a delay in completion, where the work is not completed by the contractor on time.   Delays can cause financial losses and inconvenience.

Disputes can also arise as a result of poor communication, or badly managed expectations, leading to arguments over timelines, scope of work and overall costs. Other reasons for disputes could be if the contractor believes they are not being paid as agreed, or alternatively, if the client believes that they are being overcharged.

How can you resolve disputes with contractors?

In business, it is s crucial that there is open communication between the client and the contractor. Many disputes can be resolved before they become serious by managing expectations and having clear communication.

Negotiating a settlement

If a dispute does arise, often the most time efficient and cost-effective way of dealing with it is by negotiating a settlement, which can be done with the assistance of an experienced solicitor.

During negotiations, it is important that you clearly communicate the issues that have led to the dispute, and what the failings on their part have been. It is also essential that you demonstrate exactly how you would like the contractor to resolve the issue and include a specific timeframe for this to happen.

It is also important that you give the contractor time to respond and remain cordial and professional throughout the process, as this will provide the highest success rate in terms of keeping your professional relationship with the contractor intact.

Using mediation

If negotiations with the contractor are proving contentious, a further route worth exploring is to use the services of a mediator.   Using a mediator can be useful if communication has broken down. The mediator will work to understand both sides of the disagreement between the two parties, reviewing any relevant contracts or documentation involved. They will then begin to facilitate open communication between both parties and help either side express their concerns, with the objective of coming to resolution of the dispute.

It’s important to note that the role of a mediator is not to decide an outcome or impose a solution, but to assist both parties in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. Once an agreement has been made, it is then often put into a settlement agreement and release which is signed by both parties.

When to rely on court proceedings

Litigation is often seen as a last resort by solicitors, as it is often more costly and time-consuming than coming to a settlement outside of court. Even with a strong case there is no guarantee you will be successful. However, if negotiations have broken down there may be no alternative.

The process of going through the court system can be long and complex, but if you are successful, the court will make a judgement against the contractor, which could potentially result in them also paying your legal fees. Conversely, if you are not successful, a judgement can be made against you, and you may be ordered to pay your contractor’s legal fees. It is also highly unlikely the contractor and you will do any further business together.

If you are debating whether or not to take legal action against your contractor, we highly recommend consulting with one of our experienced solicitors to evaluate your case and any evidence you have. By doing this, you will be able to make a clear-headed and objective decision on what is best for your business.

Contact our dispute resolution solicitors

You can get in contact with a member of our team by calling 01452 509860 or emailing us at Alternatively, you can access our enquiry form by clicking the ‘get in touch’ button on our contact page.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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