Often, business owners can enlist the help of an independent contractor if they need an extra set of hands for a particular project or task. However, there are times when the contractor may not fulfill their end of the agreement due to subpar work, missed deadlines, or other reasons.
This usually leads to a breach of contract, which can be a stressful and frustrating situation for the business owner. If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t worry; there are steps you can take to protect your interests and resolve the issue. Here are some things you can do if your contractor breaches their contract:
1. Review the Contract
The first step is to review the contract you signed with the contractor. This will help you determine what the expectations were and what, specifically, the other party has failed to do. Once you clearly understand the situation, you can start to formulate a plan of action.
Suppose you had a contract with a web designer to create a new website for your business. However, the designer missed the deadline that you stipulated in the agreement. In this case, the breach is clear — and you would be within your rights to take action since the other party has failed to uphold their end of the bargain.
However, there are times when the breach is not so clear-cut. For example, say you hired a copywriter to produce blog posts for your website. But after receiving the first batch of articles, you decide that they’re not up to the standards that you were expecting. In this instance, it may be challenging to determine if there has been a contract breach since the work quality is subjective.
2. Send a Notice of Breach
If you decide to take legal action, the next step is to send a notice of the breach to the contractor. This notice will state that they have breached the contract and what you expect them to do to remedy the situation. It’s essential to be clear and concise in your notice; you don’t want to leave any room for interpretation.
You can do this by specifying the clauses that have been breached, outlining the damages that have been incurred, and giving a deadline for the contractor to rectify the situation. If the contractor fails to take action within the specified time frame, you can move forward with other legal options — such as filing a lawsuit.
Of course, it’s always best to resolve the matter amicably first. So, you may want to give the contractor a chance to make things right before taking legal action. For instance, you could allow them to redo the work or offer a partial refund. This way, you can avoid the hassle and expense of going to court.
3. Negotiate a Resolution
If the contractor is willing to negotiate, you may be able to reach a resolution without going to court. This can be a good option if you want to avoid the time and expense of litigation. You can try to come to an agreement on your own or with the help of a mediator since this can be a more efficient way to resolve the issue.
Remember, though, that there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to resolve the dispute through negotiation. If the other party is unwilling to budge, you may have to take legal action. But make sure that you’ve taken all other avenues of resolution first before moving forward with a lawsuit.
You might think that going to court is the quickest way to resolve a severe breach of contract. However, this isn’t always the case. So, it’s worth considering if you can settle outside of court since it can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.
4. File a Lawsuit
This is usually a last resort, but filing a lawsuit may be necessary if the other party is unwilling to cooperate or negotiate. However, before filing a lawsuit, you should consult with an experienced commercial litigation attorney to discuss your options and see if this is the best course of action for your case.
This way, you can be sure that you have a strong case before moving forward. And if you do decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney can guide you through the process and help you obtain the relief you’re entitled to. But you should know that going to court can be time-consuming and expensive — so you’ll want to be sure that you’ve exhausted your other options before proceeding with this course of action.
Ultimately, the best course of action will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. If you decide to take legal action against your contractor, you need to be ready to face the potential consequences. So, weigh your options carefully and consult a legal professional before making any decisions.