5 signs it's time to break up with your contractor

Poor work on any home improvement would make most homeowners consider saying goodbye to a contractor. But is that always the best option?

"It’s hard to pull the plug on any relationship," Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, says. "When it comes to your contractor, you do have a chance of salvaging it if you’re willing to have an open and honest conversation about the issues."

For many, good communication is a key to ensuring a good experience with a contractor. However, the homeowner can be responsible for the dialog as well.

"If your contractor doesn’t know you’re unhappy, it’s hard for him or her to fix the problem," Hicks says. "But if you’ve talked until you’re blue in the face and the contractor remains unresponsive, it might be time to cut your losses."

Before you hire any contractor, review the contract and consider future losses you may incur if the relationship sours. A homeowner is less likely to be afraid of dismissing a contractor if financial penalties aren’t a threat.

"A well-worded contract is your best defense in your relationship with your contractor," Hicks says. "But 16 percent of Angie’s List members admit they aren’t reading the contracts in their entirety before they sign it."

"Add a termination clause to your contract, that way if they are not meeting certain hurdles like the payment schedule or completion dates, you won’t be stuck in a bad situation."

Join Angie’s List to find the best contractors in your area and help prevent an awkward relationship later.


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When should you call it quits with your contractor?

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Reputable handymen should stand behind their work and won't have a problem correcting mistakes at no cost to homeowners, but a written agreement is always preferable to a verbal contract. (Photo by Jannica Abrams)

Calling it quits with a contractor mid-job can be awkward and unsettling for both parties. But if your contractor is unqualified, unreliable or unresponsive, it might be time to end the relationship and find someone who is.

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