Your business has been doing so well that you hired a contractor to extend your storefront. A month into the project, however, everything started slowing down, and six weeks after being hired, your contractor stopped answering his phone. He vanished into thin air but left behind an unfinished project, piles of trash, and (for you) high-stress levels.
What can you do?
Before hiring another contractor to finish the job, document everything. Take photos and/or video of the job site as it now appears, and preserve any leftover materials that your new contractor may be able to use, saving you money. Then collect as much documentation as possible. This includes (but is not limited to):
- All agreements that the contractor signed
- All documentation provided by the contractor, such as invoices, receipts, work estimates, and change orders
Reach Out to the Contractor
Send the contractor a registered letter requesting a settlement and reasonable reimbursement based on the value of the outstanding work. Include copies of your documentation. Set a firm deadline and let them know that you will commence litigation after that date.
If they do not respond, report the contractor and their other businesses or locations to their licensing board and the bonding agency on the board’s website. This will help ensure that the regulatory body for their profession gets involved, but if the job abandonment cost you in lost business and the contractor still has a lot of your money, you can also sue to recover damages.
If your project is bonded, let the surety know about the breach right away. Then contact a construction law attorney to help you file suit against the contractor for breach of contract, including any contractual penalties and both incidental and consequential costs.
When a contractor walks off the job, a financial snowball can result very easily in terms of lost business, researching and engaging a new contractor, and pursuing them for damages. A carefully-worded contract can make it easier to assert your claims and recover the compensation that you are entitled to.
If you and your business are in a financially precarious position because a contractor abandoned your project, contact Rosen Law, LLC. We will review all original agreements with the contractor as well as the circumstances surrounding the breach, and advise you on what steps should be taken to protect your investment in your project. For more information, please call (516) 437-3400 today.