How to Prevent Disputes Between the Homeowner and Contractors With Good Communication Skills

Although there are many smooth business transactions between the homeowner and contractors, there are also disputes. This can lead to expensive litigation, bad reports to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), interest bearing property liens and a bad reputation for contractors, along with the distaste and the stress involved with a conflict. Many disputes can be prevented with good communication which is the responsibility of both the homeowner and the contractor. The communication tips below can eliminate many disputes between the homeowner and the contractor to prevent stressful problems.


There are three different grades a job can fall under, either A, B or C-grade. Although most contractors are familiar with these different levels of quality work, it isn’t something contractors normally discuss with the homeowner. A contractor should describe these three different grade levels of quality and cost with the customer before making an estimate to enhance good communication. A general description of these different grades of cost and equivalent  work performance is listed below.


A-Grade: Commercial property or affluent housing – you want professional service and a premium job

B-Grade: Average homeowner will fall under this category – you want a quality, job done at a fair price

C-Grade: Rental or low income properties – you want the job done with the lowest possible cost


Contractors should discuss these different grades of work  prior to obtaining an estimate. Just because a home is in a low income area, doesn’t mean it will automatically fall under a C- grade job and just because you are doing an estimate in a luxury home doesn’t mean the owner wants to pay a lot for an A-grade job. So it is best to communicate about what type of grade job a homeowner is requesting so the contractor can make the correct type of estimate for the job. This practice alone, of proper communication before the estimate is made can eliminate many misunderstandings and stress between the homeowner and contractor. It can also help the contractor convert more estimates into jobs when the homeowners recognize and reward professional communication skills.


If you are the type of person who complains a lot at a restaurant and enjoy being pampered, you need to make the contractor aware of your high expectations before he makes an estimate. A contractor’s time is very important and they have a lot of stress worrying about the safety of their employees. Catering to the customer can be time consuming, dangerous and costly.


If you have a tendency to change your mind about what you want to do, the contractor should make you aware of the, “change clause” in the contract and the expense of making changes, which can be very costly to contractors. A change clause can include a fee of $50.00 for every change and any additional expense that comes with that change. Good communication by the contractor of various options available to the homeowner upfront can eliminate the need for change orders and the extra cost.


Contractors should train employees to always pick up any nails on a driveway or pavement, even if it isn’t on any job-site. Customers who get flat tires from a nail will always blame the contractor and it is best for the relationship of the homeowner and contractor to prevent unfortunate episodes that can easily cost $100.00. Homeowners and their neighbors recognize and appreciate the extra effort of contractors who pick up nails and trash, especially if they have no obligation because it didn’t belong to them which displays the conduct of a professional.


An understanding is the best thing in the world to prevent problems, which is achieved with good communication. We have to communicate with others in an effective manner so we have an understanding of what is expected. A contractor will benefit from effectively communicating different job grade options available and the corresponding cost levels.  The contractor should advise the homeowner of any unexpected change orders and the associated costs, to create an incentive for the homeowner to fully communicate exactly what they want. It is the responsibility of both the homeowner and the contractor to articulate their agreement with a complete understanding to ensure a pleasant business experience.


Dale B. Adams formed Majestic Publishers in 2000, and is the author and self publisher of the new book, “Care Giving Made Easy – How to be an Awesome Caregiver” Second Edition and the soon to be released, “How to Make Your Home Sell – Even In A Slow Market” His many experiences include being a Security Consultant, General Contractor and Energy Conservation Specialist. To learn more valuable information visit: