Resolving a dispute as a contractor can have implications in terms of money and time as well as reputation which could cost you future contracts. It is thus vital for disputes to be settled as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to ensure that disputes are dealt with to ensure a positive outcome for you and your client.
Gather Documents and Statements
As soon as you are faced with a dispute, gather all the relevant paperwork. These should comprise of contracts, terms and conditions, e-mails and invoices. It is best to get statements from key colleagues as part of your evidence. By having these documents available, you will be able to assess your position. If you decide to get legal advice, then your lawyer will also use these documents as evidence.
Weigh your Options and their Outcomes
By weighing your options and what their outcomes may be, you will have a picture of which option will suit you best. By possessing strong evidence which could ultimately be used to win your case may mean that it suits you to go straight to court. If, however, your contractor reputation and livelihood depends on you resolving the dispute as quickly and quietly as possible, then you may consider a settlement or if a compromise.
Research Your Client’s Strengths
Research your client’s strengths to ascertain if they are able to take the dispute to court. You may choose to fight them or settle before it goes that far. It also important to get legal advice before agreeing any settlement especially if you are dealing with a large client or corporation.
Calculate Anticipated Dispute Costs
By anticipating the costs of the dispute beforehand you will have an idea whether you are in a financial position to take the dispute further. The largest costs to consider will be the legal costs. The extent of your time to fight the dispute must also be anticipated as it will mean that you will have less time to take on other contracts.
Plan Your Tactics
Planning your tactics in advance is helpful as it will give you a better idea as to whether you want to settle or fight the dispute. It is best to consider your evidence and statements and with the help of a lawyer, you will be able to ascertain what tactics to use to best to achieve a favourable outcome.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.