Safeguarding Your Firm from Client Disputes

Clients have begun unleashing their pent-up demand for upgrading, remodeling or redesigning their homes. That means more business for designers. It also means greater risk. As you start off the new year, you want to be sure all your bases are covered.

Improvements in the economy and the housing market have boosted consumers’ confidence about making investments in their homes, but they haven’t loosened the grip on their wallets. If anything, clients are now more demanding and have even higher expectations about what their dollar will buy and how quickly the work can be completed. In such a contentious market, disputes can easily arise. To protect yourself, review your current letter of agreement or contract documents to ensure they are clear, comprehensive, specific and detailed. If you don’t already have it, include language about how disputes will be handled and resolved. Check that you have an adequate level of professional liability insurance and that your policy and premiums are up to date. Also, if you are not certain, consult legal help to verify that you have completed the proper incorporation papers for your type of firm.

Even with these safeguards, you may find yourself involved in a dispute. It may be the client believes you are at fault or, on the other hand, the client may be remiss in paying. Should such a situation arise, our firm can help. We can advise you on the best course of action to take – many disputes can be settled without legal action – or, if needed, work with your legal counsel or help you to find appropriate counsel. We also can provide expert witness testimony on a range of industry areas and practices. Visit the Services page on our website to learn more.

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