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Steps to take as a contractor who hasn’t been paid

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | Construction Law |

Clients that don’t pay are one of the most challenging parts of a contracting business. They might use the excuse that they can’t afford it or bring up an issue with you about the standard of the work that you don’t think is fair.

Without having to debate it, you should be paid what you are due for the work you have completed.

Speak with the client and try your best to negotiate

It’s possible that the client is refusing to pay because they need first to receive payment from a third party. If your invoice is past due and your partnership with the client is one you’d like to preserve, it’s worth trying to negotiate a payment schedule with them that would satisfy both of you. 

Take things back to the contract

Unfortunately, as an independent contractor, you are not covered by the same federal statutes that protect employees.

Your contract is your most effective tool, so you should always turn to it when dealing with a payment issue. You should use the contract as a basis for legal action if your client ignores you or refuses to pay.  If negotiations are unsuccessful, you can file a claim against the client in court for the money you are owed.

The court has a wide range of options at its disposal. It might, for instance, demand that the customer pay you what’s due. Alternatively, they can request a mechanic’s lien or a construction lien, which are guarantees that the customer will pay you at a later date.

The law gives you rights as a contractor in situations where you are not paid what you are due. It’s crucial to get legal assistance as soon as you can because there are tight time limits in place if you need to make a claim.


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