1) Refer to the contract. Identify where the performance parted ways from the terms on the contract. Read more

2) Read the small print on both sides of the contract. Determine any terms that were not complied with.

3) Gather all relevant documentation, including change orders.

4) Keep a phone log of dates/times, conversation highlights, whether the call was incoming or outgoing, etc.

5) When verbal agreements and discussions aren’t working, move communication to email so you have a written record.

6) Keep dialogue clear and factual. Avoid making assumptions or unfounded accusations.

7) Convey a reasonable posture but be firm on requiring compliance with contract and industry standards.

8) Be open to reasonable solutions. Feel free to make counter-offers.

9) Avoid long lags in communication without legitimate reason. If necessary, initiate follow-up emails to check in and request a response by a deadline.

10) If the other party isn’t responding, signal your intention to escalate to a dispute resolution venue within a reasonable amount of time.