Ep.96: From The Experience of an Arbitrator with Dennis Dixon
If you’ve ever had to deal with legal action in your remodeling business, you know it can be a nightmare. The best thing you can do is to keep you and your projects out of the legal system.
Dennis Dixon has used his experience as an expert witness and investigator to help business owners understand the link between the legal system and the health of their business.
In this episode, Dennis talks to Tim and Steve about how to keep you and your projects out of the legal system through preventative measures, management, and oversight.
Dennis is a 35-year veteran author, builder, and consultant, and is the president of Dixon Ventures in Flagstaff, AZ. His book, Finding Hidden Profits contains proven management, policy, and contract content solutions to keep any construction or design pro in the profit stream.
His entry into the legal system began 25 years ago, when lawyers would ask him to investigate projects that were the subjects of lawsuits. Dennis says about 75 percent of these disputes arose from mishandled change orders, with the underlying causes of poor documentation and communication. He talks about how to help keep your company out of legal trouble, including:
- Getting everything in writing
- The problem with allowances
- Why you need good planning and specs
- A-to-Z documentation
- Asking how clients will use a space to get a deeper understanding
- Resolving disputes before taking any legal steps
- When to take the hit on a change order
- The power of a real letter, not an email
- Taking emotion out of the process
- Addressing dispute resolution in your contracts
- How to prepare for arbitration or a lawsuit
- Why the party with the most paperwork wins
- And more …
Maintaining good communication with clients will help head off disputes — and that includes the hiccups and problems too. Being transparent and documenting everything is the key to avoiding legal trouble.