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Question DetailsAsked on 4/16/2014

Do fencing contractors normally ask for a deposit on a job? I've not done work with him. I refused. He got angry.

I was leery about a contractor who said he was very busy, but then asked for a deposit. He should have good cash flow if he is busy. I've not used him before. He only has a web site - not a physical location and he's not on Angie's list. Was I out of line in refusing to give a deposit?

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4 Answers


A lot of contractors require a deposit - some nominal like $500 or 5-10%, some go way overboard and ask for up to 100% up front. For some type jobs,especially with custom or special order materials, it makes sense to require a substantial up-front payment. In many cases, requiring at least some deposit acts as a "place-holder" on his work schedule, because if you put substantial money down he is pretty sure you are not going to change your mind and back out on the job and risk losing your deposit.

Write this contractor off - you have him teed off now, so you probably don't want to work with him now anyway, and vice versa. If you are talking standard fence materials that he routinely installs, I would say for a short-term, simple job like fencing 10% deposit at contract signing up front should be fine, with maybe another 25-40% once all the materials are on site and work started in earnest, rest on completion and receipt from him of his and supplier's lien releases.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


It depends. If the guy is hand to mouth-meaning he takes what you give him and uses it for some supplies and maybe not entirely for your job- you are in for a world of heartache.

You can't know the truth unless he has references from people you actually know and can see his finished work.

the best way to handle this at the very first is to say you need a list of materials and if he is picking it up for you you will pay for it in advance using a card or personal visit to store. If you are having it delivered , then he does not need any money for supplies.

If he seems unhappy with this or asks you for upfront labor money or gas money or his truck is broken, stolden, borrowed, missing, wrecked. Thank him, and call the Better Business Bureau to get some A rated fence contractors.


Answered 6 years ago by Guest_93318001


Quite often , when a contractor say's He is busy ,He may be , but that does not mean he has addequate cashflow .Oft times ,I have a busy schedule but have one client who refuses to pay his $ 12,000.00 bill and is throwing a wrench in the clock works . I am then doing all I can to get my money from this jerk and keeping Him from causing the business to grind to a halt . All it takes ,is One BAD Apple to spoil the entire Bushel Basket !

We are living in very precarious times ,Business for most of Us is exceedingly tenuos . Clients are tighter with their money , Creditors seem be less free with their Credit ,and times are truly Tough ! So it is best not to be quick to pass judgement !

Many contractors work from their home . They Do NOT list their home address in order to minimize the amount of foot traffic bombarding them and maintain their privacy !

Using a Web Site makes it easier to Display their work Quality and get the word out about their abilities and Offerings to potential clients. He may not want to be on Angies list ,I talk to a lot of business owners who do not believe in this form of marketing , but we cannot judge them by their independance, Being Indepenant is a right of All Americans !

Often , if a contractor request a deposit , and the Client Refuses , Bad Blood will develope . To ask if you were out of line ,well that is your perogative to decline .It IS your money!

I had a client decline making a Deposit .

He declined by saying ,I Quote ,I Do not give SEARS a deposit !

WOWW ,was he wrong . Sears ,Lowes , Home Depot and most other Big Box stores ,order Nothing for a client , unless the client PAYS for the Special Order , 1st !

I did not argue with Him ,He was expresing his belief , and as bad as I needed the business ,it would have been BAD FORM to engage him in a debate . He was entitled to his opinion !

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder


I have been a controller for the construction industry for over 20 years. GC's are not banks. They are not there to finance your project.

People do not realize, that it takes money to begin a project. A GC who has several projects going on at once, should not Bank the project, buy all of the materials, (this is especially true with custom items that are non refundable) do all of the work, sometimes for weeks, and months, with a crew is more money out of pocket. And then hope that the customer reimburses him/her. A minimum deposit of 20% and up is usual and customary. Many times you are given a proposal, not realizing it took the person hours and days of getting pricing, talking to subcontractors, estimating costs, and time is money. Estimates although are free to the customer, cost the GC sometimes several hundred, even thousands, in time and preperation.

However, if you are not comfortable with your contractor, and have done some investigating, as it sounds like you have. Then do not waste your time or theirs.

Answered 5 years ago by Lindasgt

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