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Question DetailsAsked on 2/1/2016

Is there a way to protect myself if a contractor wants 50% pay up front?

I have been looking for contractors to remodel my bathroom. They all want to be paid 50% up front. What is to protect me from poor workmanship and job abandonment?

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1 Answer


I operate as a skilled contractor/do-it-yourselfer, but I am not licensed. There are many

skilled (unlicensed) individuals that are capable of doing the job and doing to code, which will save you money. Permits can be covered by homeowner, which saves money, as opposed to contractor taking time to file, pay, etc., which adds up.

Generally, it is a matter of upfront costs involved in getting the contractor's license that keep us smaller do-ers from being licensed, such as liquid funds available to the tune of $1/4M+, 1/3 insurance down payment of near/at $1000, with high monthly notes and more.

I haven't taken jobs/tasks for clients that I haven't already done in the remodeling of our own home or throughout the years as handyman, etc., in earning a living (that is how we got started in our business).

I don't ask for 50% up front unless the job costs is more than I can cover, between other jobs, etc.; as my clients are usually family and friends, and their referrals, there is some-

what an atmosphere of report being established. Additionally, I have gotten provided for payment arrangements based on phases and/or draws (3 to 4) depending on size of job.

I provide a detailed materials list for customers who don't want to pay me up front (until trust factor is well established), or who want to finance instead of putting out a larger outlay of funds up front; this way, they are investing in project with confidence and materials will be delivered and signed for eith customper getting their delivery copy as well as order placed copy. Then only labor costs are reflected in my quotes and terms of payment, completion date, etc. If customer isn't interested in paying for materials, I will shop and arrange for materials to be delivered, and costs are reflected in quote. Once accepted, any funds required by customer are received at that time.

It works both ways-contractor wants confidence/trust we will be paid for work done, and customer wants confidence and assurance that contractor won't take the money and run. I just had to stop payment on sub-contractor that didn't show up for work next day and gave multiple excuses about why he wasn't there. So even contractors can sometimes take advantage of contractors, as well as owners.

Overall, integrity is the key to all of it, then professionalism and ability/capability go hand-in-hand. Rate your priorities. Submitted by

Answered 2 years ago by MsBea

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