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Question DetailsAsked on 10/1/2016

What if the handyman needs money up front

Found a garage door installer and I was wondering if I need to pay for the materials a head of time so he can get started.

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1 Answer


For all but very materials-intensive jobs or non-refundable special-order items, a contractor whould be able to buy the item and you then pay his invoice - at that time if so agreed in advance, or in regular progress payments per contract. Unless you are talking a custom garage door (rare) he should be able to foot the normally $500-1000 ballpark for all the materials - only a day or three from purchase to completed job when you presumably will pay so him being able to carry that amount of cost for a few days should not be a burden. If your contractor cannot afford to carry a thousand $ for a few days - or does not have adequate cash or inability to get contractor credit for that amount - that in itself would be a red flag.

I don't know why you are using a Handyman for this - a professional garage door installer will usually be cheaper anyway despite their maybe 0-50% higher hourly rate, because they will be much faster (from experience), far less chance of it jamming or having problems if the pro does it, plus will then have at least a nominal warranty from the contractor on his workmanship. Garage door (assuming you mean auto entrance door, not man-door) is not one of the items one would normally choose a handyman for, unless you have one you have used before many times so have full confidence in and who has basically a general contractor's experience and abilities.

If you are worried about whether he will take the money and run, go with him to the store/wholesaler to pick up the materials and bring them to your house, with you paying the supplier directly rather than the handyman paying. Or if you can't go along, make prior arrangements with the supplier for you to pay/be billed for the materials and have the handyman pick them up - then if he runs off with them that is blatant criminal theft and you can sic the police on him, because they are your property - he did not pay for them. Just be sure supplier understands any credits for returns or such come back to you, not the handyman, so if he is shady he cannot return them for a cash credit. That is a favorite scam of drive-by roofers and such - customers suspecting something pay for the materials themselves but fail to have it noted on the invoice that any credits/return cash goes only to you, not to the contractor - so they get you to buy as thousand to three in roofing materials which they "pick up" - then "return" saying the job got cancelled and get a cash refund for the materials and run.

Here is a link to another similar questions with more in-depth discussion on prepaying the contractor for materials -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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