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Question DetailsAsked on 3/19/2013

When doing renovations when do you pay contractors?

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4 Answers


Most will give you a schedule with their proposal. We are Air Conditioning contractors in Florida, most jobs just take a day,so we only ask for payment when it's complete.

Larger projects, that take some time,incremental payments are likely necessary.


Answered 7 years ago by BayAreaAC


Angie's List staff members have published lots of information about contracts, contractors and payment. Here are links to some content that might help you:

Answered 7 years ago by Member Services


You have to be fair, but safe.

It isn't fair to expect a contractor to put a lot of their own money at risk for you job (this includes their value of time). So a deposit that allows for ordering supplies (not necessarily all of them if it is a large project) as well as pays them time for coordinating, scheduling, storage, etc. is fair.

From there the same idea holds true; each time the contractor gets to a point where they amount paid is close to equal the amount spent/earned, it is time to pay an additional amount until the work is complete. If you are unsatisfied with anything up to that point, it is a good time to discuss options and corrections prior to making the next payment. (This is not a Friday night, the week of payment due, conversation - give the contractor plenty of notice and a chance to correct the work!)

You should always hold some funds until the work is completed fully. This is the only way to ensure the contractor returns to clean-up, finish those last few punch list items, etc.

Along with being safe, you need to make sure you have everything in writing. Part of the contract should be a payment schedule; when and what percentage or specific amount. For larger jobs and ones where you will have sub-contractors, you should look into lien releases; these are simple 1-page forms that each sub-contractor signs to say they have been paid in full (by you or your G.C.). These prevents someone from showing up 2 weeks (or 2 months) after the job is complete and asking for money or claiming they were not paid, etc. If working with a G.C. you do not give final payment until all sub-contractors have submitted lien releases.

On large projects, this is a good time to consider hiring a Project Manager (Construction Manager). Many full-service architectural firms offer this service; for a fee they will watch the contstruction schedule, make sure all payments are made on your behalf and make sure all liens, permits, etc. are filed, paid, etc. This third-party person keeps both the owner and the G.C. on equal footing and makes sure both are treated fairly.

Good luck!


Answered 7 years ago by Kenny Johnson


Under California law they are not allowed to accept payment until the job is finished and you have signed off on it. If they ask for money up front for materials, etc. find another contractor.

Answered 7 years ago by RevDi

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