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Question DetailsAsked on 9/11/2013

should a roofer ask for an advance payment?

A roofer with a good Angie's List rating asked for 25% down to replace my shingle roof with a metal roof. Is this a legitimate request?

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5 Answers


Sure. Materials aren't cheap, especially metal roofing. Only 25% is quite reasonable. Make sure you write a check or use a credit card (if he accepts them) so there is a paper trail to show proof of payment. Have you checked the roofer out elsewhere? Angie's list is just one resource to use to check out a contractor. Also check for complaints with the BBB and make sure his license (if one is required in your area) is current. Ignore grades and look at actual reviews for the best idea of how well he conducts his business.

Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

Answered 7 years ago by Todd's Home Services


If a contractor ask for more than a 10% "booking" deposit, or more than $2000 on a large job, I would shy away. However, if the deposit is for materials, than I would not pay more thann 10% more than a couple of days before the materials are to be delivered to the jobsite (as opposed to weeks in advance), and make sure you get a paid-in-full receipt issued by the materials vendor (or better yet a lien release) as soon as the materials are delivered.

Better yet if the contractor will go with this, is payment for the materials upon delivery and receipt of the lien waiver/paid in full receipt.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


25% is not bad; most home repair services will request up to 50% of the payment at the time they start work, and the balance is due at the end. If the contractor is only requesting 25% is is probably because they want to know you are serious about the work, that you have the money available to finance it, and want to put that money towards material. Unlike asphalt roofs, metal roofs are VERY expensive (sometimes twice as much as the cost of a typical asphalt roof!). Professionally speaking, if you like the contractor and trust them, you are doing great with only 25% down.

Answered 7 years ago by Guest_96341501


Deposits are very common in the construction industry. Since most roofs are over $10,000 giving someone $2500 to start and complete the project is acceptable. You may request that you give a $500 deposit to make your contract a legal binding contract and the other $2000 when the materials are delivered. Just so you know in some state your contract is not legal without a deposit and waiting period of 5 to 7 days allowing the consumer to cancel without canelation fees. Also check to see if you are required on the contract to cancel with certified mail. Some shady contractors will put that in the contract you don't read the fine print then they sue you because you didn't honor your contract.

Best of Luck with your project

Richard Jeziorski

Liberty Roofing & Siding Inc

Answered 6 years ago by LibertyRoofing


I am NOT by any means implying that Richard at LibertyRoofing does this, but he made an excellent point. Many contractors these days require a deposit up front, maybe even something nominal like $100 or $200 - enough to make it a "deposit" or initial payment rather than an obvious sham like $1 - then refuse to start work in any way until the homeowner statutory cancellation option period has gone by, effectively removing that protection from the homeowner. However, it does make some sense for the contractor too, because if he starts any work or preparation in that time frame, then it will be incumbent on him prove damages and to sue the homeowner for reimbursement of his expenses to date if the homeowner cancels - and most contrartors do not keep tight timesheets and overhead records on their own time, which is the dominant "expense" in the start of a job.

This is the same sort of legalese game that car dealerships play with statutory lemon laws that say you have so many days to return a car after you buy it - they hold the car for "dealer prep" for that many days after the sales contract is signed and money turned over, so the car is legally yours during that time but you cannot drive it to decide it is a lemon and want to take it back.

There is a Newton's Law (First Law, as I recall) that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, there is also a corollary to the effect that for every citizen or consumer protection law passed, there are a hundred attorneys or crooks out there who have already figured out a way to get around it before it takes effect.

For ANY payment or deposit, make it by credit card if possible because you have a LOT more (Federal) consumer protection rights, or at least by check AND MAKE A COPY OF THE CHECK before presenting it, AND get a receipt signed by the contractor ! And ALWAYS make checks out to the company name, never cash or the individual's name. Even if it is Joe's Mowing, do not make it out to Joe - make it to Tow's Mowing.

Another good idea in these times is to take jobsite photos before, during and after the work is done, and include in the photos, just by hapchance, photos of all the workers on the jobsite so if something comes up missing or there is fraud, at least you might have photos to present to the police that can be matched to who might have committed the crime. This may sound crass, but while the crooks out there are a small percentageof the population, it still makes for a large number overall, and remember in most cases you know less about a contractor then about the neighbor a house or two down the street - and that is usually VERY little. Also, contractors, especially seasonal ones like lawn care and house painting and such, tend to hire short-term help a lot - and many crooks like to move around to avoid being pickup up after commiting crimes - either as an employee or as a shyster "contractor". That is one reason picking only locally established contractors with a long-term good reputation is about your best protection against fraud and incompetence.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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