Do I have to give a down payment to a contractor before the work

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Do I have to give a down payment to a contractor before the work starts?
  8 answers
  • Dena Dena on Feb 22, 2015
    If the contractor request a down payment, It should be in a contract that states that the money you are giving him as a down payment , goes towards the final bill , which is also in the contract. Make sure it also says, remainder of money due when job is completed. In a time frame as well. ( completed means to you liking the job that you hired him for.) Hope this helped
  • Shari Shari on Feb 22, 2015
    Yes, where I live, it is customary for most contractors to ask for a percentage (up to 50%) of the job's total cost up front and then the remainder is paid when the job is complete. Sometimes they use that deposit money to buy the materials needed for your job. No decent, honest, reliable contractor will ask you to pay the entire amount up front, or the remaining balance before the job is done and completed to your satisfaction. However, if they ask or pressure you to pay the full amount before the job is finished, DO NOT do it because, once the contractor has his money, there is absolutely no incentive for him to return to fix things he didn't finish or you are not happy with. It is best to discuss all expectations and money BEFORE any money changes hands or work begins, and as Dena said, have it all in writing so there can be no misunderstandings.
  • Becky roberts Becky roberts on Feb 22, 2015
    Not always, we did not have to get our house painted. we paid half after the prep work had begun.
  • Eleanor Mcnealley-cain Eleanor Mcnealley-cain on Feb 22, 2015
    NO!!!! I had 2 screens, that needed repair & 1 that needed replacement. while I went to get the screens, he took off 2 in my front!! with out my O.K. Then I got a call asking for $200.00 to fix the screens, I gave in, Then said no!! Then they ask for 125.00 needed to fix them, I said NO!! bring them back. When they did, I now need 5 screens!!!!
  • Melinda Lockwood Melinda Lockwood on Feb 22, 2015
    Generally, you give 1/3 down at the beginning of the project and the remainder when the job is completed. Most contractors need to buy materials and the 1/3 down helps with that. Also, they are in business and need to get paid just as everyone else does.
  • Debbie Debbie on Feb 22, 2015
    It is legal to ask for a down payment. Just put it in writing or the contract.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 23, 2015
    My question is this: Do you get paid for work you haven't done? Being in business doesn't mean you don't expect to get paid, but not for work you haven't done. 50% down? I would drop this contractor like a hot potato. Maybe a graduated payment schedule as work progresses, but this much up front would make me very suspicious. Pay with Visa so if there is any nonsense, you can complain and file a complaint. Had movers who billed me twice - Visa just reversed the second charge they made.
  • Judy Judy on Feb 23, 2015
    My husband has been a heating/air conditioning contractor for 38 years. For years we did not require a down payment. Unfortunately, people now do not seem to be as reliable. After not being paid for 2 jobs (over $6000.00); we now require 1/3 down on acceptance of bid for installation of new equipment. We give a written bid detailing the work we will do, brand, model, size of equipment to be installed date of completion, any job site clean up we will do, etc.. If a job cannot be completed at time of installation, i.e. we install a furnace now but the a/c cannot be charged and started before spring; we state a hold back on the total that is to be paid at final start up. This is usually 10% of the total. We do not do construction installs now but most building contractors require 1/3 on acceptance, 1/3 at a specified point in the construction, and full payment on completion. Be sure you have a local business with a good reputation. Ask for references, we give them. Get everything in writing. Question anything you do not understand and get multiple bids if it is a large job. Any repair work we do is paid at time of completion. BTW, in our case we maintain an "escrow" type of bank account. Deposits go into this account and are not withdrawn until the date stated in the contract.