Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
G

·
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My contractor collected 50% deposit for a job. Is this even legal? I ask now b/c in 3 weeks he did 2 days worth of work and we fired him. Wondering what the laws are??

Can anyone help?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,573 Posts
I see no reason why it's not legal, depending on your area. I know california allows $1000 or something like that.

Why'd you fire your contractor other than him being slow? Was the weather poor? Were his subs behind on schedule? What was his reason for doing on two days work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,265 Posts
Unregistered said:
in 3 weeks he did 2 days worth of work and we fired him.
I'd love to know more specifics about your experience so I can better avoid this type of problem myself. As to your concern-
If a specific duration period, or completion date, for the work was important to you then your contract should have expressed that. Phrases like "time is of the essence" are often used as a sort of catch-all to convey the idea that work has to be prosecuted diligently and in a timely manner. If, like most people, you simply signed someone's standard form of proposal then I'm afraid you probably won't have much recourse when it comes to seeking recovery of damages for non-performance on the basis of what you perceive to be the contractor's "untimeliness". If your contract addresses the importance of of "timeliness" then you shouldn't have much problem getting a decent attorney to take more of your money in a protacted pursuit of the contractor in question.
Suffice it to say that once things escalate to the point where either party pulls back from an agreement then it's not easy to resolve concerns that might otherwise have been worked out. That doesn't, however, mean that it can't be done with a little creativity. Maybe a third party you both know could get involved to help settle matters or get things moving forward again.
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here in CA, the law is no more than 10% or $1,000.00 for a deposit on a contract. CA law also required start and finish dates in the contract.

Your first payment can be more if special order material is involved. For a kitchen remodel we will often have a first payment due upon approval of $1,000.00, with the second payment of $ 10,000.00 due prior to placment of cabinet order.

Any contractor asking for 50% deposit from a homeowner is suspect in my book.

Please explain what type of project this is.
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Grump,

For a service contractor doing 1 or 2 day jobs, we will pay our subs a 50% deposit. But these are guys we have working relationships with. I am sure you will find many homeowners willing as well.

Since I am in the business, if a service guy asked me for a 50% deposit, I would certainly balk. I would be more willing to offer a 10% deposit, then maybe 40% upon commencment of work. I know you are not paying for my materials until probably 30 days after you pick them up. If he insisted on a 50% deposit due to material deposits, I would probably offer a joint made payable to him and his supplier and/or ask for a copy of the order showing payment has been applied to my order.

Then again I suppose it all depends on the actual dollar amounts we are talking about here.

If the original poster would clarify the scope of work and contract amount he might get more specific answers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,407 Posts
I guess my opinion on this is that every job would have it's own seet of circumstances that would dictate how it gets played out. Garages I'll typically break up into 1/3's, but I've been burnt one too many times now doing 1/3's on specail order items like windows that I know (as every homecenter or business) require 100% down for the specail order item before I place the order.

If the gut feeling about the customer is not good, I'lll get enough to cover material and 1/2 labor. Then other jobs that are only like a week's project I'll just go ahead and do it with no money exchanged until I'm done and many are done with just a verbal agreement as I'd spend 110% of my time typing contacts for every little job we'd take care of.

So my $.02 says circumstances would dictate how the money is spread out on a job. But personally like it when homies offer the 100% balance before I even think about scheduling their job LOL, makes me feel good to turn down large sums of money....until bill time ;)
 

·
Custom Builder
Joined
·
4,406 Posts
Did a glass room up near spring lake Illinois. I told the guy the price was a little over 30,000. It was a large room around his pool. He went back to his bedroom and brought me all the money up front in cash.:eek:

He insisted on paying me all of it. That was a trip, The devil on my shoulder wanted it to be a better trip, a trip to Jamaca.:cheesygri

Turned out to be a great room. No pressure.

Bob
 

·
Deck Designer/Builder
Joined
·
2,430 Posts
Was he a "relative" of Tony Soprano?

Wow, who has $30,000 cash in their bedroom???
 

·
Professional Tradesman
Joined
·
307 Posts
Grumpy said:
I thought I was cool cause I keep a few grand in my safe for emergencies... A few grand is 3 not 30.
50% is our norm, but I like to call it a retainer rather than deposit. Your retainer gets you a scheduled date for start, orders product for your project etc...Just as you would retain your lawyer for his services I expect the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
We have not yet found the need to get 50% up front for a job.
I have to agree with GPI in the sense that a $1000 deposit is just that, a Deposit.(Retainer) There are other costs that need be paid up front before materials can be ordered and a schedule set for a project. I charge for account set-up, travel and expenses,materials needed to start ...
There is No reason a Contractor should be required to fund a project for someone regardless of how "Nice" the customer might seem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
Spec. is back on topic. I agree with him, especially about the 'nice' part. Business is business.
Generally, I get 30% plus draws but everything depends on the scope of the work, sometimes more may be justified.
I avoid the cash dudes. This might look really good upfront but most of them take it as a sealed deal and if problems arise you generally eat them.......or else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
I ask for one third of the total, (labor & materials) at the contract signing, one third once work is started and balance upon completion of all services. I used to not do this on small jobs, anything under a grand and would do these without a contract, but learned my lesson the hard way. Last spring I agreed to do a job for a lady that owned and operated a string of child daycares in the area. It was just a small tape repair and ceiling repaint in one room. Thought this was going to be the beginning of a great business relationship, since the daycare centers require fairly regular maintance, repaints, hole patches, etc. Ended up having to take them to small claims court, which I was successful in getting a judgement for the $700 plus my court expenses, but good luck collecting on a judgement in this state. They didn't even bother to show up for court and all I could do with the judgement was to file a lien on their house, since this work was done in their home, not their business. That's all well & good, but until they decide the sell the house it's doubtful that I'll ever collect. Really ticked me off, because I know people who at that time had their kids in the deadbeat's daycare and they were paying in the neighborhood of $200 per wk to these people. A little quick math, 3 locations, about 50-50 kids per site, x $200 per kid, they're grossing like $30,000 a week!! So it's not like they were short on $$ or anything.
 

·
Remodeler
Joined
·
824 Posts
I request 40% to schedule a project. Balance on a happy client. At this point I couldn't afford not to cover my expences. I long for the day when I can put up the moneys to cover a project.
 

·
Deck Designer/Builder
Joined
·
2,430 Posts
Paul, you may "long for the day when (you) can put up the moneys to cover a project." but I wouldn't advise it even if you could afford it. I find that for me the red flag goes up if people start trying to negotiate a lower deposit. I stand firm at my 30% down, 30% upon delivery of materials and 40% due upon completion. If they try to nickel and dime you from the start, they'll likely give you a hard time paying the final bill - IMHO anyway.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top