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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently working on a large remodeling project, that will be suspended for the winter due to a combination of schedule (both hers and mine) and deteriorating weather.

My client is requesting her deposit to be returned until we start back up.

I told her that her deposit is the only thing that keeps the job "real" and on the schedule.

Typically I apply the deposit to the first progress payment. For whatever reason that did not happen. This has been far from a typical job, and she has been far from a typical client.

Should I give the deposit back, and continue scheduling work ahead of her, waiting to get it back and put her back in the schedule come spring? Or not worry about the deposit anymore, and keep her on the schedule?

I think I will add a clause to my contract stating the deposit is non-refundable.


Thanks
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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I would return it and treat her like a new client once she returns.

If there is a strain in the relationship this early in the process.... be careful.
 

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There isn't nearly enough detail to answer this question.
 
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Talking Head
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How much money/time are we talking about? If she wants it to spend then you might be in trouble but if she just doesn't feel comfortable with the money hanging out there for so long then putting it in escrow would be a smart compromise.
 

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You said it yourself, you usually apply the deposit to the first draw. Basically she has overpaid you and doesn't want you to hold her cash.

Would you want to pay a sub/vendor early for work they are going to do in a few months?
 

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With us, deposits are generally for material. From then, the payouts are for the labor.
If materials are special order and already ordered, then, No, I would not return.
If material is not special order and they will be purchased when things start up later, then Yes, return.

For the most part you are only entitled to what you 'already have in the job'

If she gets someone else later,....then it is what it is.
 

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Seeing you already started the project it's your money as much as it's hers.
Have to agree with Eathan and say put it in escrow.
 

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Seem to be arguments on both sides......

But bottom line, whatever you do, make sure you spell out all parties obligations/responsibilities coincident with your agreement and of course relate it to your original contract as an addendum.....or a mutual termination of the original contract and start fresh....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The project has been going for a year almost. We started last Oct. doing interior work, moving walls, drywall, painting, etc. When it got warm enough, we moved outside to give her a chance to do some tiling and such that she want to do.

We did decks, roof, siding through out the spring and summer. A couple things left to do outside are weather dependent like re-staining the siding that was not replaced.

We have not worked there full time, and she is fine with that, as long as we finish what we start.

I had to pull off for a while for some other projects and won't be back till the first of the year probably. Which is fine because the tiling is still not done :laughing:

We're only talking about 2 grand, and she wants to use it for other stuff. Problem is so did I...:whistling

I feel like I should return it to her, and wait to see what happens. At the rate I'm booking work (3 houses deep and counting), if the money is not there next year, then I may not ever have to go back :clap:
 

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Sounds like you want to be rid of her. Give her back the money and tell her she goes to the back of the line. It's 2 grand, hopefully you have more working capital than that
 

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The project has been going for a year almost. We started last Oct. doing interior work, moving walls, drywall, painting, etc. When it got warm enough, we moved outside to give her a chance to do some tiling and such that she want to do.

We did decks, roof, siding through out the spring and summer. A couple things left to do outside are weather dependent like re-staining the siding that was not replaced.

We have not worked there full time, and she is fine with that, as long as we finish what we start.

I had to pull off for a while for some other projects and won't be back till the first of the year probably. Which is fine because the tiling is still not done :laughing:

We're only talking about 2 grand, and she wants to use it for other stuff. Problem is so did I...:whistling

I feel like I should return it to her, and wait to see what happens. At the rate I'm booking work (3 houses deep and counting), if the money is not there next year, then I may not ever have to go back :clap:
Why?

You have a contract and a payment schedule. Follow the terms and use the money as you will.

I will credit the customer, if a customer purchased something or the credit is due... Other then that, the minute money goes in my pocket nothing is coming back out, unless the terms of my contract specify it should.

With that said, the deposit is never refundable unless, they cancel the contract within 3 days as it specifies in the contract. That is the law.
 

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Is this the deposit from the start of the job, or a deposit on a new scope of work you haven't started yet? If you haven't done any work or ordered the materials, it should go back. If it is from the start of the job, then it is long gone.

If you have been working on the job for a year, you should be owed the money for the last work order you did. Any other way and you are in the hole. If she takes the new deposit back, then she goes to the end of the line. Let her know that. If you have already spent the money, then you may need to work something out where you deliver the materials and she is at the front of the line next year.

I am a bit confused as to what the deposit was for?
 

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If you haven't done any work or ordered the materials, it should go back.
Sorry Bro, but you wrong about this. Every customer has 3 days to change her mind and get full refund. That is the law and that should be on the contract.
Being that in the contract, you don't order material and you don't do anything until the 3 days is up... unless she signs a waver, that she read and understand the 3 days law clause and she wants you to start work right away, then you order the materials and go forward. I always make them sign a waver if they want to start right away.

If 3 days is up and you haven't heard anything, you don't have to give anything back, because you have a contract and you have the right to make your anticipated profit from this job....and they will owe you more then a deposit you already have if they breach the contract. It's a proven fact and any lawyer will tell you that.

Same way you would take a loss, if you order material for that job and within 3 days she tells you I change my mind... you have to give her everything back and if you out any money for material or placed special order and cannot cancel, you cannot keep anything from the down payment to make it up for your loss. That is the law (at least here it is).
 

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greg24k said:
Sorry Bro, but you wrong about this. Every customer has 3 days to change her mind and get full refund. That is the law and that should be on the contract.
Being that in the contract, you don't order material and you don't do anything until the 3 days is up... unless she signs a waver, that she read and understand the 3 days law clause and she wants you to start work right away, then you order the materials and go forward. I always make them sign a waver if they want to start right away.

If 3 days is up and you haven't heard anything, you don't have to give anything back, because you have a contract and you have the right to make your anticipated profit from this job....and they will owe you more then a deposit you already have if they breach the contract. It's a proven fact and any lawyer will tell you that.

Same way you would take a loss, if you order material for that job and within 3 days she tells you I change my mind... you have to give her everything back and if you out any money for material or placed special order and cannot cancel, you cannot keep anything from the down payment to make it up for your loss. That is the law (at least here it is).
That may be the law but it would prob do you far more damage fighting it than just giving it back and booking in another client. I get what your saying though and this really should be made clear to all customers so they don't think about messing you around in the first place.
 

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That may be the law but it would prob do you far more damage fighting it than just giving it back and booking in another client. I get what your saying though and this really should be made clear to all customers so they don't think about messing you around in the first place.
greg24k is right on the law, however we all make choices of when to take a hard line on the law compared to some flexibility with an existing customer.
Sounds like the OP doesn't have the deposit any longer, money was spent for another job or other items.
 

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That may be the law but it would prob do you far more damage fighting it than just giving it back and booking in another client. I get what your saying though and this really should be made clear to all customers so they don't think about messing you around in the first place.
BC, I never had a problem and there is really no fighting about it, not on our part anyway, unless people want to fight for it, they will lose more.

We run a business not a charity events, and we have to make money, and when we have a signed contract which includes clause we're required to have in there by law, we're entitled to make profit according to that contract, same as we're responsible to deliver everything we say that we will do in that contract.

It's business, and the only thing can hurt us is not make money we're entitled to make, because every time I start my truck in the morning, its costing me money, if I spent 2-3 days with that customer, and I do leg work to provide a proposal, no matter how you looking at, you out at least $100...The bigger the job the more leg work you do, the more money it cost us. If we start giving money back on signed contracts, we will go broke in no time.
 

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Sorry Bro, but you wrong about this. Every customer has 3 days to change her mind and get full refund. That is the law and that should be on the contract.
Being that in the contract, you don't order material and you don't do anything until the 3 days is up... unless she signs a waver, that she read and understand the 3 days law clause and she wants you to start work right away, then you order the materials and go forward. I always make them sign a waver if they want to start right away.

If 3 days is up and you haven't heard anything, you don't have to give anything back, because you have a contract and you have the right to make your anticipated profit from this job....and they will owe you more then a deposit you already have if they breach the contract. It's a proven fact and any lawyer will tell you that.

Same way you would take a loss, if you order material for that job and within 3 days she tells you I change my mind... you have to give her everything back and if you out any money for material or placed special order and cannot cancel, you cannot keep anything from the down payment to make it up for your loss. That is the law (at least here it is).
This is partially true. While they have three days to change their mind, you don't have the right to keep all of their money. You can only keep that which cannot be returned and any time spent on the contract (purchasing and planning count). You cannot keep the entire deposit. You cannot keep money on work that you have not completed.
 
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