The Scoop on Paying the Contractor

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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When to pay the contractor? It’s a common question. Many remodeling contractors want you to put 30 percent down on a project. Should you? No, that’s too much.

Getting in the Contractor’s Business

My philosophy is that a remodeling contractor is running a business and should have enough credit to buy materials and pay subcontractors to get the work started. Putting down 10 to 15 percent on a bigger project is fine. Angie’s List readers recommend not paying the contractor ahead of the remodeling being done.

According to resources on Citi-Data.com, pay in segments after sections are completed. And, don’t pay a contractor in cash–no way to track it.

Contractor Bids–Confusing at Best!

And, while you’re at it, what about those contractor bids? If the details can fit on the back of a napkin, tell the contractor to try again. An article on Ask the Builder recommends making sure you have all the details from a contractor, down to who will be working at your home and what type of toilet they will install.

Avoiding the Bad Contractors

We once had a home improvement contractor remove trim to install drywall…then tell us we had to pay another $2,000 for him to reinstall the trim. Umm….silly us. We thought that was part of the contract. Why would we hire someone to remove the trim without knowing he would put it back on?

Our contractor was a bad egg, but some situations are just caused by miscommunication. Before you commit to a home improvement project, go through the details with the contractor.

If a remodeling contractor asks for 30 percent down, don’t assume he’s a “bad” contractor. Simply ask why he needs that much money up front. Doesn’t he have credit with his suppliers? Explain your position–you don’t want to be left hanging if workers don’t show up. The contractor’s reaction should tell you all you need to know about how he does business.

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