Paying 50% Up Front

(26 Posts)
LizzyELane Fri 14-Aug-20 15:24:09

I'm trying to get my leaking shower mended, plus several cosmetic updates to my bathroom. Have had quotes from two plumbers that seem quite high but they have registered companies and seem to have good reputations according to the local FB neighbours group. Another workman who I also found on the same group is a general builder/carpenter looking to branch out into plumbing (which he says he's also qualified in) to build his portfolio. No registered company that I can find on the internet, no advertising, etc, says he's building his reputation by word of mouth. He's asked for a 50% deposit before starting to cover materials - this would be around £1500 up front. (The other two plumbers just want payment within 7 days of completing the work.) I feel really bad as he's put a lot more effort into carefully itemising the quote for me and is also at present trying to quote for my kitchen which is being obstructed by suppliers, but I'm getting big alarm bells ringing about handing over this deposit. I just want to pay when I'm happy with the completed work. I've never been asked to pay anything up front before. Had a new boiler fitted for £2500 a few years ago and definitely wasn't asked to pay for the boiler first! Anyone else been asked to pay up front like this?

OP’s posts: |
Dinosauraddict Fri 14-Aug-20 15:36:40

I've done a lot of house renovations over the past couple years and there were a few who required 50% upfront. A mixture of smaller ones with limited cash flow and large national companies that make you pay to secure fitting dates.

themummyway Fri 14-Aug-20 16:14:22

OP @LizzyELane I was in a very similar position to you last week.

Never ignore your gut - don't hand over 50% upfront.

Explain that you're keen to work with him but not if that means paying 50% upfront. You're happy to either:

a) buy and supply the materials yourself and pay weekly in line with completion of works

b) pay 10% and the rest weekly upon completion of works

If he says no to that, I'd steer clear.
Both options are perfectly reasonable so there's no excuse for him not accepting either.

I ended up going with the guy who wanted a 5% deposit and then payment spread weekly over the duration that the works

themummyway Fri 14-Aug-20 16:17:15

To add a bit of context, I'm undergoing a large reno atm - the cost of my works is c. 50k.

Also, one of the lovely tradesmen I met (but didn't go with in the end) also advised against 50% upfront. He explained that he runs at a 5k minimum loss most weeks but would never dream of asking for 50% upfront to cover that.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Fri 14-Aug-20 16:18:49

Nope! If I’ve ever had to buy materials before a job starts I deal with the supplier, pay and have it delivered to my add, I may just use the builders/ workman’s discount.
Actually did this yesterday with topps tiles.

LizzyELane Fri 14-Aug-20 17:26:17

Thanks everyone, all very helpful advice. @themummyway this is really useful information I will store away for the future if this crops up again, thank you😁, but in this case having zero evidence of his workmanship or reputation is putting me off. Although I've also had my fingers burnt before with tradespeople having tons of good reviews and not doing a reasonable job. I had one builder repair a kitchen door that was hanging off, next day it was hanging off again. When I refused to pay until he rectified it he harassed me for money by texting/ringing at least ten times a day. The floor he laid shifted after about six months. I paid him but the door is still hanging off three years later....I'd give my right arm to have a carpenter/plumber/builder in the family!

OP’s posts: |
roses2 Fri 14-Aug-20 17:52:19

I've only paid any form of money upfront if they give me an invoice and I can see they are a registered company with no ccjs.

Tell him you'll buy the materials yourself and ask what he needs.

Advertisement

Snowman123 Fri 14-Aug-20 18:53:57

No decent trademan will ask for cash upfront.

Please do not use this man.

Basillify Fri 14-Aug-20 19:42:00

Just been through this with my sister getting work done. It's apparently the result of Covid - loads of tradesmen haven't worked throughout so don't have a cash reserve or much of a pipeline. There's apparently also a shortage of materials so it means they often can't get materials from usual suppliers where they have credit accounts and they're having to get them elsewhere at a higher price with payment upfront.

I would absolutely be nervous about handing cash over before work is finished, as was my sister, but builders are all telling her it's because of Covid and they can't afford to operate otherwise. She really struggled to find someone to take payment on completion. She ended up agreeing to pay enough upfront for materials and a bit of labour then in stages as work progressed. Balance of risk I suppose depending on how much you need to pay out, ultimately she felt she wanted the work and didn't have much choice.

Needless to say, work complete without a hitch so it worked out ok. I'd have been anxious until the very last of the work was complete though.

themummyway Fri 14-Aug-20 22:45:31

Paying a little bit upfront - cool.

Paying 50% upfront? No way

To add to my previous comment - I've not actually paid the guys that started this week yet!
They've not asked, so I've not brought it up. Ofc I will when they do but until such time, they can carry on working

karmasic Fri 14-Aug-20 23:31:36

OnlyFoolsnMothers

Nope! If I’ve ever had to buy materials before a job starts I deal with the supplier, pay and have it delivered to my add, I may just use the builders/ workman’s discount.
Actually did this yesterday with topps tiles.


@OnlyFoolsnMothers can I be cheeky and ask how you used the builders discount if you were ordering the tiles direct?

OnlyFoolsnMothers Fri 14-Aug-20 23:41:49

Sure when I got to topps tiles I said can I link it to our builders acc- gave his registered add to pull up the details, paid on my card and saved 10%.

With other workmen they have accompanied us to certain material shops and we’ve again paid on our card and given our delivery add or driven off with the stuff.

R1R2 Sat 15-Aug-20 00:02:24

Snowman123

No decent trademan will ask for cash upfront.

Please do not use this man.

Stop spreading misinformation, why do you think trades should be your personal credit account, how about they start credit checking you first?

Standard advise always get a contract and if you need to pay a deposit make sure its invoiced for and the payment is traceable and preferably by credit card so your fully protected.

species5618 Sat 15-Aug-20 00:48:41

50% seems a bit steep to be honest. Perhaps 20% to get the work started.

We opened an account at the local builders merchant and paid monthly. We were building an extension, and obviously needed a lot of stuff so managed to negotiate a 15% discount. Our builder just put everything on the account so we could see exactly what we were buying. The builder was paid monthly.

karmasic Sat 15-Aug-20 15:04:12

Thanks @OnlyFoolsnMothers and sorry for the thread intrusion op

LizzyELane Sat 15-Aug-20 15:55:56

No problem @karmasic. All interesting information, this home improvement stuff is quite new to me as my dad used to do most things.

OP’s posts: |
Snowman123 Fri 28-Aug-20 10:16:03

R1R2
It's not misinformation.
It's a small job, there should be no cash required upfront.
Successful tradesmen will have credit accounts with suppliers and their customers will pay promptly because they are happy with the work completed. If they can't manage their business I don't want them managing work in my house.

I've had heaps of work done recently by good recommended tradesman and cash was never asked for upfront.

Contracts and staged payments based on completion milestones are fine for bigger jobs.

senua Fri 28-Aug-20 10:43:48

Just been through this with my sister getting work done. It's apparently the result of Covid - loads of tradesmen haven't worked throughout so don't have a cash reserve or much of a pipeline ... builders are all telling her it's because of Covid and they can't afford to operate otherwise.
This must be true because builders never lie.
grin

combatbarbie Fri 28-Aug-20 10:51:26

Sorry going against the grain here, my husband is Ltd self employed and if its a big job he has to ask for materials upfront, he doesn't have the cash flow to do otherwise. He is more than happy if customers want to get the materials, he gives him the basket on whatever trader he is using and they pay.

Likewise his reputation is word of mouth but does have social media and a website and listed on check a trade etc. Bigger companies have cash flow, smaller ones don't, so please bear that in mind. Especially if you get a general more personalised feeling in terms of what you want from him to do.

combatbarbie Fri 28-Aug-20 10:55:45

@Snowman123 my husband has many trade accounts but he's not going to get his company into debt if a customer decides not to pay. For smaller businesses and the way we are supposed to support them this is key information. With your attitude my husband would quote you way above the estimate so as not to work for people like you.

AssamorEarlGrey Fri 28-Aug-20 11:36:48

With your attitude my husband would quote you way above the estimate so as not to work for people like you

Couldn't he just say he's too busy to take on the work?

combatbarbie Fri 28-Aug-20 11:37:55

And just a thought OP, if it's not a full refurb and is just a day or twos work.... The fact you've said the other 2 are registered but their quotes are high.... I would read this as they don't really want the job but are being polite. It's standard..... But if you take one of them you will still pay above what the job is worth as they are a small job worth their time.

combatbarbie Fri 28-Aug-20 11:41:42

@AssamorEarlGrey if he has been and quoted he will have already have negotiated a possible date to fit in with other jobs before sending the quote. With small businesses he can't outright say, I do not want to work for a pompous twat, because they can leave that review on checkatrade and he can't do anything about it.

R1R2 Fri 28-Aug-20 21:46:26

Snowman123

R1R2
It's not misinformation.
It's a small job, there should be no cash required upfront.
Successful tradesmen will have credit accounts with suppliers and their customers will pay promptly because they are happy with the work completed. If they can't manage their business I don't want them managing work in my house.

I've had heaps of work done recently by good recommended tradesman and cash was never asked for upfront.

Contracts and staged payments based on completion milestones are fine for bigger jobs.

Yes they have credit accounts for them not you if they choose to allow you to pay after the fact thats up to them. its nothing to do with not being able to manage their business its about limiting risk and unfortunately there are an increasing number of people who look for any or no reason not to pay. I'd turn down a job for anyone who refused a deposit especially since we always ensure the customer is protected. But please keep spreading the delusion that good trades don't take deposits.

Snowman123 Sat 29-Aug-20 21:58:39

Combatbarbie
I have no shortage of good tradesman who don't ask for cash upfront so I wouldn't need to approach anyone dodgy who needs cash upfront for a small job or overprices jobs because people won't pay upfront.

I always pay cash on completion.

Pal of mine is stuck at the moment with a half completed job to a joiner she paid for materials upfront. Guy was absolutely useless and didn't complete the job so my views are based on my personal experiences.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in