When do I pay my builder?

Q: My builder wants me to pay him up front, is this a good idea? To be fair he does have to buy materials but I'm nervous about being ripped off or being put at the bottom of his priorities because he has already been paid.


No, if you give someone cash up front they can run off and you could never see them again which is always a possibility. At least wait until they’ve got scaffold up or are on site and ordered some materials before you release any money. What you really want to do is organise a payment schedule so that you pay him in instalments as the work progresses. This ensures that there are no disputes about when they are going to get paid and how much. A competent builder doesn’t need a deposit.

Even if he needs to buy materials there is no reason why you should pay up before any work has been done. A good builder who has been around for a long time will have strong accounts with regular companies; they can buy things on account and pay it after 30 days or 60 days.


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