Up front money

Do you require up front money on deck jobs?

  • Always

    Votes: 8 16.7%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • Only on big jobs

    Votes: 8 16.7%
  • Never

    Votes: 29 60.4%

  • Total voters

Mike Hughes

New Member
In another thread, it was mentioned about requiring percentages up front.

My take on this, is that I dont charge them anything until I have done something for them. I require 50% at time of cleaning, and the rest at completion..........and I don't complain if they don't pay right away...........I have never really had much trouble with this policy.

What made me bring this up, is I just finished the most expensive deck job I have done to date........$2485. When the customer made the final payment, he gave me my competitors bid to look at, the bid was very close in price.........however, the competitor requires 50% down before the job starts...........this man was in business, and doesn't like to do business that way. This was a major factor of why I got the job.

So, my policy really worked to my advantage in this case, and so what if every now and then it doesn't..............

Clean County

New Member
Congrats on nailing that deck job.

I am doing a two tone deck next week(I hate these jobs but can't pass up the money) which will net me at least $1500 without counting the materials.

What I do is take some money after I powerwash to then use towards materials. Then I go back to complete the job and get the rest of the money owed at this point. I never had a problem as of yet(7yrs) collecting the money owed except a couple of times when the homeowner went out before paying me which just means I will get paid soon after.

So to me I never collect upfront money and I think my customers appreciate that.


New Member

Your right on the mark,mike. If you ask for $$ before you even start, people think your some kind of flim flam. Money 1/2 way threw is a good way to make sure you dont get stiffed on materials, even if something should happen.


New Member
I have had several customers ask if they should mail me my requested deposit. I tell them I will not take deposits ahead of time. I will accept them only on the day I start their job. If the customer will not be home, then I ask them to put in under their door mat in a zip lock baggie. The customer and I are the only ones who know it's there. I request 25% upon the day I start and the balance on the day I complete the project. I have had one of my customers mail me a deposit 2 months before I started. I called them immediately and told them that I will not deposit the "check" until the day I start. This turned out to be one of my best customers.


Greg Rentschler

New Member
We normally take 20% down with balance due on completion. If they back out of our schedule we keep the deposit. However this year I've only been taking them on jobs over a grand. On larger projects ($7000+) we use a draw schedule of 30/30/40. I think the biggest one we've done to date was around $22,000 (log home in & out)

Greg Rentschler
TimberSeal, Inc


New Member
I only take down money when it comes to log homes,as much as %30 down on the day i start,i only take it after i show them some progress,therefore prooving i am capable of accomplishing the job,thats usually end of first day.In certain cases i would take money before i start,but havent had to do that yet.

Warren Smathers

New Member
We use a 30/30/40 draw only on large projects to help cover the cost of materials. For example, we do some large concrete coating jobs. One five gallon bucket of the coating is $757. As you can see, if you had to front that money it could really cause a cash flow issue.

Deck Works

New Member
I take 25% down no matter what before I start any job unless it is a previous customer for a maintenance job....then I don't bill til I complete the job.


New Member
We also take 25% before we start but on jobs over $1000.00, does everyone make customers sign contracts ?? Our biggest job so far was $5100.00 but we have had a few of them.


New Member
We ask for 1/3 down at the time we schedule the work, with the balance upon completion. We average no more than 3 jobs per season where the customer doesn't want to put down a deposit. In those few cases, we accept payment of the deposit amount when we do the washing.

If we are doing maintenance for an existing customer, we don't ask for any deposit.

If someone backs out, for any reason, we do refund the deposit to maintain goodwill. We believe that a customer feels committed to go through with any job they have a deposit on, though. On the other hand (before we accepted deposits) we experienced customers calling other contractors hoping for a lower price even after they have given us the "go-ahead". Since we don't require formal contracts, we needed some way to make the customer feel committed.

JR Wood

New Member
"Payment due upon satisfactory completion of services"
On big jobs $1500 + I will get 1/3 after cleaning and prep.
This has landed many, many jobs. I am confident in my work and have only been stiffed once in 7 years.


New Member
TCRSJUAN In my seven years of business I have never asked for money up front. I think this helps me do a job to the maximal of the customer satisfaction. Never have i had a costomer not pay me or not satisfy. I know it will happen one of this good days when a customer will not want to pay. But for now I am giving them a piece of mind, that I know how to do the job as a professional.

Tim Lynch

New Member
After ten years now of just Deck Refinishing I allways do all my jobs by a hand shake, and payment is due after the job is done. by Check in the mail 90% of the time. Unless the customer is home.

I have never been taken as for reschedlues or cancellations I get them once and a while. But I am allways 2 to 3 months deep in my calendar so finding someone to replace is simple.

Now I just need to get my winter months the sameway with gutter cleaning. :)


Roy Moren

New Member

I have all my customers sign a contract but I never get a deposit up front. I do mostly decks and docks for people who have the cash or they wouldn't be living on the water. I have never been stiffed,but there is always a first time.

I have been doing this as a part time business for about ten years. My other job is a cop and most everyone knows that.

I have been away from this ( I guess) board for a year or so, but remember most all of you. I also had major computer problem and had to reregister to all the boards

Roy Moren
Deck and Dock Restrorations
Odessa, Florida

Dale Walkowsk

New Member
Boy, after reading all this posts, do I ever feel like a hard-nose, I Always get a signed contract for any job and 25% down on jobs over $1000. For repeat customers I'm not so concerned about the down stroke, but I still go over the contract and we both sign it.

Roy, what do you use for finishes over water?..how about cleaners? How do you deal with a finish that needs to be stripped off? Just curious. Thanks, Dale

Chuck Richard

New Member
I never get up front money even when its offered. The way some people take forever to pay makes me wish i had. Cash flow will make u and break u.

Deck Works

New Member
I had a lady swindle me out of $185....attempted several times to collect and finally out of principle of the matter installed a mechnics lien on her house. She paid 8months later when she was trying to refinance her house.

I probably lost $ putting the lien on but like I said it was principle of the matter.


New Member
Never took down payment before started to do this year I wish I would of done it before. Always have had a contract. Just like to add if they want there deposit back they have to have a good reason like lost there job, not my husband decided to do it himself.


Our Sponsors