A contractor wanting an upfront payment is understandable. It proves you have the money to pay for their services and gives everyone involved more peace of mind. However, an upfront payment has a limit, and if a contractor is wanting more than 50%, that’s a little unreasonable.
If your contractor seems competent, but is charging you too much upfront, you can talk them down. Here are seven things you can say.
1. “I’ve had bad experiences, so sorry that I’m a little cautious.”
A contractor may be charging you more upfront because they have had bad experiences with clients who paid a deposit, then didn’t pay the rest. It’s important that you mention your own bad experiences in regards to paying upfront, and make sure you provide evidence that this did happen to you. A contractor may be a little more lenient because of this.
2. “This upfront payment is way past the state’s legal limit.”
If you call them out for breaking the law, the contractor may sing an entirely different tune. Many states have a limit to what a contractor can charge for a deposit. Some states have it at 10%, while others may have a higher limit, but your contractor is charging more. Definitely do your research before saying this, as this is a state law thing.
3. “I’ll be open to paying more upfront in the future if I’m satisfied with your work.”
By pointing out that you’re a new client and you’re taking some precautions, a contractor may be lenient, especially if you promise more in the future. Some may not charge you more once you prove you can pay.
4. “My loan doesn’t allow this. They only give me money based on progress.”
Some loans are like this, and explaining your financial situation to your contractor may make them a little more lenient on your end. With that said, bending the truth a little to protect yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
5. “This contractor doesn’t charge that much.”
Do a little research on rival contractors, and if their upfront payments aren’t that much, point that out. If a contractor is competitive like they should be, they’ll be glad to lower their rates to compete with others in the area.
6. “I’ll leave a bad review.”
Threatening a contractor with a bad review seems a little childish, but a contractor doesn’t want to be put on a bad contractor list or have any bad contractor reviews on their profile. Threatening a 1-star rating can help the contractor change their mind about their upfront payment, especially if it wasn’t what was promised.
7. “I’ll Take My Business Somewhere Else.”
If none of the above works, sometimes it’s best that you take your business somewhere else. Don’t be pressured into paying more than what was expected. Bad contractors who do a bad job at what they do will rip you off, while an honest one is willing to negotiate.
Protecting yourself against bad handyman work and having proper homeowner protection is important, but so is not paying more than you need.