Question about paying a contractor

I'm going to hire someone to do some drywall in my house. I've had one estimate so far and plan to have another done. The first estimate was for $900, and the guy wants half up front and half at the end of the job. Is that a standard way of paying or should I only pay for materials up front?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It's a pretty standard way of doing business. Check his reputation/references to satisfy yourself that he's capable of doing the work and that he's honest. Remember, he has to worry about whether you're going to pay as much as you're worrying about getting the job done.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Art is right on both counts. Tom Baker
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The greater a person wants down the greater his fear of not getting paid for either being new or doing bad work. 50% down is to much. Go for no more than 30 % - when the job is started. Ive only been conned by high down payment guys. the 50 % ers
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In many places, the amount to be paid up front is limited by law. In Maryland, only 1/3 of the total can be paid before work begins.
The drywall company that I use wants 1/3 up front, and nothing else until the job was complete. Even then, they don't ask for final payment until 2 days after the work is complete and I've had a chance to inspect it.
Some small-job, independent drywall hangers work live essentially week-to-week, so it's understandable that they want the materials cost up front, especially if they are giving you a good price. On the other hand, if you are using a large drywall contractor, you shouldn't need to pay them more than about 25% up front, unless they have some valid reason to require more (for example, if you have bad credit).
For drywall work, the cost of materials is usually a small portion of the total cost of the job, typically 10% to 30% of the total cost. If the worker is insisting on payment up front, then work out a payment schedule with him.
It normally takes 4 to 5 trips (over 4 to 5 days) to do a drywall job, although for a small job, the finishers might use a quick-dry joint compound that hastens the process considerably, making it into a 1 to 2 day job. Here's an example of a payment schedule that I'd consider fair:
25% up front (to cover materials) 15% after drywall is hung 10% after taping and first mudding (might be done the same day as hanging, depending on the size of the job) 0% after second mudding 25% after finish mudding 25% after sanding (job is now done)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
we had a guy do the drywall joints for us
we paid him 200$ (canadian) upfront for the materials then paid him at the end of each week for the work he did during the week.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
For a $900 job, I wouldn't be willing to pay anything up front. Any contractor who is stable is not going to need you to front him the money for the materials for a $900 drywall job. Once you pay the contractor $450 up front, he has no incentive to do the work or even to buy the materials. He already has his money. Instead, he can string you along, promise to get to it next week, then the week after that, etc.
Okay, so let's say it's a very small contractor and he can't afford to buy the materials using his own money, and you want to give him a chance. Tell him to place the order for materials in your name at his local supplier, then you go to the supplier and pay for the materials in your name, and have the materials delivered by the supplier directly to your home. Then you own what you bought, and if the guy doesn't show up to do the work, you can have someone else do the job using the materials you already own.
Another option is to arrange with the contractor that you will pay him for the materials when he shows up with them to do the job. Then pay him progress payments toward the total as he completes the job, and make the final payment to him immediately when the job is done.
Again, if the guy can't afford to even pay for the materials up front, he is working way to close to the edge of bankruptcy for you to be dealing with him.
And, what about the concern that a contractor might express about not being paid by you. First, the contractor can always put a mechanics lien against your house. As long as you are clear that you will pay him immediately in full when the job is done, he should be fine. Or, you can pay him for the materials when he shows up with them, then pay the balance in person immediately upon completion of the job. A $900 job won't take that long, but he will have to come back in stages to complete the taping and joints. So, maybe pay most when most of the work is done, but hold back $100 or $200 to be paid immediately upon coming back and finishing the taping and joints.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When I contracted, I had a policy:
If someone complained about the deposit or the price, I didn't do the work for them. I just put a X on the corner of the proposal, and if the person called back, I would just say I was too busy to get to it. Someone who will kvetch from the start will pick you apart on everything else.
I had a good record with the contractor's board. I had ZERO complaints in nine years. If that wasn't good enough, they just needed to find another contractor.
You need a small job done, and you do not have the same leverage as you would if you wanted a tract of homes or 500 apartments drywalled. If this guy has a good reputation and does good work, I would give him what he wants. Good drywall men are hard to find. I don't even ask mine what he wants when I call him. I know he will do an excellent job, and he is in, he's out, he's gone, and all he leaves behind is a very nice job.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 05:05:01 GMT, "J. Cameron Davis"

I'd tell him that you would like to pay him in thirds. 1/3 to start the project and 1/3 when the dryhall is half taped/bedded and 1/3 upon final approval.
However, be prepared for him not agreeing to your wishes. It may be better to have an honest/talented guy do the work on his terms instead of a jackleg doing it on your terms. PJ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I usually agree on 1/3 down, 1/3 when the job is half finished and the final payment after the job is 100% finished. The biggest mistake is to finish paying for an incomplete job. In all fairness, it's no good to hold back the entire final payment for a couple of minor details. Consider holding back $100 or so (depending on the total bill) just to make it worth their while to finish. Just my .02 Mark
J. Cameron Davis wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.