Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

A good deposit policy has allowed us to only get stung three times in 38 years

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Yvette Aube's chimney service company asks for deposits in the range of 25 to 33 per cent of the project total.

Yvette Aube, Aim Chimney Sweep and Stove Shop, weighs in on the discussion about Deposits: how much should contractors ask for? 

“In my company we will NOT order any product without a deposit of 25-33% of the project total AND a signed proposal for work. We will occasionally get a secondary payment before we start work, depending on the size of the project.

It is not that we are going to run and hide when we get the money but that the client will at least have paid for some of the materials before we begin a project.

(Our upfront) costs can broken down to include: initial visit time and travel, office time to prepare paperwork, sending the paperwork out to client, material costs, travel time and delivery to site.

So a contractor MUST get some of his/her money up front in order to NOT have to absorb all the fees in case the client decides to “run out” on the final billing.

We do NO work without signed work proposal/contract which definitely delineates our terms for the project’s duration and payment times.

We have had no problems with this procedure in 38 years of business and we have only been stung three times. And in each and every case, we did work on trust alone with no contract. Goes to show you.

We once purchased a large unit for a client and he backed out two days before installation was due to start. According to our terms (in this situation he would) not get his deposit back. He did not want the unit so indeed we kept the deposit.

His lawyer called us and we read him our Terms of Cancellation – and that he had signed that he had read them. No contest. The lawyer said thank you and hung up.

Contractors, GET YOUR DEPOSITS and proposals SIGNED by the client.”

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