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QuestionWhat is a reasonable payment schedule?

What is a reasonable payment schedule for a £8,000 job?

Should I give a deposit on confirmation of wanting a builder to do this work?

The job is estimated to take 3 weeks.

Many thanks

Additional Info: The builder I was thinking of using has asked for the following (I feel the 25% deposit is too high):

A deposit based on 25% of the total quotation (£8,000) is required on confirmation of the order, and 25% each week ending based on works completed.

Additional info: The builder is a member of FMB, so I am assuming he won't run off with the deposit!

Additional info: I see what you are all saying, but I am a good payer, but I guess the builder will not know this.

Thanks everyone for your advice.

14 Answers

Best Answer

On a job to that value, and a time scale of only 3 weeks, I personally would not ask for anything up front, most good reputable builders hold trade accounts, so material etc can be booked out, and billed monthly, plenty of time to do the job and settle account.
But I will stress, we hear a lot about cowboy builders, but some customers can be just as bad when it comes to payments.
I have found over the years large organisations, estate agents etc are very late payers, sometimes withholding monies for 3/4 months.
No one can expect any decent tradesman to wait this long, so long as every thing has been done to spec.
There has got to be complete trust between the builder and customer, so it could be worthwhile to just draw up a small schedule of works and a stage payment.
I dont know what your job is ,but if it was an extension I would agree on a payment when footings up to dpc and floor slab, 2nd payment superstructure with roof on, final payment upon completion.
If its a smaller job, agree to pay for material, skips, plant etc when it has arrived on site.
This way it benefits both of you, builder covered for materials so will only loose his labour cost if you stalled payments, and if he walked of site you have the materials.
I havent had any of these problems, but there could be a first time, and there is always the small claim courts, to recover costs, which works well for both parties.


Being a member of the fmb means little. just that the builder has paid his 500 quid. a year for a crappy mag and a load of junk mail. no deposit, fair payments as soon as work starts.

TP Plastering & Building Services 15th Apr, 2011

I agree with golden crown we too are members of the FMB and have to adhere to strict critia. I normally take 40% deposit for any work if its a extension this would generaly get us up to roof hieght. Even though most builders have trade/credit accounts this doesnt mean we should pay for the clients materials. We always use legaly binding contracts when collecting a deposit and as FMB Members know the deposits are coverd by insurance backed gaurentee if anything did go wrong.

D.S Builders 21st Apr, 2011

I am also registered with the FMB who have inspected my work on several occasions. Belonging to such an organisation is good for the builder and is good for the clients he or she is working for. A Builder is a Builder not some one who gives interest free credit untill the job is completed.To ask for a 25% deposit and provide a scheduled payment plan through out the job is not unresonable. He or she would be expected to give a reciept for payment signed by both parties. I have not long ago completed a job on a no deposit plan and lost a lot of money through not been paid. I would never again start a job with out a deposit confirmed by my accountant and lawyers. Any one who says a good builder should have the resources to sustain and finish the job with out a deposit or interim payments is not living in the real world. We all have commitments to meet and need regular income to sustain life in general. All reputable Builders do not have Merchant accounts i personally pay as i go then i know exactly from day to day where i am on any job i under take.

Goldcrown Building Contractors 13th Apr, 2011

A good well set up builder should have the resources to finance his own work.

However in todays troubled times getting paid is a worry and it's all about risk reduction, for both parties.

My advice is a small deposit say £1,000 if it is asked for. Then a substantial interim payment if you are happy with progress after a couple of weeks, of say 4-5 K, leaving a reasonable sum to make sure the job is completed. (Finishing a job is always the hardest part for a builder, when most of the value is complete and just the snagging to do).

Martyn Blair

F Geo Robinson (Coventry) Ltd 12th Apr, 2011

i took a £2000 pound deposit last august for a job and still waiting for the balance of £6,400 on completion so i can see were the builder is coming from ,customers are notorious slow payers and forget us tradesman have mortgages and bills just like them

evergreen joinery services 13th Apr, 2011

I get materials paid for up front then staged payments. I never used to, untill i lost £7,500 when customers would not pay, their are dodgy builders out their and dogy customers. talk to your builder and come to an arangement that suits you both.
Regards Roger

Odd job Rog 21st Apr, 2011

My advice is NO deposit , get a firm time schedule for the work , divide the total amount into weekly payments or four equal payments at quarter intervals . remember the job is based on trust both ways . If you have any reasons to think you shouldnt pay raise the issues at each stage and once sorted make a payment. Put the agreement down on paper and both sign a copy . most importantly make sure both parties are completely agreed as to what the cost includes, its the small grey areas that always cause a problem.

Dampuk 12th Apr, 2011

i sort of agree with martyn i would ask for a 30% deposit end of week 1 £2000 end of week 2 £2000 and a balance on completion its not just about a builder financing the job its also about the customer committing to the builder TRUST is the big thing in any project

Northwest Conversion Company 12th Apr, 2011

I love the way some are saying 'A good builder...' Its up to the business and builder how he/she takes payments, I take a deposit to cover materials and hire etc, My customers have been happy with this arrangement for over 20 yrs, so please don't invent your own criticism or rulings for payments. A good builder is an honest and professional business who builds to high standards, I have to cover my end because as much as most customers are good decent people I have been stung in the past with those trying it on and not paying. After all, you don't go to Tesco and get your shopping and say at the till 'hey mate, I'll pay ya next week if ok'...it's a business and you cannot be judged by how good or bad you are on how you ask for your payments-proof is in the end result.

COMMSCOT 19th Feb, 2014

Hi there,
In my opinion I do not believe in any federation. I have been in the trade 30 years - father and grandfather prior and never have we dealt with them.
We ask for a % of materials up front and stage payments there-after.
As long as we have good customer satisfaction - the payments come naturally.
If it were an extension then yes I would agree as we deal with them conracts only and 25% is what we ask for as the cost of an extension is classed as large works. On a small works such as £8000.00 we would ask for no more than 15% up front.

You must bare in mind though that for every 10 bad builders that you see on these T.V programmes there are over 20 good ones or it could be just a case of a newly established business as we were and just need that bit of cash to commence.

As a paying customer you will know if it's right or wrong as we builders do with our potential customers.


brick2houseconstruction 15th Apr, 2011

Agree a deposit, an interim payment and a payment upon conclusion when all snagging is done.
Regards Mark

Pro Finishing Services 12th Apr, 2011

i would always take a deposit and stage payments all well and good having trade acounts but are also rogue customers as well as rogue traders any works undertaken for the client will be paid for by client - i am also member of fmb but that wont get you paid


We normally offset a big deposit with retainer at the end.

So we take 10% deposit and 5% retainer or 20% deposit and 10% retainer.

This way the builder has all the money to get the big push started and then the client has piece of mind that at the end they have something to hold on to.

Bischell 29th Jan, 2013

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