Deposit?


#1

Has anyone asked a customer for a deposit for work yet to be completed so they could buy equipment or tools to finish the job? Do you tell them what the deposit is for? How do you go about asking? What percentage is appropriate?


#2

What kind of job are you doing for this customer? I’ve thought about doing it for gutter guard installation but for window cleaning it doesn’t really seem necessary, unless they were buying you a pack of ettore rubber lol


#3

$100 on every single resi job to prevent last minute cancellations and no shows.

1/3 on medium to large commercial to cover payroll and consumables.


#4

How are you able to do this?


#5

Deposit?? That’s just…no.


#6

“Alright Mrs. Smith, we have either the 13th or the 15th available. Which would work for you? …
Perfect, the 15th it is. There’s a $100 deposit for scheduling. We can take your credit card payment now over the phone, or we can email you an electronic invoice that you can pay at your convenience. Which would you prefer?”

That’s how I do it, anyway. Nobody has an issue with it. If they do, then I probably just dodged a bullet.

I’ve had more limited success in acquiring deposits for commercial work. But that’s not really my wheelhouse.


#7

I understand the residential but commercial is a different story, it just doesnt make since to ask 1/3 down when most payment is 30 to 45 days out.


#8

I have had a handful of costumers offer it . I’m always Leary of this just because of all the nightmarish stories out there of contractor’s screwing over people. It’s just not something I feel is not necessary for me to ask.


#9

So what is the main reason you ask for the deposit?

So they dont cancel service?

Money to purchase tools, equipment, payroll?


#10

For me, it’s so they take their appointment (and my time) seriously. For some customers that means not rescheduling/postponing their appointment for a minor issue. For others it means they don’t go and shop around some more for a “better deal” after we’ve shook hands.


#11

Mandriva nailed it. Too many contractors screwing over customers, last thing I would demand is money up front.

Besides, things happen. Old people have sudden doctor’s appointments, weather changes, death in the family etc etc. I’d lose like 75% of my customers if I demanded a ‘deposit’.


#12

Easy, you ask for a credit card number and tell them its refundable up to 48 hours in advance.

Maybe 2-3 people a year say no. Fine by me.


#13

Don’t knock it till you try it.

I only require a deposit from new customers. I can’t even remember if I’ve had a single person refuse paying it, out of hundreds of customers.

But if you look/sound like a fly-by-night contractor, then I can understand why you might get some refusals.

Just think of all of the services that require some type of security deposit or payment up front. It’s not a foreign concept to most people.


#14

So they don’t cancel service last minute or “forget”.

It costs me money to send people to a job site to find that nobody is home. In 2011 25% of people were ghosting on us, so I started charging a deposit and it fixed the problem real fast.


#15

Must be different where you guys are at. That would never fly here.


#16

Thats residential, im interested in how you get commercial to cough up 1/3 up front. That would never happen here, how big commercial are you talking about?


#17

Easy, you put it in the contract and ask for it.

We dont do any storefront and have a $200 minimum for any job, resi or comm, so its whatever the job is.


#18

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for a lot of great answers. I need to ask a customer for a deposit because I’d be out of pocket almost 1500 for supplies on the screens I posted about earlier this week. 4 of them have arches on top. I’ve been having a hell of a time getting screen frame custom bent near me. A lot of screen businesses in my area told me to let them know if I found someone who would do my work because they too need someone to do it for them. Im gonna use the deposit and spend almost 900 bucks on a professional bender and save my customer 500 bucks for their job. (I could just make all the money, but they’ve been GREAT customers for two and a half years.) Anyway, I’m planning on offering these other screen businesses screen frame bending at a price they can still make money on. Thing should pay for itself in a month.

Incidentally I was asked to bid a separate customer’s house today and it’s my first time working for them. They live out of town and its exterior only and they won’t be here when it’s being completed. I’m getting half of that job up front as well…


#19

Is that deposit refundable unless it’s x amount of days from their appointment?


#20

On the other hand, having the confidence to nonchalantly ask for it lends you legitimacy too. If they balk, explain why and then if they are still dragging their feet, they weren’t a “good” customer anyway.