Upfront deposit of 60% required...is it reasonable?

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by richard Kenward, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Guys I have a gas central heating engineer lined up to do a full gas central heating installation in my home but he has just informed me that he requires a 60% deposit with the balance on completion. I have ample funds in the bank and money is not a problem as he might have been able to tell from his walk around my home. Just a bit troubled that at this late stage he should have brought it up. I have no problem with paying him for the whole job on completion. What do you think?

    Cheers, Richard
  2. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Well-Known Member

    Seems a bit steep although presumably he's gonna have to buy the boiler, radiators and parts before hand which will be a good proportion of the overall price. There is a credit risk in case he goes bust and takes your money with him, best check whether he is insured against this (was covered in another thread somewhere) (a) what happens to your money if anything happens to him (b) what is the deposit for exactly (c) who owns the goods paid for with your deposit. Make sure you have paperwork that makes all this clear.

    Have you used this guy before, do you have trust in him? Is in affiliated with any of the professional bodies?
    ADR & PW likes this.
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Seems a bit steep.

    Where our legal beagle DA.
  4. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Thanks. I have never used him before but he has promised references. Richard
  5. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Proceed with caution.
  6. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    I could of course join him at the plumbers merchants and pay for a chunk of the items and come back in his van to my house with the main bulk of the stuff. It would though leave me exposed should he not see the job through as another contractor would likely be unwilling to pick up where he left off. Cheers Richard
  7. Hi Richard.

    This has to be your choice.

    First of all, is his request 'reasonable'? At 60%, I would say no. A CH job like this will have lots of materials and a fair bit of labour. This is often a very rough 50:50 split, although it can vary a lot. 60% seems, to me, to be unjustifiably high.

    Is it reasonable for him to ask for monies up front to over the cost of materials? Probably yes - tho' not all plumbers do.

    So, it comes down to a few things - is 60% reasonable? Is it the 'materials' content of the job or is it more than this? Fairly easy to work out a ballpark - boiler - £1k, rads - £100 ea on average (unless fancy), pipes and fittings - £200-£300 (rough).

    So, how does that fit in with your overall quote?

    I really think that asking for a deposit is perfectly fine - provided the company uses an insured deposit protection scheme. This cannot cost the company much, especially if they have a good credit rating. I had a bay window fitted - it was around £1600 all in, so reasonable. They asked for a £400 deposit which I was more than happy happy about as the windows clearly needed making up specifically to size, so they need to cover themselves against a customer pulling out - and they put this deposit in a DPS. I was both surprised and impressed.

    Tbh, plumbers don't even have this excuse for money up front - not only are all the parts standard and re-usable, they get a month's credit at the wholesalers so they won't have to pay for it for ages! So this guy is - I think - taking the pee a bit, but it might be standard practice for him.

    He's provided customer testimonials? Cool - call one up and ask if this is what he does!
  8. Dave does Gas

    Dave does Gas Well-Known Member

    I dont think the idea of a deposit is a bad one as I do it on larger jobs. I do feel that 60% is a bit steep though. I normal go from anythig to one third total cost to a half. This is always stated on my terms of trading which I issue with every quot.
    Jobs like this are very much a question of trust by both parties. You can usually get a feel for a person when your doing the survey. I have refused a few jobs nefore now just because of gut feeling.
    Given that you have posted this I suspect you have doubts about the guy, if so get a few other quotes and get a feel for the installers as people.
    Better to be safe than sorry.
  9. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    there is a basic principle here. if he raised the point initially when quoting for the work then fine. If it is a last minute change then no deal, simple because you really don't know what other last minute changes you are going to get thrown at you.

    at the very least you should already have a detailed quotation of the work to be carried out that should specify the payment terms ( including deposit), stage payments or whatever. This is not difficult to do and would protect the engineer as well as you. if you don't have this, walk away and get other quotes.

    The only time i'll deal without a contract is

    a) for work of trivial value so the risk on both parties is not material or
    b) I am dealing with mates ( in various trades) when a contract is simply insulting and just not needed
    Dave does Gas likes this.
  10. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Thanks guys. Quoted price of the job is around £4K. I am feeling a bit uneasy as he has broken several promises for getting back to me with a quote etc over the weeks I've been in contact with him, so frankly I would not totally trust him to follow through. I can quite understand that he needs to be careful especially these days. I wonder if I could ask my bank to confirm that I have sufficient funds in my account to pay him. I've actually had some difficulty in getting quotes from people who are prepared to provide me with a couple of references! Cheers Richard
  11. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    walk away and start again. you'd be better off going with someone who is prepared to work to a legally enforceable contract that wants payment on completion than someone who promises references

    think about this: 2 lovely references, you pay in advance, and get a poor job: where does that leave you?, or

    no references: you get a poor job and have not paid

    I'd rather be in the latter place every time. chances are as well you'll get a good job done in the latter scenario and can act as a reference
  12. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Thanks for that helpful insight. I had a text with his price after quite a lot of reminding him and I replied saying that I accepted his quote and that as soon as I had it in writing I would confirm my acceptance in writing. He said in his today's text hat he would get the written quote done over the weekend. I've askd him to ring me this evening to discuss. Cheers Richard
  13. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    text with price and no scope of work. walk away.

    both parties need something in writing saying what work will be done. If I were the engineer I would want to be saying

    what boiler
    what pipework
    what testing and commissioning
    how many radiators etc etc

    if I didn't do that then i'll have a customer saying " but you said you'll put all my paintwork and plaster right, and you were replacing all radiators" and never get paid. a specification of work is for everyone benefit. gives the trader the ability to say work is complete pay me. gives you the knowledge of exactly what will be done for the money.

    anything less then I feel either party should not deal with each other

    we are not talking 20 pages of legal stuff, just a simple specification - half a side of A4 should do it
    Jord86 and Dr Bodgit like this.
  14. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Well-Known Member

    Don't do anything without a written quote including payments terms etc. and something that is legally enforceable.
  15. Isitreally

    Isitreally Well-Known Member

    How Is he expecting the payment, cash (no) credit card (yes you will be covered by them), bank transfer (at least theres a paper trail if it goes wrong) but even then pay some on a credit card if you can.
  16. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Many thanks to everyone who has very kindly stepped forward.

    In past years I have done several complete central heating installations myself but they have all been oil and in a renovation situation with traditional walls etc., whereas this one is gas and it is a timber/plasterboard building that I'm living in so as I can well afford it I would prefer to hand the whole job over to a tradesman.

    I have done the calcs for the rads and provided him with a printed list of what I want and where together with the manufacturers item ref number, and also listed the boiler I want installed. Cheers, Richard
  17. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Thanks. He has not told me how he would like the payment made so far but I have my doubt that he would take credit cards. Cheers Richard
  18. ADR & PW

    ADR & PW New Member

    You should have three quotes and see how the prices and terms compare. He may be a guy whose been caught out a couple of times, however, if he was I would expect him to want a contract even if it is very basic. Get everything detailed like , make sure it's a quote not an estimate. A txt msg giving a figure and you informed him that you accepted his quote? If he has quoted and you have accepted he cannot impose terms and conditions afterwards without your agreement. If you do agree a deposit, make it 30% or the materials invoice sum payable when all the materials are delivered to site and then regular payments as work progresses. Everyone on this page is singing from the same song sheet and there's good advice been given here....
  19. richard Kenward

    richard Kenward New Member

    Thanks for that. The job is unlikely to take more than a week to do this job so stage payments would not really be appropriate I think. I've had several quotes and am satisfied that his is sensible. Cheers, Richard
  20. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    Everyone I deal with doesn't ask for deposits. In my day job all work is progress payments through application. If he is insistent because he doesn't want to risk non payment, suggest you will pay tranche 1 when he turns up on site with materials. Yes, do have a basic contract, even if its just a written "acceptance" of his offer detailing your understanding of the scope of the job.

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