How much deposit do you charge on big jobs?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Century Landscape, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Century Landscape

    Century Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Hey guys,

    How much of a deposit/How much money down do you normally require on big jobs. I referring to bids where materials are included. I've done a few, so far just charged like a 25% deposit so that I'm not totally screwed in event they don't pay.

    Do you think that's too much, way too little, do you make customers put money down up front at all? If not, what kind of payment schedule do you use?

    I'm trying to figure what's par for the course so that I'm not way out of line with my competition. To me, it doesn't seem practical to not take some money from the customer to guarantee that they are serious and not a deadbeat. Obviously, on the other hand, it's not like I wouldn't know where they lived :laugh:

    My main sticking point is the fact that I'm providing materials and paying other charges (equipment rental, etc.) up front.

    Please weigh in, all responses are helpful.
  2. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    50% due upon acceptance, 50% due upon completion on all residential jobs that require materials
  3. Century Landscape

    Century Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    At 50%, do you get much balking? Some people are kinda cheap and suspicious to boot.

    Different rate/fee schedule on commercial?
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Same here and no people are generally serious and have no problems paying half for a deposit.

    You might run into a few occurrences though where it might be prohibitive to ask for a deposit, such as in the case of commercial installs. So you might want to maybe find a small line of credit somewhere either through a bank or your suppliers to compensate for that.

    Even with lines of credit at places, I still take deposits in order to not have to use them unless I have to.
  5. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    If it is just service..i bill after the job unless it is HUGE and then I segment it into steps of completion. If it involves materials..the owner ALWAYS pays upfront and I typically charge them what it would cost them. I might be able to get pipe for 175 a roll but they will pay 250 or more..that way My cost are covered if they dont pay and I have still made a little extra money to somewhat cover my labor costs. I have only had one person not pay me for a small install I did with there plants...I didnt do the down payment thing and they kept telling me they were going to pay me...1 month later..i showed up...asked for my check..they had some lame excuse..i started digging up the azaleas I had planted. They got all up in arms, but I had the reciept for the plants and they had not paid for them, so they were still mine by the law. I got my check a few hours later...i did have to replant 4 bushes tho
  6. johnsonslawnmanagement

    johnsonslawnmanagement LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 908

    Jobs over 10k I require a 1/3 deposit and a contract. I take draws ever (2) weeks on longer projects for work completed and the balance upon completion. Done this for many years and the 1/3 usually pays for materials and labor.
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  7. 2ndNature

    2ndNature LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I agree with draws. I get them weekly on larger jobs
  8. johnsonslawnmanagement

    johnsonslawnmanagement LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 908

    Draws are a necessity for a job to pay for it's own labor. I like to seperate each job to ensure an accurate profit margin.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    All materials, rentals, ect....... [anything witch would have to come out of my pocket] gets paid for up front.
  10. Century Landscape

    Century Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    This is always my concern, I don't want to get screwed on monney out of pocket on a large job.

    I gotta say anyway, seems like a lot of times, the old rule of thumb that "a contractor's labor price is normally equal to the price of materials" that you always hear from old timers is often accurate. I guess in that sense a 50% down before commencement of work makes sense.

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