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Plumber wants up front money

10 years ago

Hello everyone,
We just started building. Our basement is excavated and basement walls have been poured. Plumber ( which is the contractors brother in law- not sure if this is good or bad.) talked to me for first time this morning and gave me his proposal and was expecting $2520 in "upfront money". Is this a common practice? I did not write a check. I texted my husband and said I was giving this guy money and husband said don't do it . I got rid of guy but he's expecting check later today.
Proposal total is $8800 for PEX includes labor, parts ( not fixtures etc just small running the line parts), waterlines, sewer lines , 3 frost free faucets, supply lines, drain lines. This is 4100 sf house with 3 full baths and 1 half bath, 3 kitchen sinks and a laundry room sink.

Comments (13)

  • 10 years ago

    How exciting to have your build started!

    I would think that it is common to put something down to begin. We have a GC and have had to put a big chunk down to start and will have to pay installments regularly.

    Good luck!

  • 10 years ago

    Exciting but scary! Thanks for the reply. I just wasn't sure how it worked. We don't have the loan money released yet simply because the banks appraiser has never been out to look- husband called him again this am.

    During the excavation they hit rock at 2 feet so they had to bring in a special rock chipper for a week. Had to pay $11k to excavator in December out of our checking for that.

  • 10 years ago

    The electrician who worked on my house also wanted me to pay for the material up front. Which I did (I knew him for a few years so there was enough trust for me to accept the risk).

    I only hired a plumber for the gas line and he didn't require any money up front.

  • 10 years ago

    With the bank not yet on board for your loan, any professional you deal with may want a substantial amount up front. You've kinda put the cart before the horse here. You don't know if your plan will make appraisal, and if you will need to bring more money to the table. Also, a lot of banks don't want any work done at all until the loan is actually approved. Be very very careful, as if the loan isn't approved, you're going to be on hook for everything done so far while you put the project on hold and reshop banks.

  • 10 years ago

    It works both ways, your contract should specify when and how payments are made. For small jobs where I've contracted directly with one of the trades for the first time some upfront payment has been common. On a large job where the trade is subcontracted by the GC, never. If you can possibly avoid it, it is better not to pay for work that hasn't been done yet. On our build we paid the GC every two weeks for the work completed in the prior two weeks, with a small holdout against final completion of the job and punch list.

  • 10 years ago

    I would be willing to pay up front for any materials specified in the contract (like a particular shower valve), but not for general materials. Unless that payment is specified in the bid that I received from the contractor. I think I made a downpayment on the cabinets but not with any other subs.

  • 10 years ago

    Pay him (that is a small amount of your total), but get a receipt (and an invoice listing the work to be done).

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks for the advice everyone. You guys are very helpful. I am sure I will have tons more questions and need lots of help! I realize we are not typical in respect to the loan etc...
    On another note... Did anyone use outdoor frost free faucets that are " no kink". The end sticks out from wall perpendicular to the ground. I hate typical faucets because it's difficult to attach hose.

  • 10 years ago

    My plumbing/HVAC(Geo)/Electrical(signing off on our work) contractor required half of his bid up front. He is a client of mine and I'm familiar with the company so I had no problem paying half up front.

    Surprisingly, our basement/flat work contractor was the only other person who asked for money up front.

    Another big surprise is that none of my contractors filed any statement that they were beginning work on my property. They are required to do this under Iowa's new mechanic lien law. I know that most of them know this since a few are clients of my firm and I've repeatedly told them. I don't know whether to be happy that they seem to trust me or be disappointed that they aren't following my advice in getting notice of their work filed.

  • 10 years ago

    My husband is Presiding Judge for our judicial circuit so I would like to think that our subs would be trustworthy as well as trusting us ( I'm a doctor but not a witch :)). We live in a rural county and we don't even have building codes. I will look into Missouri lien laws- thanks!

  • 10 years ago

    We live in a rural county and we don't even have building codes.

    Hasn't your state adopted a building code that has to be followed?

  • 10 years ago

    Dr.Witch, I live in a rural Iowa county. We don't have building codes outside cities either; just a $25 building permit.

    Strangely, the county almost tried to pull my permit after we finished the basement since they discovered that we are too close to public hunting ground according to the 25 page county code. We discovered that the city code applied to our property and that the 1,000 page city code didn't have a public hunting ground setback requirement.

    That almost turned into a big ordeal. As you can imagine I was fairly upset that my original site was approved by the county zoning official after reviewing the 25 page code, then six months later revoked for non-conformance. The "non-conformance" was clear when they approved the site for building. Apparently the actual zoning certificate is completely meaningless, even after I spent around $70k on the project.

    There are zoning codes that need to be followed in the rural county, but no building codes. There are city zoning and building codes that need to be followed, but they aren't inspected.

    Technically we have to follow the city building code, which we have done since we exceed international codes.

    The final 300' of my driveway is in the city, but my house is outside the city limits by more than .5 miles. I am still in the "zone of influence" so the city code applies to me instead of the county code.

    The county, under state law, requires specific a specific septic system that needs initial inspection and approval at the county level but is not inspected after completion (but will be inspected at every sale). Iowa has state wide electrical code that needs to be followed and gets inspected by a state inspector.

    Building in rural areas in midwestern states generally involve almost no oversight.

    You don't really need to know anything about the lien laws; your subs need to know that info. I found it strange that they didn't follow my advise on my own house.

  • 10 years ago

    Lawpaw- thanks for the info. My husband just got home and he laughed at me when I said I needed to research the lien laws.

    I would be upset too if I went through what you did with the zoning issues.

    Dekeoboe- There are some counties in Missouri that do not require any building codes- I know it's hard to believe. Stone county and Douglas county are 2 of them. We live outside city limits as well. If you saw the movie "Winter's Bone" you will understand where I live. It was filmed a few miles away from us.

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