How much do you pay contractors upfront?

Don't Waste Your Money

There's nothing like enjoying a brand new kitchen during the holiday season, with new appliances, cabinets, and countertops.

But what if the contractor redoing your kitchen doesn't finish the job in time?

One man learned a valuable lesson on how to hire and pay a kitchen contractor.

Hired a Reputable Contractor

Bill Buresch wanted his kitchen freshened up for this holiday season.

"All we really wanted to do was replace some of the appliances, put a new countertop on it, just spruce it up a bit."

So he decided to go with a local contractor who gave him a reasonable estimate of $3,600.

Buresch, who has been around the block a few times, checked out the man's record.

He knew the Better Business Bureau's recommendation when dealing with contractors:

    Pay 1/3 up front
    Pay 1/3 midway
    Pay 1/3 when its all done.

But a few weeks into the work, he says the contractor "gave me this big long sob story about how the owner had a heart attack. And so there were tight financials, and he wanted the third installment upfront."

Buresch gave him the full $3,600.

"All seemed on the up and up. I trusted the company, I've dealt with them before, " he said.

The contractor, though, then claimed even more hardship and stopped returning his calls.

We Help Get Resolution

So we called the contractor, who said he was overworked and underfunded.

But he agreed to come back finish the job, and Bill Buresch is happy to say his new counter and cabinet pulls are finally in, in time for Christmas.

Buresch says despite all his years of hard knocks, he had a soft spot and was duped.

"He took me to the cleaners and here we are," he said.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line: If you pay too much upfront, an overworked or overwhelmed contractor doesn't have much incentive to finish the job in a timely manner.

So hold back the bulk of the payment till you see results, so you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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