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Started by Mike, July 22, 2012, 02:48:46 pm

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I alway got a 50% deposite when i was in new england. Ever a wuestion to it then in 2004 i moved to florida and right ofthe bat i found people leary of deposites. So o went to a 1/3deposite. Ehich is kinda nice and leaves more to look forward to on completion.  I did have one guy once who didnt even want to do that.
This mor ing i read a post on a forum of some patio work somone had done and thought of this again.
Do any of you find this also learry of deposites around the country?
Here the post
QuoteJust wanted to say what a great job these guys did on our new patio. I was a little afraid when they asked for some of the money up front. They did just what they said they would for the agreed on price. All of the workers were very respectfull and polite. They are a month or more back logged but do very nice work.


The main reason that I get a deposit isn't because I need the money to order the fabric. It's just to insure that the customer is serious about getting the work done.
Many people will order work on an impulsive whim. Then a few weeks down the road when it's ready, their priorities have changed, and they're really no longer interested.
Some would rather lose their 50% deposit than come up with the final 50%.

Around here, there used to be a stigma attached to any upholsterer who wanted money up front. It usually meant that he had no creditworthiness with his fabric suppliers. But now with all the online sellers who expect full payment in advance, people are better trained to fork over the cash.

I seldom even have to ask for a deposit anymore. Most customers offer it up on their own.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Mike, we like you have always been leery of asking for a deposit for fear of losing a job. We would always get a full fabric deposit but no labor. Now I'm working for a fellow in Gainesville and working weekends for myself. This has allowed me to raise my deposit. We just picked up a sofa and received 50% down with no complaints. In fact the guy said he owns his own business and he does the same.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


I also ask for 1/2 down. I have found that I at least have their fabric paid for and a smidgen of labor if they renig. Like others there has been few and far between any customers whom don't pickup. Yes most of my customers pick up and deliver their own pieces. Anyway..I never start without 1/2 down and I never give up with out the balance in full. Customers around here expect the terms.



I believe Florida people had problems with deposits which stemmed from years ago when contractors were coming down here and stinging people. They would collect a deposit to do work on their house and then never show up again. It left a bad taste in many of these peoples mouths. Florida used to be the home to many felons who flee'd other States. My parents lived in Port St Lucie back in the 70's and 80's and my Dad used to tell me horror stories of the con artists who used to prey on seniors down here. :)

I am a very trusting soul and typically go off my gut when dealing with a customer. If I get the least bit uneasy feeling I ask for a deposit. Others I never ask. I order in the materials, call them and tell them I am billing them through Paypal and once paid I ship it.

But then my orders run alot less then you and Junes does or maybe Dennis or Ed's or Genes. I would say 90 % of my orders are between $ 600 -  $ 800. I believe my largest topper/awning order ever was $ 1,700. That one I got a deposit on. ...lol

I always run my business with several thousand cash in the bank and a minimum $ 1,500 cash in my safe. So deposits to buy materials is never a thing with me. I probably should start charging 40 % on every single order. But for the market I work in - high end coaches with retirees as owners I just never worry about getting burnt. If I do I will sell their order to another coach owner down the road as measurements and factory colors do not vary to much. But I never send out an order until I am paid. That is a steadfast rule. :)

In your business Mike I would get a deposit because it is so specialized. Each job you do is made for that boat. That and your billings are probably 2 to 3 times my billings so getting bilked on a big order would hurt.



Used go be i had e eryone bost st my shop so they had to pay me to get it here all my work is installed on there boat at there house or the minority a marina. So there jot as fast to pay all the timeif there out of town ect. I had a job  hdis about a year and a half ago about 9k after i did the. I
Ini and made a rear shade top bending the stainless and all i was to do some inside hulliner and the owner sho i found wuestionslvle at the start must have decided they could do that portion or At least try. I was glad i got a delosite on that one that at least paid for what i did.  I had some 1/4 fosm for a long time i just finnaly ised up  i think thery were seeing the money going out


Working with marinas , I only ask for a purchase order. This is ok for me that they are going to pay for the job so i'll order the material and get started. With retail customers , if its a small job and I have the material in stock , lets say a white vinyl helm chair of leaning pad , I just take the chair or seats , never been stung as they want it back asap. If I have to order material , not unlike a home contractor , 1/3 for materials , 1/3 on start , 1/3 on completion . Working on a l shaped couch off a formula pc right now and the amount of sewing involved there would have me calling suicide prevention hotline if I got stuck with it !! :-\
duct tape is like the force . it has a light side , a dark side , and holds the universe together.


August 01, 2012, 12:27:15 am #7 Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 12:30:42 am by forsailbyowner
Definately half down on first time customers. Some customers Ive been dealing with for years are exempt. There are a couple in the marina im currently at who are asking for work and were slow, or had to make payments when they agreed to cash balance at completion, wont get work unless paid in full in advance. a

Had a friend who used to say to customers, Me and the bank have an agreement, They dont do diesel mechanic work and i dont run lines of credit.