Payment schedule?

Owner/Builder

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2011
159
Las Vegas, Nevada
We are ready to start building and I was wondering what is a typical payment schedule for a company building a pool/spa/grotto?I don't want to put too much money out before work is completed and risk the contractor just taking the money and not completing. I have always built my own pools and paid contractors after each completed phase. It just feels weird to have somebody ask me for 1/3 before even starting digging.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
371
Central Texas
My PB is a very large builder (largest in Texas), and here is our schedule:

Total cost: $67,651
  • 40% due upon completion of excavation = $27,060.40
  • 30% due upon completion of gunite = $20,295.30
  • 20% due upon completion of deck pour = $13,530.20
  • 10% due just prior to plaster installation = $6,765.10
So while my PB doesn't require anything up front, we do make the final payment before the plaster is installed.
 

sbcpool

Well-known member
Mar 10, 2015
570
Upland, CA
My PB is a very large builder (largest in Texas), and here is our schedule:

Total cost: $67,651
  • 40% due upon completion of excavation = $27,060.40
  • 30% due upon completion of gunite = $20,295.30
  • 20% due upon completion of deck pour = $13,530.20
  • 10% due just prior to plaster installation = $6,765.10
So while my PB doesn't require anything up front, we do make the final payment before the plaster is installed.
I would strongly advise against making the last payment on any construction work before it's completed.
 

Lineman7

Silver Supporter
Jun 26, 2017
22
Snyder, TX
Here is our schedule

10% Down 5363.70

25% Excavate 13409.25

43% Gunite 23063.91

15% Deck 8045.55

5% Plaster 2681.85

2% Start Up 1072.72
 

kazamali

Active member
May 28, 2020
43
Austin, TX
Adding a data point:

Austin TX (large PB company -- Note that everything is AFTER the action performed):

Excavation - 40%
Gunite - 30%
Decking - 20%
Plaster - 10%

During contract negotiation we were trying to have the last payment AFTER filling the pool, but were told that they just didn't do that. Don't know if that's consistent with other folks. Luckily we really didn't have a major issue, but it was a PAIN to get a couple of minor things fixed after the money was all sent.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,180
Central California
In CA it is illegal for a contractor to ask for more than a 10% deposit (1/3 before construction starts sure sounds like a deposit to me). I don't know about NV, or if there is some exception for pool construction, but 10% is the most I'd ever pay up front. And NO WAY would I pay the final installment before I had the signed permit final in my hand, along with all the subcontractors' lien releases, AND the pool was 100% complete to my 100% satisfaction. If that was a deal breaker for the contractor, then that would be a deal breaker for me.

Some of these guys are constantly on the hook. Over-extended. A 1/3 advance without any sort of material delivery would be a red flag to me that he's using my money to pay vendors from his previous job (or his bad habits). And if that's the case, that means he'll likely be insolvent during your entire build, and pay off the subs on your job with the downpayment he extorts from his next build. It's just a bad business model, even when things are going well. If something comes apart on your job, then it's really bad. He might have to go off to the next job, to procure more money out of the next client, in order to make right costly redos on your job...

He should be constantly "behind" on your job: only collecting money from you for work that has already been completed on your job.
 
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BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
443
SW PA
Paying in full before I saw and approved the plaster job, or even knew if the pool held water yet would be totally unacceptable to me.
Our pool builders (well known custom builder in these parts) contract stated that the final 5% was due on customer sign off. The sign off takes place after completion and a 15 day punch list period. After seeing that, I knew i had the right guy.
 
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sbcpool

Well-known member
Mar 10, 2015
570
Upland, CA
I look at it as that any business demanding payment prior to completion is doing that based on experience. That means they've probably experienced people who were so unhappy with the work that they refused to pay until it was fixed, and the business's "solution" wasn't to improve their standards but to try and collect the money before customers could use it as leverage to have the job done right. That's just how I personally would interpret a policy of collecting payment prior to completion.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
371
Central Texas
I would strongly advise against making the last payment on any construction work before it's completed.
Sure, I don't think anyone would advise anything differently. Although this builder is very reputable and non-negotiable on this point. I'm good with it, as I know several friends with pools from these guys, and they're a large corporation with a great network to deal with issues. I'm honestly not worried at all.

If it were a small operation, I would have felt differently.

Adding a data point:

Austin TX (large PB company -- Note that everything is AFTER the action performed):

Excavation - 40%
Gunite - 30%
Decking - 20%
Plaster - 10%

During contract negotiation we were trying to have the last payment AFTER filling the pool, but were told that they just didn't do that. Don't know if that's consistent with other folks. Luckily we really didn't have a major issue, but it was a PAIN to get a couple of minor things fixed after the money was all sent.
Sounds like you're using the same builder as I am. Our experience has been great thus far, no issues and moving along quicker than we expected. Although where I live, there are no permits or HOAs to deal with ...
 

kazamali

Active member
May 28, 2020
43
Austin, TX
Sure, I don't think anyone would advise anything differently. Although this builder is very reputable and non-negotiable on this point. I'm good with it, as I know several friends with pools from these guys, and they're a large corporation with a great network to deal with issues. I'm honestly not worried at all.

If it were a small operation, I would have felt differently.



Sounds like you're using the same builder as I am. Our experience has been great thus far, no issues and moving along quicker than we expected. Although where I live, there are no permits or HOAs to deal with ...
That's good to hear. IMHO it's all about the Super running the job.