Your contract should stipulate start and finish dates, payment schedules and a complete job description.
At Poolscape Unlimited we typically never require a down payment. We only ask for payment on completed phases during the process. Beware of anyone asking for a substantial sum of money up front. It’s usually a sign that they need your funds to finance your job.
Be sure that any additional work not specified in the contract is documented and approved with an addendum before the work is done to avoid any misunderstandings.
It would also be important to understand if your contractor is using subcontractors.
If your contractor fails to pay their subcontractor, even if you have paid your contractor, you could still be responsible to pay their sub.
I have always made it a point to only contract what we do within our own organization.
Kirk Chapman, President
Poolscape Unlimited Inc.