Every relationship is based on trust. Either through the existence of it or the lack there of. As a contractor I build trust through several avenues. My time in business, a strong referral list, a solid record with trade organizations (like the BBB) to name a few. More importantly when it comes to the customer, it’s in the first meeting, and follow conversations. We try to be as prompt as possible, we call when running late, or the need to reschedule arises. Upon acceptance of our estimate we require a small deposit which rarely covers the total cost of the materials (many of which are not returnable). Once on the job, the trust is further developed by doing what we were contracted to do correctly, quickly, and openly (meaning if you want to hover in the work area that’s fine). We provide a one year warranty on labor, and a life time against water leaks in tubs and showers. So when the job is completed we expect payment in full. When a customer decides to “hold back” a portion of the final payment it is very frustrating. You don’t go into a grocery store and hold back a part of the balance due because you want to make sure the apples are fresh.
Now I understand a customers desire to protect themselves, but if everything has been completed correctly then there’s no real ground to stand on to withhold final payment. Especially under the guise of a desire to have the contractor come back out to fix something or resolve a missed issue. It actually does the opposite, and it destroys an trust that was built up. It will cause the contractor to demand a final payment before any warranty issues might be dealt with or there might not be a rush to get back out there as quickly as one might.
So if your a customer who likes to do business this way you should be upfront at the time of job quotation and an agreed upon date can be decided upon. You should also look at things such as: Do they have a “brick and mortar” store front? If so there is some level of credibility that comes with that as it typically means they have been around for a while to need that. Are they insured? Ask for proof. Are they a member of any trade organizations? If so call and check on them. Do they have a referral list? Get a copy and make some calls. They might be the “prize jobs” but after time there’s a better perspective on workmanship.