I've got a rule about buying any costly item or service.
I don't want to pay until I get it, in full.
Of course, that doesn't fly with most stores or service providers.
Instead, I try to pay as little upfront as possible.
I've seen too many people put down large deposits on construction projects, and lose the money.
Determining how much to pay out upfront should be based on the project.
But I try to keep most of the money to be paid on progress.
And I want at least 10 to 15-percent held until everything is completed.
I get the same complaints over and over again from people who buy products or services and pay in full before getting anything.
One consumer paid for a wedding album.
A year later, she didn't have it.
The Better Business Bureau/Let Joe Know volunteer team went to work.
And after promised delivery dates and excuses, the couple finally did get their album.
In these situations, I would always pay with a credit card so I could dispute the charge later.
You have 60 days to do that.
I would also demand to hold part of the payment until the end.
Unscrupulous businesses have more incentive to deliver if there's more money to come.