If you have made it this far you would have read my introduction. Welcome and I hope you find the information useful. This next paragraph is extremely important and should be heeded.
I will begin at the end of a renovation, which SHOULD BE a final payment to anyone who has done work on your project. It is extremely important that you do not pay anyone in full until you are 100% satisfied that the work has been done to the agreed specifications. If you do not hold enough money back you may lose the leverage needed to get final touches done, or get them back to fix something. Once they are paid they will move on to the next job. Contractors will insist on a certain amount of money to start the job and schedule payments based on the amount of work completed. Some will start with asking for as much as 50% to start, 25% halfway and 15% three quarters of the way through. Personally, I would never agree to that. I don't know anyone who starts a job and gets paid before any work is done. What is fair to consider is - what materials will be needed to start a job - which is a good place to start. Keep in mind, a fair and reputable contractor will not have cash flow problems and would not look to drain you of your cash before he has lifted a hammer. Last on this matter, I would suggest that you always have enough money held back to complete the job – just in case the contractor walks away, or if you decide you are not happy with the work they are doing and want to send them away.
For my project, I am now at the last stage. Next week the kitchen designer, American Classic Kitchens, will finish some minor work based on the fact that they mis-measured a few pieces of molding and finish panels. I will have a separate posting on this particular process and company in due course. However, in regards to payment, they had in fact extracted all their money from me (I trusted them because they are in the Design Center on 57th Street with many reputable firms, big mistake), but subsequent enhancements and non-payment put me back in the drivers seat. Again, I will explain later. In addition to American Classic Kitchens, I have to pay the General Contractor who still has a few "touch ups" to complete. I have enough money to complete any work in case one of them fail to complete the remaining work to my satisfaction.
I would say that I am in good shape at the end of this project, well so far anyway!!