When Is The Final Payment Due?

by Ben Bowen

When is the final payment due?

Your landscape project, after a gestation period of several months, has started and is nearing completion. From our perspective, your project is not complete until you are totally happy with every detail.

Does that mean that final payment is not due until every detail is completed? 

No. Payment is due upon "substantial completion". What does that mean?

This job is not ready for a final walk through!

This job is not ready for a final walk through!

At the end of most projects (when we think we are finished) there is walk through. At this point our crew has usually moved on to another project. The walk through involves either myself or Joe meeting with you to go over the whole landscape project. We answer questions, talk about maintenance, warranty, etc.

During this walk through we also put together a list of items that need to be adjusted, tweaked, or fixed- what is commonly known as a "punch list". Maybe you notice a loose stone in a path. Perhaps you would like a low voltage light moved to a different tree. Or you think that the water feature could use a little more rock in the stream. All of these items go on the list.

Most of our projects have a very small "punch list", 2-3 items that take a few hours address. Large or complicated projects can have a few more. Our crew will return quickly, usually within a couple days, to finish the items to your satisfaction. 

THIS is ready for a final.

THIS is ready for a final.

"Substantial completion" is reached when this list is compiled- not when it is finished.

We appreciate receiving payment at the final walk through. However, if the list is larger than normal or includes an item that is closer to "major" than "minor" we are reasonable. A partial final can be agreed upon. Once the list is done you can send us the rest.

Is this reasonable? 

We think so. To hold up a payment of several thousand dollars over a couple hours of minor changes does not seem fair. And we are confident that after the design, proposal, and installation process you will not be worried that we will just walk away. That is not how we operate.

What do you think? Is this a fair way to handle the final payment?