With all of our projects, we only ask for $1000 or 10% of the project, which ever is less. Our contracts cover rough material and labor only and the customer is required to get the finished material for their project. If the material is included in the price of the project, we will charge the customer in our normal payment stages that are signed by the customer as part of the contract. We advise all customers to never pay more than $1000 or 10% of the project whichever is cheaper. We pay for the permit up front then send the customer an invoice with proof of the cost of the permit. With material, if we pick it up and pay for it, we will send an invoice to the customer with a receipt of what we paid for it.
Most of the customers that call me and tell me their original contractor asked for more than 10% or $1000 up front usually end up getting a contractor that takes the money and does not complete the job. I get these calls at least once a day. If you go into contract with this contractor, put into writing that you need to see receipts for all materials and permits purchased.