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Typically I get 50% down, but I'm flexible. Mainly I want to see a
real commitment from the client and to cover my out of pocket if the
deal goes south. I rarely have someone cancel a significant job
after I am financially committed but if I do I charge retail value of
materials/labor up to that point and the customer would get the
piece as is at that point. Made to special order means just that, its
not speculation work.
You could make the deposit non-refundable but you'd be wise to check
your local consumer law regarding that.
It would be acceptable if you wanted to break it into 3 or more
payments, 1/3 down, 1/3 halfway thru, 1/3 at pickup...along those
Good luck in the new shop!