She is 92 years old and would like some guidance on what to expect.
Aug 5, 2019
That's a great question, and I'm glad you're doing the legwork beforehand to make sure no issues arise later on. Before diving in, the Nevada State Contractors Board has an excellent resource for consumers: A Consumer Overview of Contractors and Contracts
Anyway, it does not appear that Nevada strictly regulates down payments or progress payments on home improvement contracts. Rather, consumers and contractors are left to contract in a way that makes sense to the parties involved. As a general rule of thumb, most construction projects have some startup costs and may require a down payment - but down payments that exceed 10% of the project cost should be viewed with a lot of skepticism. And, any progress payments made after that will likely depend on the amounts paid upfront. The exact schedule for payments can vary a bit from project to project, but I'll lay out some guiding principles below.
Following a down payment, if used, progress payments should generally be tied to the project's progress - not an arbitrary schedule. Payments are generally made when certain milestones are met (based on a certain percentage of completion or when a certain part of the project has been completed). By making periodic progress payments, and by making sure those payments directly relate to the work that's been or is being performed, it's easier to make sure that a contractor hasn't been paid more than what they're currently owed and to be sure that unnecessary risks aren't being taken on.
To determine a payment schedule, it's probably a good idea to sit down with the contractor and discuss the project schedule and what costs are associated with each part of the work. If they're a licensed and reputable contractor (you can do a license search here, and if the payment schedule makes logical sense to the owner (keeping in mind project milestones and the costs associated with each part of the work), then it will be easier to trust that the payment schedule is proper.