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Completion percent invoicing and Retention/Holdback
Completion percent invoicing and Retention/Holdback

All about the completion percent job type and retention/holdback

Matt Govett avatar
Written by Matt Govett
Updated over a week ago

This article explains:

  1. The completion percent invoice type

  2. Retention/holdback

  3. How to start a completion percent job

  4. Variations in completion percent jobs

  5. How to handle "sliding scale" or "band style" retention

Completion percent invoice type

This is a contract price job which allows you to invoice your customer based on the cost categories in the estimate instead of breaking the contract price into lump/stage percents.

Note: we sometimes get users calling this commercial drawdown or architectural percent.

For example, you could invoice every week/fortnight/month and indicate that you completed 60% of framing and 30% of plastering, the value of the invoice would then be based on 60% of value of the framing category and 30% of the value of the plastering category.


Most commonly seen on commercial projects, retention is when the client holds back on paying a percentage of the contract value until after the completion of the job. This is generally done to cover defects and any issues that arise within the first months/year of a project. The builder can invoice for these held amounts, usually as a percentage, at milestones. For example, 50% of the retention could be claimed back six months after completion, and a further 50% after a year. The terms/percents/timeframes are based on the contract between the builder and client.

Note: depending on where you are, this concept may be called either retention or holdback. In this article, we'll refer to it as retention, but it is essentially the same thing.

How to start a completion percent job

Completion percent invoicing and retention are set up at the point of converting an Estimate to a Job. When you select to run a completion percent job you are then presented with options (as below) to do with the retention if applicable.

Buildxact can run completion percent invoice jobs in three ways:

  1. With no retention held

  2. Retention held based on the contract figure excluding variations amounts

  3. Retention held based on the contract figure including variations amounts

Variations in completion percent jobs

When looking at whether variations are included in the retention amount the easiest way to think of it is as below, where all we do is consider the overall total.

NOTE: if you select to exclude variations, the total retention amount we hold excludes variations, BUT individual variations in your invoices will still contribute to the overall retention being held.

See the video below for more information on how it works.

How to handle sliding scale/band style retention

At times, retention is handled by calculating a percentage based on different dollar ranges within the contract value. For instance, the first $200k may have a retention rate of 10% of the progress value, followed by 5% for the next $800k, and then 1.75% for amounts exceeding $1 million.
If this approach aligns with your retention method, our calculator below can effectively determine the overall retention percentage which you would then enter into Buildxact.

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