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Sending lien notices is an important — and in some cases required — part of securing receivables for subcontractors and suppliers.
Unfortunately, the process for creating and sending these notices is extremely nuanced and frustrating — especially if everything is done manually or in-house.
If you’ve always managed your notices in-house or through a manual process, you might not think anything of it. Many construction businesses have accepted the complicated notice process as the norm. However, in a technology-driven world, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are three challenges associated with a manual or in-house notice process, and three solutions presented by lien rights software.
Challenge #1: Deadlines are often missed
There’s not really an easy way to track notice deadlines, especially when you’re tracking deadlines across hundreds of projects or in multiple states. Often, credit managers or those in charge of lien rights paperwork will use a combination of spreadsheets, calendars, and email to track deadlines.
But, having information spread across different platforms isn’t efficient and can lead to missing deadlines.
Plus, if you’re using a notice service provider like NCS or CRM, you likely aren’t getting reminders of upcoming deadlines, which means you still have to track deadlines in-house.
“The notice service we used didn’t help us with counting the number of days we needed to send our information ahead of time. So it was really easy for us to miss a deadline. And, if you miss a deadline, you’ve missed the opportunity to secure those lien rights and get paid,” says Ayla Gokturk, a Regional Credit and Collections Manager at Waste Connections.
Challenge #2: Job details are unconfirmed
Having accurate information on your notices is vital for securing your lien rights. However, it’s often a challenge to find details like the legal property description or who owns the property. Or, to ensure that the details you’ve found are correct.
“The process for creating notices was a nightmare because of the research that’s involved to find the right parties on a job. The sales team doesn’t always have information [on the property owner and GC], and trying to pull that out of them in a rush was challenging,” says Natalie Damico, the Credit Manager at Faulkner Haynes.
In some cases, you may think you’ve checked off all of the boxes in the lien rights process only to find out that the information you used was incorrect.
“We learned that we weren’t always sending our preliminary notices to the right people because we didn’t have the right information,” says Alexa, the Controller at NGS Films and Graphics.
Challenge #3: More time is spent on managing paperwork than on growing accounts
There are so many steps involved in the notice process. Sending notices on one or two jobs here and there isn’t too bad, but when dealing with a high volume of jobs the paperwork can really take away from your day-to-day tasks.
Even if you have a notice service provider to process notices for you, there’s still a lot of manual effort involved.
“A third party would produce the preliminary notice and send that out for us. So, we had to manually fill it out it and send it,” says Louie Trujillo, the Director of Project Controls at CSI Electrical. “And then if we wanted to file a mechanics lien, we had to fill out the entire form and have someone from their office come to our office, look at it with me, and then they would go and file it at the county’s office. So it was pretty laborious.”
How Levelset solves these challenges
With lien rights software like Levelset, all of these challenges are solved. Each of the professionals quoted above now use Levelset, and they no longer deal with missed deadlines, unconfirmed job details, or a time-consuming paperwork process.
Levelset provides a streamlined dashboard to help you track notice and other paperwork deadlines on jobs, and notifications when deadlines are approaching.
“My favorite thing about Levelset is the dashboard. I go in there every day, and I look at what I have to send so that I can stay on top of that timeline,” says Natalie.
As far as job research, Levelset’s Scout Research fills in any missing job information and confirms the accuracy of details you’ve provided.
“With Levelset, we can just say that we don’t have owner information and let you guys take that and run with it. It gives us confidence to know that the best research has been done on your end to make sure that we’re getting the notices to the owner properly,” says Ayla.
Last but not least, Levelset has saved construction companies hours of time spent on paperwork so that credit and finance professionals can spend more time on other important parts of their jobs.
“Every night the software pulls all of the jobs, and if there’s a new job, the preliminary notice is created within Levelset. Then the notice is sent out within the deadline. We’re no longer dealing with a time-consuming process,” says Louie.
Interested in learning how you can avoid the challenges of a manual or in-house notice process? Talk to the Levelset team today to learn what it would look like to use lien rights software.
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