If you’re like me, you may have a hard time investing time and energy into work that isn’t required. You didn’t do any of the extra credit homework in middle school, probably skipped those “optional” soccer team workouts in high school, and ignored the “recommended” extra readings in college.
(What’s that? You did all of those things?? Well then, I uh…)
Okay, so maybe a lifetime spent avoiding extra work is really just about me, but for those of us interested in efficiency – or even for those us that just have a ton of stuff they have to get done at work – it’s easy to dismiss tasks that are not absolutely necessary.
If you work construction in a state where preliminary notices are not required, you may be skeptical of investing the time and effort required to send out what amounts to “voluntary documents” – preliminary notices – on your projects.
Voluntary Notices? Worth It!
However, every day here at Levelset, we tell folks in the construction industry that sending preliminary notices is worth it, even if you are working on projects in states where preliminary notices are not required.
We consider sending notices to be an undisputed industry best practice, and that by putting in the time on the front end of a project (by sending notices), you can save yourself and your company a significant amount of time, money, and headaches, if a payment issue were to arise on the project at some point later on.
In the following post, we’re going to dig into this topic a little bit more. And so without any further ado, here are three reasons why you should be sending voluntary notices.
1. The Property Owner May Not Know Who You Are
Construction projects are messy, complicated affairs. Since the general contractor typically is the only project participant with a direct relationship to the owner, that leaves most of the other parties on the project without a direct relationship to this pivotal project player – the party that controls all of the money! (See illustration, below.)
While the specific lien laws in your state may not require you to notify the property owner of your presence on a job via a preliminary notice, you should want to notify the owners of your participation on the job, because they’re the folks in charge of the money. They certainly don’t want a lien filed against them, so it is in their interest to make sure you get paid. However, they can only do so if you let them know who you are and what you did on the job with a friendly notice!
2. You’ll Separate Your Company From the Pack
If a notice isn’t required, chances are most of the other contractors on the job aren’t sending it either. If you take that extra step and send notice, you will likely put yourself at the top of the list to get paid because your customer will know you’re on top of things. Even if it’s not required, sending a notice will help you differentiate yourself from the rest of your colleagues on the job and get paid first.
Don’t believe us? Check our our friend Albert’s story about the time he learned just how effective sending preliminary notices can be when you’re having trouble getting paid on a construction project!
3. Filing a Lien Is Expensive
Filing a mechanics lien requires much more time, energy and money than sending preliminary notices. In fact, filing a lien can be as much as twenty times more expensive than sending a notice, and if you need to enforce your lien, court costs and attorney’s fees can start to add up quickly. Aside from the monetary costs, liens can eat up precious time and ruin business relationships. Even if you can file a lien without sending a notice, you probably don’t want to. If you send a voluntary notice, you’re much less likely to run into payment disputes and get to a point where you actually need to file a lien.
Bottom line: the point of all this effort is NOT to file more liens – the point is to get you paid! Filing a lien is a powerful tool, but why not proactively send a notice first? If you can get paid on time without being forced to file a lien to do it, then that’s a win-win. Again, the goal here is for you to get paid! That’s the most important thing.
Talk To Us!
Every day here at Levelset, we talk to people in the construction business just like you who are looking for a way to make their payments easier. We know how busy you are, how much you have on your plate, and how confusing notice requirements and deadlines can be. Get in touch with us – we’re here to help you get paid.