construction-payment-best-practices

Accountants, office managers, or other administrative professionals in the construction & building supply industry are often tasked with managing lien waivers for their company. “Managing lien waivers” can mean a number of different things. Some companies mostly have to generate and send lien waivers upon request as a pre-requisite to getting paid (read about this in our Ultimate Guide to Lien Waivers). Other companies mostly have to track all the contractors & suppliers on a job and collect lien waivers from them before making any payments (read about this in our How to Handle Requesting & Tracking Lien Waivers).  And oftentimes, companies are in the middle, and have to juggle both workflows.

In any of these events, the lien waiver process is a critical one for the business. It sits right in the middle of the payment process, and that means everyone’s cash is at stake.  In the construction space — where payment is notoriously slow and cash flow is tricky — getting lien waivers handled right, and handled fast, is important.

The lien waiver process is important…but it’s also tedious and complicated. This is why an increasing number of companies are turning to lien waiver software to help get the process right.

If lien waivers are on your plate, you’ll want to research the different solutions to find the best fit for your company’s unique and important needs.

At Levelset, we help thousands of contractors and suppliers across the country with their lien waiver processes (and making payments faster!), but we understand you still want to consider all of your options before selecting a partner. In fact, it’s extremely common for companies to ask us a question like, “If we don’t use Levelset, who would you recommend?” And further, there are some clear circumstances when Levelset is not the right solution for a business and their specific needs.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best lien waiver software tools available to contractors and suppliers, and provide this guide to help you decide how to best handle lien waivers at your company.

The Top 5 Construction Lien Waiver Apps & Tools

The 5 best lien waiver applications (a/k/a construction waiver tools, online lien waiver software, etc.) listed here are in no particular order.

To make this list, the lien waiver solution must claim to help companies with their entire lien waiver process and be more than simply a document generation and field-merging tool. Further, the solution must be the company’s core solution, and not something made available through a partnership. We will softly explore these alternative types of tools further down in this article (see: Different Types of Solutions You May Encounter or Consider).

And now, without further ado…

1. lienwaivers.io

  • Location: Sioux City, Iowalienwaivers.io-lien-waiver-software
  • Year Founded: 2016 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 11 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? Not clear from website
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • X  Research Job Stakeholders
    • X Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • X Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    •   Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms

Discussion & Review:
Lienwaivers.io is a fairly new company (founded in 2016) with its operations coming out of small-town Sioux City, Iowa. This is a really great group that really cares about solving the construction industry’s lien waiver and payment problem.  You can see this in their mission statement, which explains that “[w]e come to work every day because we want to bring innovative software solutions to the construction industry,” and that they are “dedicated to eliminating paperwork and getting contractors paid faster.”  At Levelset, we can definitely get behind that!

The founding team at lienwaivers.io has a background in construction and finance. This is really great because the founding team really understands the problem that they are trying to solve with the product.

And their product is a good and capable solution for contractors who are requesting and tracking lien waivers from subcontractors. Especially if your company is using Procore for project management, or Quickbooks or Sage for accounting.  In this case, because of lienwaivers.io’s integrations with these platforms, this is a tool that can be easily hooked into your existing lien waiver and payment workflows to optimize your processes.

This team is working diligently on their product offerings, and therefore, we’ve seen the product continue to improve and mature over time and expect this to continue. Their product lacks much support for companies whose pain points are in managing the lien waivers that need to be sent, does not offer many features to help its users with their own payment and lien rights, and while the team is likely responsive to their customers, the support they offer to customers is unclear from their website. Editors note: since publishing this article, lienwaivers.io has been acquired by Built Technologies.


2. BuilderTrend

  • Location:  Omaha, Nebraska
    builder-trend-lien-waiver-tools
  • Year Founded: 2006 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 400 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support?  Yes!
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • X  Research Job Stakeholders
    • X Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • X Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • ? Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    • ? Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • X Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • X Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • X Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms

Discussion & Review:
BuilderTrend nearly didn’t make this list because it isn’t technically “lien waiver software.”  Instead, it’s a full-suite project management and ERP system. You’ll be hard pressed to buy BuilderTrend software to help you with lien waivers. Instead, you’ll likely need to buy some broader packaging of the software, and the wavier functionality will be included. This makes it difficult to examine for the purposes of this article.  Nevertheless, it’s included in the list because the waiver functionality and features is more robust than any other project management or ERP solution we’ve examined. It’s included because it appears to be one of the most competent ERPs & project management systems for lien waiver management.

Though it has good waiver features, it’s still one of the least competent lien waiver products when compared with the other more specific, and more competent, tools examined in this article. Further, while BuilderTrend has over 1000 reviews on Capterra, which is terrific, the software is pretty robust and widespread and so it’s kind of tricky to figure out what users think about the lien waiver functionality. We did a quick search for the word “waiver” in the past 1.5 years of reviews and could only find one result. Stephanie I., a controller at a mid-sized real estate company who used the software for 1-2 years had waivers listed in their “cons” about the company, saying “Unable to get signatures on additional lien waivers. Time it takes to push from BT to QB – during billing there is a long delay. Constant circle of death…


3. Oracle Textura

  • Location:  Deerfield, ILoracle-textura-lien-waiver-software
  • Year Founded: 2004 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 84 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support?  Unclear
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • X  Research Job Stakeholders
    • X Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • X Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • X Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    • Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • X Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • X Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms

Discussion & Review:
Oracle Textura’s Construction Payment Management product is a clear major player in the construction payment space, and one of their killer and key features is to help with the tricky timing and process of exchanging unconditional lien waivers and payment. The Textura product is used by some of the biggest contractors in the world and helps with the payment and lien waiver exchange process on some of the biggest projects in the world. At its core, Textura is a lien waiver software product, as it helps its users send and receive lien waivers simultaneously with payment.

It’s quite possible you’re already familiar with Textura because you’ve worked on a project where you were required to use Textura to get paid. Textura’s business model sells to general contractors & property developers, who in-turn require their subcontractors to use & pay for the Textura product as a condition of the contract.

As a lien waiver solution, Textura has a key competency of helping general contractors keep track of the waivers required for a project, and to get unconditional waivers in-hand before money goes out of the door. This is a highly desired outcome for property developers and general contractors, and Textura is a good solution for this. Textura uses a waiver/cash escrowing system that gathers unconditional waivers before payment is released to the subcontractors. This works smoothly for subcontractors, but can be a trickier proposition for sub-tiers since sub-tiers cannot always be forced to use the Textura system in the same way that subs are.

Textura is a good tool with a strong value proposition to big contractors working on big projects, as it provides a full payment and lien waiver solution for a job. The drawbacks include that Textura (especially after the Oracle acquisition) is not optimal for small and mid-sized jobs & contractors, requires full adoption by everyone on the project to fully present its benefits, doesn’t offer a compelling solution for sub-tier waiver collection, and fails to help contractors and suppliers with their own payment and lien rights.


4. GL (Greenlight) Compliance Solutions

  • Location:  San Marcos, CAgl-greenlight-compliance-lien-waiver-tracking
  • Year Founded: 2012 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 3 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support?  No
  • Reviews:
    • None could be found
  • Services
    • X  Research Job Stakeholders
    • X Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • X Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • X Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    • Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • ? Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • ? Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • ? Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms

Discussion & Review:
GL (or Greenlight) Compliance is a small company in the lien waiver software space that offers a desktop on-premise software product with a comprehensive set of features to help general contractors manage lien waiver compliance, as well as a number of other compliance items (i.e. insurance tracking, certified payroll, etc). There is a “Vendor Web Portal” that can be utilized by users of the software to enable GL Compliance users to interact with their vendors, such as to send a request for lien waiver signatures to a third party vendor.

This is a small company without much information out there about their product. We were unable to find any third party review sites with a review of GL Compliance. The system appears to be pretty comprehensive and a great solution for its users, but ultimately, being an on-premises solution is a drawback.


5. GC Paygc-pay-lien-waiver-software

  • Location: Richmond, VA
  • Year Founded: 2002 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 10 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support?  No
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • X  Research Job Stakeholders
    • X Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • X Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • X Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    • Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • ? Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • ? Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms

Discussion & Review:
GCPay is a well-established and respected player in the construction payment technology world. Its product is a pretty close competitor to Oracle Textura’s CPM tool, is geared to general contractors, and promises to help general contractors with the process of requesting, tracking, and collecting lien waivers.  Despite being around since 2002, the company is rather small (~10 employees according to LinkedIn), but they have a great reputation and can be considered a steady product offering in this space.

Last year, GCPay was acquired by Zuuse, an Australian based project management and construction ERP platform. And last year, they also announced a partnership with AvidExchange.  The positives is that GCPay is a full-solution for general contractors to help them manage the painful waiver collection process and combine that process with the payment transaction itself. The drawbacks are that this solution is squarely a general contractor tool while the lien waiver exchange process involves a variety of stakeholders in the payment chain, and since it’s a close alternative to Textura, also shares in some of its drawbacks.


Comparing Levelset to the Top 5

Levelset preliminary notice services reviews

  • Location: New Orleans, LA (& Austin, TX)
  • Year Founded: 2007
  • Employees: 150+
  • Chat Support? Yes
  • Reviews:
  • Services:
    •   Research Job Stakeholders
    • Help Protects Your Lien & Payment Rights
    • Lien Waiver Legal Resources
    • Generate & Send Lien Waivers based on A/R
    •   Request Lien Waivers based on A/P
    • Track & Collect Lien Waivers
    • Collect & Track Lien Waivers from Sub-Tiers
    • Workflows to Automate Lien Waiver Process
    • Track Preliminary Notices Received
    • Makes Waivers Easy with Electronic Signatures
    • Integrate with Accounting & Project Management Platforms
    • √ Preliminary Notices
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • Expert Center Q&A
    • Free Online Payment Help Resources 
    • √ Full-Featured Software to manage prelims, lien waivers, pay applications, liens, and more (for GCs, Subs, Suppliers)

Discussion & Review:
Levelset, founded in 2007 by construction attorneys and technologists, is headquartered in New Orleans, LA, and has a team of over 150 that helps thousands of contractors and suppliers every day with the sending, receiving, requesting, tracking, and managing lien waivers, preliminary notices, lien rights, project & stakeholder research, and more. The company has been building its lien waiver software now for over 12 years, and is always there for its users, as reflected in the 800+ 5-Star reviews published on reputable, third-party sites.

Contact us to learn more about how Levelset can help you with lien waivers.


Different Types of Solutions You May Encounter or Consider

This post reviews 5 of the best lien waiver software products in the market today, and as explained in the introduction, to make this list, the lien waiver solution must claim to help companies with their entire lien waiver process and be more than simply a document generation and field-merging tool.

But lien waivers are sent, requested, and received tons and tons of times every day in a variety of ways. Contractors, developers, lenders, and suppliers across the country use all kinds of tools, processes, hacks, and more to deal with these docs. In the big scheme of things, it’s actually quite uncommon for a formal lien waiver app or tool to be used…and so, you may encounter or consider some alternative ways to handle lien waivers.  Here’s a brief overview of some of these.

Capabilities In Your Existing Software Financial or Accounting Software Like Sage or Quickbooks

Tons of contractors and suppliers use non-construction software to manage their finances and accounting processes. The trouble, of course, is that the construction payment process is extremely bespoke and just isn’t the same as someone selling retail, wholesale, or otherwise.

Mostly, contractors and suppliers are left to handle the construction-specific elements of accounting — like preparing pay application and sending or tracking lien waivers — outside of their financial systems. This mostly means doing it by hand.

In the past few years, general accounting systems who have a big construction industry customer base (such as Quickbooks & Sage) have begun to offer some construction-specific functionality. This includes lien waivers. But, unfortunately, the lien waiver features are usually quite basic, and amount to some sort of form generating tool.

The good news is that general accounting software is increasingly becoming cloud-based and works well with other tools. Lien waiver software solutions, like Levelset, offer integrations with Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop, Sage 100, and Sage 300, all of which make it easy to get the best of both worlds: a great accounting system, and great controls to manage your lien waiver processes.

Capabilities In Your Existing Construction Software or Project Management Software Like Procore, Autodesk, or Red Team

Many general contractors have sophisticated construction software solutions to help them manage many elements of the job. Most of these applications, however, started as design, project management, or field tools, and relied on generic accounting software tools to manage the finances.

This left contractors and suppliers with a gap, whereby project management and project documentation was happening in one place, but construction finances were happening in another…and the two worlds, while extremely connected in practice, didn’t speak well to one another.

In the past few years, the leading general contractor construction software tools have begun to offer some financial tools. Since lien waivers are such a key part of the financial flows for construction firms, some lien waiver functionality was included. But, unfortunately again, the lien waiver features are usually quite basic in these platforms.

And frequently, they depend significantly on third-party plugins and partnerships. Lien waiver solutions, like Levelset, offer integrations and connections into RedTeam, Procore, and Autodesk, all of which make it easy to get the best of both worlds: a great construction software & project management system, and great controls to manage your lien waiver processes.

When Working with Lender Tools Like Land Gorilla, Built, or Rabbet

Construction lenders are beginning to use web-based tools to help administer the construction loan and draw request process. Examples of these software platforms are Land Gorilla, Built, and Rabbet.  While these platforms typically sell directly to the construction lenders, it’s common for lenders to require the borrowers (i.e. property owners) and general contractors to use the tool for submitting construction pay applications.   And similarly, for general contractors to make the same requests to their subcontractors, and so on.

Gathering lien waivers from all subcontractors and suppliers is a critical task for construction lenders when processing draw requests. These construction loan platforms have some capabilities around collecting lien waivers. The lien waiver functionality can be quite sparse, however, since it’s only a small piece to the full loan platform.  Frequently, as is the case with Levelset & it’s integration with Land Gorilla, construction lenders can get the best of both worlds:  a great loan management tool, and great controls to manage the full lien waiver process.

Through Generic Tools Like Dropbox, Rocket Lawyer, or DocuSign

Finally, a great number of contractors and property developers use generic tools and software products to help administer the lien waiver process.  Some popular options are using Dropbox or DocuSign, which can help with document management and electronic signature, or something

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The 5 Best Lien Waiver Software Apps & Tools: Reviews & Ratings
Article Name
The 5 Best Lien Waiver Software Apps & Tools: Reviews & Ratings
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We've compiled a list of the 5 best lien waiver software apps & tools across the country for contractors and suppliers to help you make the best decision.
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Levelset
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