Do you need a notice provider in texas

Texas has some of the most confusing preliminary notice requirements and deadlines in the US. While unnecessarily complicated, these notices are required because they create visibility to improve communication and reduce payment problems. We’ve put together a list of the best monthly notice service providers for construction businesses working in Texas.

In Texas, multiple notices need to be sent each month to document the amount that hasn’t been paid, and they must continue to be sent until the balance is paid. Not only are these documents important for creating visibility, but missing a deadline could mean the loss of lien rights on the project. 

Tracking the dates and requirements alone is confusing, but you have to also make sure the contact information you have is accurate and the notice is sent to everyone that is required to receive it. There are many services that can help you with ensuring your information is correct and your deadlines are met.

1. Levelset – levelset.com

Location: New Orleans, LA (& Austin, TX)

Founded in 2007 by construction attorneys and technologists, Levelset is headquartered in New Orleans, LA. Their large team helps thousands of contractors and suppliers every day with the preliminary notice process, project research, and more. 

You can set up an account for free on Levelset’s website and pay just for the services you need or subscribe to their full suite of services. You can always search their robust knowledge base for answers to your questions or anonymously ask for help from experts in liens and claims.

With an account, you can file a preliminary notice in TX, track contractors and suppliers and their relationships, set reminders for when notices are due, and file a lien or bond claim if needed. 

Job information, such as owner and general contractor contact information, is researched by their team for accuracy, and notices are sent based on the outstanding balances you provide. All of this is done behind the scenes, so you can get back to what you need to do to get the job done.

Regardless of your service provider, it’s important to save the delivery confirmations, so you have proof your notices were sent. Levelset tracks the delivery status of all notices and even does further research if a document is not able to be delivered.

2. CRM Lien Services – crmlsi.com

  • Location: Brea, CA
  • Year Founded: 1986
  • Chat Support? Yes
  • Reviews:
    • BirdEye – 4.7 stars, 19 reviews
    • Facebook – 5 stars, 2 reviews
    • Glassdoor – 4.8 stars, 4 reviews
  • Services
    • Preliminary Notices
    • Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • Web portal to view & track services provided

CRM has been providing construction notices for over 30 years. They pride themselves on the amount of research they put into every transaction to ensure that accurate information is obtained. “Designed after the ISO9000 quality standards, the CRM Triple Check system requires that each preliminary lien notice be reviewed by three authorized CRM Quality Control Inspectors each from different work groups within CRM,” says their website.

They’re licensed and insured, and keep their employees up-to-date on the latest laws and requirements for preliminary notices and liens in all 50 states. They have some basic FAQs about liens and notices on their website, but there isn’t a whole lot of other information available.

Anyone can go onto their website, select the form you want to create, pay by credit card, and have the service you requested performed. They also have a web portal available for tracking document statuses and creating documents online.

Pricing is not available on the website; you must inquire about an account to get that information.

3. BICA National Construction Notices – www.bicanet.com

  • Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Year Founded: 1903
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • Facebook – 1 review
  • Services
    • Preliminary Notices
    • Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • Medium-Grade Free Resources
    • Web portal to view & track services provided
    • Collections
    • Credit Reports

BICA (Building Industry Credit Association) is a long-established credit and collections company based in California that has been in business since 1903.  The organization is an “association” that began with a group of lumber suppliers banding together to exchange credit information about subcontractors. 

When it comes to preliminary notice services, BICA claims that their key advantage is their verification process, and they enumerate this process in detail on their website. Since sending notices to the incorrect party doesn’t help anyone get paid and could invalidate a lien, this is an advantage to using their service.

BICA’s website provides a summary of the notice requirements for Texas and lets you know which ones you will be required to send and when. BICA’s portal can create all the documents you need, and it will send an email reminder a few days before the deadline for each notice, so you can stay on top of your due dates.

A preliminary notice at the start of job starts at $19.50, and the monthly notices begin at $25 each. 

4. CRF Solutions Construction Notices – crfsolutions.com

  • Location: Simi Valley, CA
  • Year Founded: 1991 
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • BBB – A+ rating, 4 complaints
  • Services
    • Collections
    • Preliminary Notices
    • Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • Web portal to view & track services provided

CRF Solutions is a commercial collections agency based in Simi Valley, CA. In addition to their collection services, CRF provides preliminary notice and lien services to its customers. One of the benefits of working with CRF Solutions is that you can have collections and notice service work all in one place. 

CRF promotes its “Notice Technology” through their proprietary software, “ClientView.” When compared with other notice service providers, they are the best with regard to their software offerings and sophistication.  Their customers have access to a web-based system to manage and track all preliminary notices, mechanics lien filings, lien waivers sent, collection accounts placed, and other notices. Their software also boasts the ability to import data from accounting or other software directly into their system, reducing the chance for errors and making the process faster. 

They don’t have any specific information on their website about handling Texas notices, but their services are available nationwide. No pricing information is available publicly.

5. EasyLaw – www.easylawinc.com

  • Location: Simi Valley, CA
  • Year Founded: 1985
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • BBB – A+, 1 star – 1 review
    • BirdEye – 5 stars, 5 reviews
  • Services
    • Preliminary Notices
    • Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • Web portal to view & track services provided
    • Collections

EasyLaw was started by a California attorney in 1985 to help his clients get paid faster, and 30+ years later it is still going strong. EasyLaw is upfront about its services and its pricing – no hidden fees here. 

Like many of the other services in this list, it provides preliminary notices and lien filing services, including property research. They have a 20-step process for validating the information and sending preliminary notices, which includes using “telephone calls, online public records, and specialized property records programs available to Easy Law.” 

Records are reviewed by multiple people to make sure the information is accurate and complete, and delivery is tracked and investigated if documents are returned or not delivered for any reason.

There is some state-specific free information available on the website, but most of it is general. They claim more detailed info is available if you become a client and use their web portal.

Preliminary notices start at $31.50, and liens are $350. Added fees include recording, notary, or postage fees.

6. Attorneys

Using an attorney that practices law in Texas is probably the best way to ensure that all the documentation is done properly, but it can also be the most expensive way to preserve your lien rights and collect payments – taking a hit on your bottom line. 

Costs for researching data, creating documents, and then sending them out will run at least $100 per notice, and you will still need to track down who your notices must be sent to, the amounts owed, and when they need to be sent. 

In addition, finding a good, trustworthy attorney can be difficult. If you know one, or can get a referral for one, that’s the best way to go. There are tons of websites that provide lawyer referrals, and each site will give you a different list, so it’s hard to know who to use. You can also check with your state bar association and ask for a referral.

7. Lien Professor and Lien Guru – lienprofessor.com and lienguru.com

  • Location: Southlake, TX
  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • BBB – A+, no reviews or complaints (Lien Professor)
  • Services
    • Preliminary Notices
    • Lien & Bond Claim Filing

These websites are both sponsored by Lovein Ribman, a law firm in Southlake, TX. Lien Professor offers a downloadable package that provides all the forms required for filing preliminary notices and liens in Texas for $149.99. These are professionally designed forms; all you need to do is perform the research, fill out the forms, send them out, and track their receipt. 

Lien Professor’s package provides information on the filing procedures in Texas, guides to the state laws, and resources to make sure everything is done correctly. If you have a question or problem, you are invited to contact the firm through the site.

Lien Guru only provides information about Texas lien laws and does not have any forms or downloads available. It’s basically just a means of getting in contact with the law firm. If you have a payment issue, you can get a free consultation to see what your options are and pay just for the services you need.

8. DIY – Taking your monthly notices in-house

Another option is to make all the preliminary notices in-house and pay staff to perform the research, document preparation, mailing, and receipt tracking. Depending on how much work you do in Texas, this may mean a part-time position or a whole department dedicated to tracking and protecting your lien rights.

If you’re just starting out in Texas, getting the right notice forms is the first step. You may be able to get these for free from various websites or through your attorney. Once you have the correct forms, your staff should be able to fill them out, print the required number of copies, and get them ready for mailing in about 15-20 minutes per notice (including research time). 

It’s difficult to track all the required notices, especially on multiple projects, without the assistance of software or some sort of organization system. You can design your own system, have software custom-designed for you, or use existing services, such as Levelset. Accurate job information and deadlines are important details to keep in mind when filing documents in Texas, so make sure whatever process you use has features to help you track and verify them.

What does a Texas preliminary notice service do?

While some services can provide you with document automation, integrations, or even read receipts, there are three must-have services that you should look for in a preliminary notice service: research, speed, and tracking.

Research – The company should provide research services to ensure that notices are sent to the correct parties. Having incorrect information could delay delivery of a notice or even invalidate a lien claim. Research should include database research as well as old-fashioned phone calls to verify that information is correct.

Speed – If you are paying a service and find that the process is slower than doing it yourself, you have the wrong service. They should expedite your process, make sure deadlines are met, and free you up to focus on business needs – not notices and payment issues.

Tracking – Meeting deadlines is vitally important in maintaining lien rights in Texas. Knowing when second- and third-month notices are due can be confusing when you have multiple projects going on. Reminders of when notices need to be created and sent and tracking receipt of those notices are important to keep your lien rights intact.

How to talk to your boss about using a preliminary notice service

Management may first need to know that there are measurable benefits to sending preliminary notices, and that there are resources to help roll out this new process to your team. In Texas, subcontractors and suppliers are required to send notices of unpaid balances in order to preserve their lien rights, so preliminary notices are necessary to help ensure payment. Why? Because these notices are designed to create visibility and prevent payment problems to begin with.

The more work you do in Texas, the more notices you will need to send. Levelset’s SET methodology explains how notices (whether they’re required or not) can help you create visibility on a job. The visibility this methodology creates helps ensure that your company will be paid for the work or materials you provide on a job.

Companies that are seen on a job, i.e. file a preliminary notice, will be paid faster than those who do not. Owners and general contractors want to make sure projects are free from liens and bond claims, so they prioritize payment to companies who file preliminary notices. Many companies have found their payment timelines cut in half just by filing preliminary notices at the start of jobs.

Due to the effect these notices have on visibility and payment speed, more and more companies are filing them. Companies today say notices are “just a part of doing business” – and therefore use them on every job.

If you have more questions about using a service for your Texas preliminary notices, you can always contact us. Payment help is here.