Illustration sending preliminary notice with NGS logo

NGS Films and Graphics is the fastest-growing window film company in America*. They offer window film installations, graphics for retail and commercial building windows, and most recently, security films & Riot Glass to protect against building damage (3M large Markets National Dealer of the Year, 2019 and 2020).

As their customer base grows, the company’s controller, Alexa McLelland, is working hard to ensure that the company always gets paid. 

“Day to day, I’m trying to get as much cash in the door as possible for our business so that we can pay our vendors, suppliers, payroll, and all of the things associated with running a business. I’d say we do a really good job of managing all of our accounts receivable in house,” said Alexa. 

Part of the process for ensuring payments are constantly coming in is sending a preliminary notice to protect their right to file a lien in case of non payment. However, this is not a step NGS took regularly until recently. The reason they didn’t feel the need to send notices is because they rarely have customers who don’t pay.

“We’ve rarely had to write off bad debt,” explained Alexa. “And, a lot of our big clients have 90-day payment terms, so we don’t expect payment much faster than that. However, we do have those outliers that are just really slow to pay.”

While the company isn’t too concerned about non-payment, they are definitely concerned about slow payment, which affects their accounts payable.

So, sending preliminary notices (using Levelset) helps keep money coming through the door faster. Here’s how.

1. Sending a notice shows their customer that they’re serious about getting paid

A preliminary notice isn’t meant to be threatening in any way. It’s simply a way of helping to ensure payment by proving you are on a job, and asserting that you have the right to take action to get paid in case payment isn’t received. 

“When we’re sending the preliminary notices, it’s not meant to be a scare tactic,” said Alexa. “The notice shows that we’re serious, and that we’re ready to take the steps to get paid. A lot of companies answer to the notice right away. They ask for us to send the invoice again, and then within a week or two we have payment in hand.”

In fact, a construction industry survey conducted in 2019 showed that 85% of preliminary notice recipients find notices to be helpful or simply a part of conducting everyday business. 

2. Sending a notice acts as proof that they were on a job

A preliminary notice contains important information such as who you are, what material or service you provided, and who you are working for. When Alexa sends out this notice, she is providing evidence that NGS provided a service on the job.

“When I send that notice, no one can ever come back and say that they didn’t know we were on the job. Whether or not they looked at the notice, it’s there as proof,” said Alexa. 

When there is documentation of the company’s services on a job, it is more likely that their customer will prioritize paying them before others on the job who didn’t provide that notice. 

3. The notice moves things forward when they’ve hit a dead end

By sending a notice to protect their lien rights on the front end, Alexa knows there is a light at the end of the tunnel when dealing with slow payment. And, because she uses Levelset to send these notices, she has a partner to keep things moving forward with a process that is quick and simple. 

“Once we’ve hit a wall with collecting payment, and we don’t know what to do next, Levelset takes care of it,” said Alexa. “Before, when we had slow payment problems, multiple departments would have to spend time calling around to chase down payments. But now when we hit a dead end, Levelset steps in and takes it the rest of the way to make sure we’re paid.” 

Not only does Levelset make it easy for Alexa to send notices, payment reminders, or even file liens when necessary, but the system also ensures that all their paperwork is sent with the right information and to the right people. 

“We learned that in the past, we weren’t always getting the preliminary notice to the right people because we didn’t have the right information. But we started using Levelset’s Scout Research, which finds job information that we’re missing and corrects anything that we might have wrong,” said Alexa.

With Scout Ultimate, Levelset’s team of professional researchers help out with reviewing documents and tracking down hard-to-find job information.  

The lien rights process is both simple and effective when Alexa uses Levelset to make sure all paperwork is valid and sent on time.

Secure every payment for your small (but growing) business

If your business is growing, or if you want it to grow, like NGS Films and Graphics, it’s important to make sure you have a way to ensure payment from every new customer you take on. Secure payments the easy way using Levelset.

See how you can use Levelset

Discover how you can get paid faster with a personalized tour of Levelset.

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