construction-payment-best-practices

Who are the best preliminary notice services out there for contractors and suppliers?

Accountants, office managers, or other administrative professionals in the construction & building supply industry are often tasked with managing their company’s preliminary notice process. This is a crucial process that can seriously impact the company’s bottom line (and your job!), and so managing this process well is serious business.

Sending and managing preliminary notices is an important task, but can be tedious and complicated. This is why many companies turn to third-party services and tools to help get the notice process right.

If construction notices are on your plate, you’ll want to research the different companies who can help 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 preliminary notice processes (and getting paid 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 10 best preliminary notice services across the country, and provide this guide to help you decide how to best handle preliminary notices at your company.

The Top 10 Preliminary Notice Services

The 10 best preliminary notice services (a/k/a pre-lien services, prelim services, and notice services) listed here are in no particular order. Unfortunately, as you’ll see in this list, many preliminary notice services are quite small and unsophisticated operations.

To make this list, the notice service must claim to help contractors & suppliers with their notice processes all across the country. Most preliminary notice services actually serve a limited region or locale, and these are excluded from this list. For a regional-specific ranking, you’ll want to view our regional listings (i.e. Top Prelim Services in California, Top Notice Services in Arizona, Top Notice Providers in Texas, and Top NTO Services in Florida).

And now, without further ado…

1. BICA National Construction Notices

BICA Preliminary Notice Homepage and reviews

  • Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Year Founded: 1903 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 7 (as per LinkedIn, 30 per their website)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • BICA on Facebook (2 reviews)
    • No other review sites found
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notices
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Medium-Grade Free Resources
    • √ Web portal to view & track services provided
    • √ Collections
    • √ Credit Reports
    • √ Credit Meetings

Discussion & Review:
BICA (Building Industry Credit Association) is a long-established credit & collections group based in California that has been in business since 1903!  The organization is an “association” that — according to the history on their website — began with a group of lumber suppliers banding together to exchange credit information about subcontractors. Today, BICA has preliminary notice services and web-based tools to help communicate with their “members,” but the association is still true to its roots of helping with credit management pains. In their “about” page, for example, they claim to be focused on providing a “program to augment your credit department.”

When it comes to preliminary notice services, BICA claims that their key advantage is that “they verify,” and enumerates in detail on their website their “preliminary notice verification process.”   Though BICA has been around for over 100 years, it’s actually quite surprising how little information is out there about this group.  It’s LinkedIn page shows only 7 employees (i.e. they claim >30), and they don’t have any reviews or profiles with common platforms like Yelp, BBB, Owler, Glassdoor, or Comparably (that we could find).

BICA recently renovated their company’s full website to provide more information about their preliminary notice & lien services, and also to increase the free resources and information offered. According to the press release, “[t]he new site also includes a blog with expert level content on contractor’s liens, contractor’s licenses, and highly detailed end-of-year legislative reports for California and other states.”

We’ve met the president of BICA, Andrea Parisi, and know the group there at BICA.  BICA is a good, reputable company with a long history and good leadership.


2. CRF Solutions Construction Notices

CRF Solutions & Preliminary Notice Reviews / Homepage

Discussion & Review:
CRF Solutions is a well-established commercial collections agency based in Simi Valley, CA. In addition to their collection services, CRF provides “preliminary notice and lien management services” to its customers. Though you can likely use one service (i.e. notices) without the other (i.e. collections), one of the benefits of working with CRF Solutions is that its customers can have collections & notice service work all in one place.  However, of course, companies may be hesitant about using a “collections” approach to preliminary notices, which aren’t a “collections” or even a “credit” device.

For its preliminary notice services, CRF Solutions promotes that it provides its customers with “Notice Technology” through its proprietary software product, “ClientView.”  Certainly, when compared with other notice service providers, CRF Solutions is at the top of the heap with regard to their software offerings and sophistication.  Their customers will have access to a web-based system to manage and track all preliminary notices, and will even be able to manage mechanic lien filings, lien waivers sent, collection accounts placed, and others.

We’ve met a few of the leaders at CRF Solutions and they appear to be a good, reputable group. CRF’s technology is more sophisticated than your average collection agency, and though they are not a technology company, they work hard to keep their offerings current to customers. They have a lot of experience in construction notice services.


3. NCS Credit & Collections & Preliminary Notices

Homepage at NCS Credit & Reviews of Notice Services

  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • Year Founded: 1970 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 45 (as per Owler) / 50+ per LinkedIn
  • Chat Support?  Yes!
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • √ Collections
    • √ UCC Filings
    • √ Credit Monitoring
    • √ Credit Reports
    • √ Preliminary Notices
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filings
    • √ Medium-grade free resources
    • √ Web portal to view & track services provided

Discussion & Review:
NCS Credit is an established and reputable commercial collection agency based in Cleveland, Ohio, that also offers nationwide preliminary notice services. According to its website and social profiles, NCS Credit was founded in 1970, and is a family-run business (the Cowan family).

NCS Credit offers a wide variety of credit, collection, and security services for companies across the United States. The breadth of their services is one thing that distinguishes their offerings. While here we review/focus on the company’s “preliminary notice services,” NCS Credit also helps companies with many credit management needs such as UCC filings, UCC monitoring and searches, collections, credit reports, credit monitoring, and more.

NCS has been providing preliminary notice services to companies across the United States for quite some time. Unlike many notice services, NCS has a competent technology offering, which gives its customers access to a web-based system to manage the preliminary notices. Though you can go to NCS for help with preliminary notices and notice to owners alone, one of the benefits of working with NCS is that they can help with some other needs.  Of course, some companies may be hesitant about using a “collections” approach to preliminary notices, which aren’t a “collections” or even a “credit” device.

Another distinguishing offering from NCS is its focus on education.  Jerry Bailey, NCS’s long term Education Manager (since 1995!!), does a terrific job of educating credit professionals across the United States at conferences, NCS-thrown events, and more. They focus a lot of their educational content and efforts on lien law trainings, UCC trainings, collection best practices, and more.

NCS is a good, reputable company that offers preliminary notice services nationwide. The company is ultimately a credit and collection agency, and this may give some companies pause before selecting them. Further, while they have been doing business since 1970 and are well-established, it’s a bit surprising that there is so little third-party/reputable information about NCS on the Internet (i.e. thin Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, Indeed, etc. reviews).


4. Asset Research Nationwide Notice Service

Asset Research Nationwide Notice Service Website

  • Location: Chandler, Arizona
  • Year Founded: 1987 (as per BBB)
  • Employees: 3 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • Asset Research Google Reviews (1 star on 1 review)
    • Asset Research on BBB (0 reviews / 0 complaints)
    • No other review sites found
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notices
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • X No free resources
    • √ Web portal to view & track services provided

Discussion & Review:
Asset Research Services offers help with preliminary notices across the United States. Based in Chandler, Arizona, the company appears to be quite small (~3 employees on LinkedIn), although they’ve been in business since 1987.  Despite being a circa-1980s company, they claim to have “cutting edge technology” that they couple with their preliminary notice and mechanic’s lien services, and they advertise that their technology can help companies automate their preliminary notice processes.


5. Levy Von Beck Preliminary Notices

preliminary notices from Levy Von Beck - Homepage & Reviews

  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Year Founded: 1983 (per website)
  • Employees: 11 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • √ Law Firm / Legal Representation
    • √ Preliminary Notice Services
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Medium grade Lien Law Resources
    • X Web portal to view & track services provided

Discussion & Review:
Levy von Beck is a full-service construction law firm based in Seattle, Washington, with a stellar reputation and great experience handling construction disputes, transactions, and other legal matters. In connection with their law practice, Levy von Beck offers preliminary notice services and credit and collection services.

One option for companies trying to manage preliminary notices is to use an attorney or law firm instead of a preliminary notice service. There are pros and cons to this approach (discussed below), but working with Levy Von Beck may provide some benefits from both approaches, as they are a law firm that also has a preliminary notice service.  The drawbacks here is that the service still operates within & as a law firm (which contains some cons), and the technology offerings from this group is really, really thin (after all, they are a law firm!).

Nevertheless, we’ve met the good folks at Levy Von Beck through the years and know they offer a great, high-quality service. Unlike other preliminary notice services, there is a lot of social proof about Levy Von Beck (i.e. Avvo, LinkedIn, etc.), and as attorneys, their ethics are regulated by state bar associations.


6. Nationwide Notice Services

Nationwide Notice Website & Review of Services

Discussion & Review:
Nationwide Notices is based in Lake Worth, Florida, was founded in 2011, and appears to have less than 10 employees.  The company offers preliminary notice services, and promotes on its website that it has the “most Comprehensive, Robust, Feature Rich and User Friendly Noticing Management Tool.”

Though Nationwide Notice appears to offer preliminary notice services across the country and a web-based notice management tool for customers, there is very little reliable information about the company available online (such as third party review sites). Further, in their short history, the company has encountered at least 2 lawsuits alleging theft of intellectual property (see, for example, this suit against them by the National Association of Credit Management).


7. Tradition Notice Services

Tradition Notice Services Website & Reviews

  • Location: Warrenville, Illinois
  • Year Founded: 2005 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 1 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • No review sites found
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notice Services
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Web portal to view & track services provided
    • √ Desktop Software to manage notices & waivers
    • √ Medium-grade free resources on lien and notice rules

Discussion & Review:
Tradition Lien & Notice Services, and it’s companion company Tradition Software, were established in 2005 and has 1 employee. This is a small company offering software-based solutions with a layer of services.  The operation was founded and is operated by Craig Altman, who has a background in lien, notice, and lien waiver software as a veteran of Lien Writer. This company’s technology is used by a number of companies. We’ve met Craig over the years and know that him and his operation care a great deal about their customers and users, and although the operation is small and support for the software is a constant demand (especially the on-premise software), Traditional Notice Services is a reliable, reputable company that has been helping contractors and suppliers for almost 15 years. Nevertheless, there is very little reputable third-party information and reviews (i.e. Yelp, Glassdoor, Google reviews, etc.) about these companies to help people decide whether this is the right solution for them.


8. Caprenos Preliminary Notice Service

Caprenos Notice Services Reviews & Information

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Year Founded: 1978 (as per BBB)
  • Employees: 19 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notice Services
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Basic software to request, view, & track services provided
    • X No free resources

Discussion & Review:
Caprenos is a preliminary notice service based in San Diego, California, that has been doing business since 1978, and currently has about 19 employees.  The company’s website appears to be pretty basic and old (it’s copyright notice still says 2012!!), however, the company’s notice services is well-established in the industry, as they have been at it for contractors and suppliers for over 40 years.  While the company has been in business for over 40 years, it is a bit surprising that there is so little information on the Internet about them, doing business with them, and/or working for them.  There are 3 Google reviews available online, but otherwise, reputable, third-party reviews of the service are lacking.


9. Titan Lien Services

titan lien service homepage view and reviews

  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Year Founded: 2000 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Employees: 4 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
    • Titan Lien Service on Google Reviews (3.0 based on 6 reviews)
    • Titan Lien reviews on BBB (1 Complaint & C+ on BBB)
    • No review sites found
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notice Services
    • √ Lien & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Web-based portal to request, view, & track services provided
    • X No free resources

Discussion & Review:
Titan Lien Services, founded in 2000 and with approximately 4 employees, is a preliminary notice and lien service based in Scottsdale, AZ.  The company was previously sold/owned by “CreditSuppliers” and Atlas44, which was recently sold to Austin-based construction financing solution, Billd.  Though there is not much information online from reputable third-party sources about Titan Lien, this is a service that has been helping contractors and suppliers for quite some time (since 2000). We have met the folks over at Billd (the new owners of Titan Lien Services) and know that they are a great, highly reputable group.  Titan Lien’s construction services include sending and tracking preliminary notices nationwide, helping with lien & bond claim filings, and offering users an online portal to help them keep these matters organized. The company also does medical lien management, but this likely isn’t relevant to contractors and suppliers looking for help with preliminary notices.


10. Accurate Lien Preliminary Notices

Website homepage for Accurate Lien Notices - our review

Discussion & Review:
Accurate Lien has been in business since 1993. This kind of longevity is always great to see. The owner, Laurin Hendrix, has a background in lawmaking in Arizona, has been doing this for quite some time, and in a small group like Accurate Lien, will likely be personally available to you.


Comparing Levelset To The Top 10

Levelset preliminary notice services reviews

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 preliminary notice process, project research, and more. The company has been building its technology platform and preliminary notice services 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 preliminary notices.

How To Decide Between Preliminary Notice Service Providers

Now that you have a bunch of information, reviews, and details about some of the top preliminary notice service providers in the country, you may be scratching your head wondering: how do I decide?

If you are responsible for establishing or improving the preliminary notice process for your company, you want to be really careful here. Preliminary notices are important to your company’s bottom line, and the last thing you want to do is wind up with egg on your face because you made the mistake of choosing a company that had clear problems. Further, if you are a business owner, CFO, or supervisor, you want to make sure you have a reputable, quality company in your corner to help you with this process.

Here are a few things that may help you compare and contrast different notice services.

1. Look At Social & Internet Proof

It’s 2019!  If you can’t find a lot of information online about any company or service, you ought to proceed with extreme caution. The lack of information about a company is a signal that they aren’t doing enough business to show up on the grid, or they are actively working to keep themselves off the grid. These are both potential problems.

In the past, companies could completely control the conversation about their business and bombard you with “testimonials” and “case studies.”  These can still be sometimes useful, but it’s much more valuable to consult with third-party review sites like TrustPilot, Google, Facebook, Yelp, and others.  Another useful place to look for insights into a company is at reviews from their employees on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Comparably. This will give you more insights into how the company operates and is run. After all, it is these employees who will have your business’ financial fate in their hands!

You can also look at the company’s social media presence, on pages like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Look for activity.  Compare the company’s activity, employee base, etc. against their claims on their website or in their sales material.

The last thing you want to do is run into a problem with a preliminary notice service and then discover some obvious warning signs. There are many “fly-by-night” services out there. And further, some of the older services are being quickly disrupted, and they are going out of business…which could leave you in a bind!

2. How Is The Support & Service

When evaluating preliminary notice services & construction notice companies, consider the company’s service and support.  This is important for 2 key reasons:

  1. You will be interacting with them;
  2. Your customers will be interacting with them.

A good way to assess a notice company’s customer relations is to call customer support and see how they interact with their customers. Or to use their chat features (although only 1 of our Top 10 preliminary notice services has a chat feature — NCS Credit).

Is the service good? Are the representatives friendly and approachable? Do they make callers or chatters feel comfortable? Because a construction notice service deals directly with the construction firm’s customers, it’s important for their representatives to be professional, knowledgeable, and helpful. And because they will be dealing with you!

Examine how many employees the company has. Do they have enough hands on deck to support your business and all of their other business?  Do they have a dedicated support team?

Also, where you go with technical, expert questions?  At Levelset, we offer an “Ask An Expert” center where you can ask questions to seek helpful information from payment experts and attorneys. 

However, most companies do not offer this, and you must be very careful about non-law firms that claim to offer legal advice…this is illegalIt’s a huge red flag that your notice service is sketchy. The only company in our Top 10 list that could offer legal advice is Levy Von Beck, and that’s because they are a law firm.

3. Project Research & Data Team, Tech, & Process

Preliminary notices must be sent to certain people and it must contain certain information. If it doesn’t get the information right, it may render the entire thing invalid. That defeats the purpose of sending the notice at all!  See our article on this, Research Very Important When Sending Preliminary Notice.

As a result, it’s crucial that you get your project details and project information right.  Some preliminary notice services will provide project research and verification services, and this is really important in your decision.

There are 3 elements to your evaluation here:

  1. What data does the company have access to?  If the preliminary notice company is just going to do it all manually, that’s a red flag. You want a preliminary notice service that has access to robust data sources, including proprietary data sources.  Does the company have data relationships? Do they have a data scientist or data programmers on the team? Etc.
  2. What technology will help with the project research process? The pre-lien service may brag about the “web portal” for you to track your notice order, but that’s a pretty basic offering. Get into the nitty gritty of their technology. Are they using technology to help them manage the research process and get it right?
  3. Who & How Many Are Doing Project Research?  Finally, look at the team.  If the company has 1 employee, you should have a hard time believing that they can do the project research needed to make sure your preliminary notice is done right. Preliminary notice service should have a group of people dedicated and trained to do project research.

4. Capabilities & Ease of Use

The world is moving fast and technology is changing fast. Your preliminary notice service cannot be stuck in 1975!  And, unfortunately, so many are.

It’s important to find a preliminary notice service that leverages technology to improve the preliminary notice process by increasing security and accessibility. Documents and historical records should be stored securely in the cloud, with easy access from any internet-enabled device by personnel with the right credentials. The company should rely on a reputable cloud server solution like AWS or Google, which are more secure and reliable than on-premise servers that require updates and maintenance and present security risks.

Most importantly, evaluate the capabilities of the construction notice software. How much manual attention is required? What data must be input by the construction company and what data does the notice company research? What databases or sources of information does the notice company use? What is the turnaround time between ordering a notice and it being sent? Software algorithms updated by best-in-class engineers with feedback from construction attorneys can ensure that the right notice is sent at the right time and to the right people.

Look for a software that integrates with other SAAS (software as a service) tools such as QuickBooks and Sage, and is capable of setting up custom integrations.

5. Collections v. Notice Service

It’s unfortunate, but the preliminary notice service industry was historically built by collection agencies who used the prelim process as a collections lead generator. This is unfortunate because it has given preliminary notices a bad reputation.

Many people think of these notices as a “collections tool” or credit management device. This creates problems for others on the jobsite. It creates problems for your customers!

Preliminary notices should not impact your customer relationships (in fact, it should make them better), but that certainly could not work out if your notice service gets in the way.

This more frequently is a problem when you use a collection agency to send your notices!!

From our Top 10 list, 2 are collectin agencies (NCS & CRF), and 2 others are collections-oriented (BICA, Levy Von Beck).

You want to be careful about turning preliminary notices into an adversarial moment.

6. Insurance & Safety Net

Finally, a preliminary notice service that does a poor job can leave you in a bad spot.  The above 5 items should be used to lower the chances that you get it wrong when choosing a preliminary notice service. This final #6 item, however, is there just in case.  You’ll want to make sure that your preliminary notice service is insured, and that something will be there in the event something goes wrong.  And if you can’t get comfortable with a service provider as it relates to this…then that’s a red flag!

The Alternatives To Using A Preliminary Notice Service

If you absolutely don’t want to use a preliminary notice service, here are some other options, as well as pros and cons.

Attorneys (Pros + Cons)

Some attorneys and law firms will offer help with preliminary notices. This is not especially common because the process of sending a notice is a bit small and administrative for a law firm to handle.  Firms will do it on very large projects, but you’ll likely be priced out of range if you consult with an attorney to help you do this 10 times a week, or to help you send a notice on a small job. After all, you don’t want to spend $300/hr sending a preliminary notice!

Nevertheless, sending a preliminary notice with a law firm or attorney will should make sure that it is very, very well done, and thoroughly handled. Here are some pros & cons to using a lawyer or attorney to help with your preliminary notice process:

ProsCons
  • Attorneys are thorough and should prepare and inspect your notices carefully;
  • Attorneys can give lien & notice legal advice;
  • Attorneys will carefully protect your rights on big jobs and complex situations;
  • Attorneys are governed by ethics rules, lowering the chance of dealing with a sketchy notice company.
  • Much too expensive in almost every case;
  • Many attorneys will not be willing to do such a small administrative task;
  • Sending a notice from a law firm will scare your customers and other stakeholders on the job;
  • Attorneys are not actually used to sending these notices, and therefore, could make a simple mistake.

DIY (Pros + Cons)

Another option is to do the preliminary notice process in-house, or do it yourself (DIY).  As a matter of fact, the vast majority of companies choose to do preliminary notices themselves, mostly because preliminary notice services have historically been kind of sketchy, have been run by collection agencies as a lead generator, and because of related problems. Today, the preliminary notice software & service landscape is getting better and better, and so this isn’t necessary any longer.  However, it will still be something you consider when evaluating preliminary notice services.

Here are some pros & cons to doing the pre-lien / prelim notice process yourself:

ProsCons
  • You’ll know every detail and can keep your hands on everything;
  • You will more smoothly exchange the docs with your customers and other job stakeholders, rather than using a collection agency or attorney.
  • It’s more expensive than using a service because of your time involved;
  • You may procrastinate and not get around to notices in time because of your other workload;
  • You may do something wrong, and not have anywhere to turn.

Document / Template Generation Tools (Pros + Cons)

If you do it yourself, you definitely will want to consider some tool that can help you.  At the very least, you want to be able to generate notice documents easily without having to keep track of a bunch of Microsoft word documents in a bunch of different folders.  There are a bunch of good form-filling and form management software products out there, such as RocketLawyer, and even lien & notice specific products like Tradition Software / Lien Writer.  The Levelset product can be used as a self-service DIY tool as well.

Here are some pros & cons to document & template generation tools:

ProsCons
  • Makes your DIY work easier;
  • Form & template tools will keep your preliminary notice process fairly organized;
  • It’s less expensive than full services and software suites.
  • Still more expensive (because of your time & resources) than just getting a service or other full-service solution;
  • Some of the document tools aren’t very good and are a bit lazy with their form templates.  See, for example, Rocket Lawyer’s mechanics lien forms;
  • You may still do something wrong, and not have anywhere to turn.

Not Sending Notices At All (Pros + Cons)

The final thing you could do is just not send notices at all. After all, if you don’t send preliminary notices, you won’t need a software product or a service, and you can just forget about this headache altogether.  This also has some pros & cons:

ProsCons
  • Less headache;
  • Free!;
  • You won’t have anything to mess up…
  • This ignores a best practice of sending preliminary notices;
  • You put your company and it’s cash at serious risk;
  • The benefits of sending preliminary notices far outweigh the aggravations.

Why You Need or Should Want A Notice Service To Help

Sending preliminary notices is an important task for contractors and suppliers across the United States. These notices — typically sent at the start of a construction job — help that payment process go smoother for all job participants, help you get paid faster, and in many cases are legally required. It’s a smart idea for your company to join the hundreds of thousands of contractors and suppliers who frequently send preliminary notices.

Okay.  But, why do you need a service to help?

The act of sending preliminary notices, though, can be tedious and complicated. Preliminary notice requirements vary substantially from state-to-state, and even project-to-project (see Nationwide Notice Requirements & Rules here). And managing your company’s preliminary notice process requires a lot of attention and follow-up.

This can be challenging for construction or building supply accountants, office managers, or other administrative professionals who are tasked with these duties. Having prior experience with notice processes helps, but regardless of experience, this process is tricky.

It’s a good idea to not only get the preliminary notice details out of your hands, but also to leverage technology to make sure it goes well.  Here are the 4 reasons why you need or should want a preliminary notice service or solution to help.

Managing Notices is Complicated & Nuanced

Companies and the people in charge of all the administrative work that goes into the payment process have a lot on their plate! They can greatly benefit from using software platforms to manage and optimize their notice policies. With lots of differing deadlines, and many other rules and requirements, keeping preliminary notices on track as part of a business’s credit policy is difficult. Many companies employ people for the sole purpose of checking deadlines, sending preliminary notices, and managing lien waivers…or they saddle these duties onto someone who already has a lot to do.

The truth of the matter is that that type of approach wastes both time and money.

People, while great at many things, are not as equipped to deal with the enormous amounts of specific, technical, discrete information required to manage a large number of preliminary notices. This, however, is exactly what computers and software platforms are created to do. A giant matrix of deadlines and rules can be queried instantly by software, without the need to “remember” or investigate the appropriate rules every single time. It’s just built-in. Likewise, other features like automated mailing, the ability to pull mail pieces if needed, and the ability to customize the exact workflows desired to meet a company’s notice policy needs are all additional benefits of outsourced software that in-house credit departments just can’t match.

Learn more: The Smart Technology Advantage (from Construction Business Owner).

Gain Efficiency — It’s a Waste of Time & Money to Send Notices In-House

Even if the inside department can handle the enormous amount of specific technical data and correctly process every preliminary notice based on specific and differing workflows – why should they? It is much more economical in terms of time and money to have this process outsourced and processed elsewhere.

Most of the time, if a company sends its preliminary notices at all, they will pick someone on their staff to prepare and send these notices. Whenever a notice is required, this employee has to interrupt his or her workday to figure out which notice to send, how to send it, and then to put together the notice and mailing. If the employee does it 100% correct, checking and re-checking the appropriate deadlines, mailing requirements, required recipients, and how the notice fits into the company’s overall policy, they will spend at least 15-25 minutes for each notice.

Is it worth that amount of time? Is it worth taking that employee away from things that make your company money to work on these technical and time-consuming preliminary notices?

The answer is most certainly “no”, especially in light of how much real money you can save by outsourcing. Preliminary notice services or solutions are less expensive and more efficient at handling the information and processes that overload teams. Such solutions can handle 1000s of notices and all the associated data, rules, and requirements, every day. The amount of manpower needed to accomplish the same task is large, and expensive.

Preliminary Notice Services & Solutions Are Customizable and Can Be Tailored to Your Specific Needs

Since preliminary notice services and software are so adept at dealing with the large amounts of data associated with the noticing process, it is simple for it to handle that data according to set workflow preferences. If a company wants to send preliminary notices only for projects with a certain contract value, or only send within a certain number of days from a certain deadline, or wishes to avoid sending preliminary notices to certain customers, this can all be accomplished simply and easily. Completely automating the notice process through individualized workflow settings gives your company total control over the notice process.

 You’ll Get Reporting and Insight Into Notice Performance

A useful offshoot of having complete and manageable control over preliminary notice workflows is that the relative performance with different workflows can be examined. While this can be nearly impossible to accomplish in-house, preliminary notice services and solutions allows for simple digestible A/R performance reports associated with certain notice settings. By comparing the performance of A/R in each separate workflow bucket, your company can make intelligent decisions related to its overall notice policy, and understand the impact of notice on A/R performance.

When your company’s specific performance related to preliminary notices can be determined, a notice policy can be set to maximize the return. Which, in turn, leads to better cash flow, fewer late or unpaid accounts, and a stronger bottom line.

There really are very, very few drawbacks to using a preliminary notice service.  Doing it yourself or doing this process in-house is much riskier than using a service, and it’s likely that you’ll also make trade-offs about which projects you notice because of resource and time constraints.

Conclusion & Things To Remember

Now you’re armed with all the information you need to choose a national provider of preliminary notice services. Overall, remember that the preliminary notice process is important, it’s something your company should be managing, and it’s a good idea for your company to leverage some third-party solution to help with the process. Preliminary notice services can have a bad reputation, and that’s because they have been dominated by collection agencies for decades. When examining preliminary notice services, you’ll want to be very cautious when you can’t find much information online about them.

Choosing Levelset to help you with preliminary notices will provide you with a reputable, long-established company, who have payment experts to help you all along the way.  And further, Levelset has the reputation and power in the construction industry to make things easy for your customers, for developers and lenders, and for general contractors.

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The 10 Best Nationwide Preliminary Notice Services: Reviews & Guide
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The 10 Best Nationwide Preliminary Notice Services: Reviews & Guide
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We've compiled a list of the 10 best preliminary notice services across the country for contractors and suppliers, to help you make the best decision.
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Levelset
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