construction-payment-best-practices

Accountants, office managers, or other administrative professionals in the construction industry & 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. This is why many companies turn to third-party preliminary notice services and tools to help get the notice process right.

Sending and managing preliminary notices is an important task that helps you protect your lien rights, but can be tedious and complicated. 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 may be some 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.

Deciding Between Preliminary Notice Service Providers

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. 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.

1) Customer & employee reviews

Look at third-party sites like TrustPilot, Glassdoor, Google, and others. Customer reviews are important, but don’t forget to see what current and former employees say about the company, too. If the people handling your preliminary notices aren’t happy at work, they’re less likely to care about your documents.

2) Research & fact-checking capabilities

Accuracy is critical for preliminary notices and other payment documents. It can be difficult to find information about the construction project or other construction parties on the jobsite. Make sure that the service provider you choose has the staff, resources, and tools to do research, verify the information you provide, and fix mistakes.

3) Related services

Sending preliminary notice is an important step in the payment process, but it’s just one step in a bigger process. Choose a service provider that can handle payment documents in every phase of a construction project – and not just filing mechanics lien notices. Do they track your deadlines for you? Can they help you submit pay applications? Invoice reminders? Demand letters? The more tools you have at your disposal, the more protected you are from non-payment.

4) Educational resources

A good preliminary notice service provider should be a partner, helping you find ways to do your job more effectively, offer some legal advice, and speed up payment. You want to partner with a service provider that knows the industry well, and provides tools and resources that you can actually use. Look at their website, read their blog, and see how much educational content you can find. If they’re not producing content regularly, can you really trust them to stay on top of law changes or industry trends that could affect your payment rights or right to lien?

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 & material 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.

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:
    • 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).

What’s more…

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 notice forms, 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

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. This 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 property 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.

What’s More…

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 mechanics 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:
  • 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).


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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:
  • 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 material suppliers looking for help with preliminary notices.


10. Accurate Lien Preliminary Notices

Website homepage for Accurate Lien Notices - our review

  • Location: Mesa, Arizona
  • Year Founded: 1993 (as per BBB)
  • Employees: 4 (as per LinkedIn)
  • Chat Support? No
  • Reviews:
  • Services
    • √ Preliminary Notices
    • √ Lien Claim & Bond Claim Filing
    • √ Limited free resources
    • √ Web portal to view & track services provided

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 material 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 and stay on top of your preliminary notice requirements.

Summary
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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