Contractor Profiles: How payment risk and payment history is collected and calculated

Contractor payment risk is a measure of potential risk based on past payment history compared to other construction contractors.

The model used to calculate payment risk takes several things into account, including the type of slow or non-payment documents sent or filed, total number of documents exchanged, the contractors associated with slow or non-payment, and the recency of slow or non-payment.

This page will explain how payment risk is calculated, where the payment history information comes from, how reviews and ratings are collected, and how to update contractor profile information.

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Calculating Payment Risk

How Payment Risk is Calculated

Payment risk for each contractor takes into account all contractor records in our database of 3 million active projects worth over $30 billion where more than 750k documents have been exchanged.

The dynamic machine intelligence model projects payment risk by reviewing all documents exchanged in our database, grouping documents by type (e.g. payment documents such as preliminary notices and lien waivers vs. slow payment documents such as monthly notices and notices of intent to lien and non-payment documents such as mechanics liens and bond claims), analyzing the number of documents received per company, the number of users sending documents to specific contractors, and how recently slow or non-payment occurred. The model then relatively scores a contractor based off this activity compared to other contractors in the industry to assign a payment risk score of high, medium, or low.

Note for contractors: Sending a document to another contractor does not help or hurt your payment risk score. Payment risk score is calculated entirely from the documents a contractor receives.

Recency of slow or non-payment is important to risk score

The Payment Risk score also accounts for how recently slow or non-payment has occurred against the company’s lifetime of documents sent or received. This means that all things being equal, a contractor responsible for relatively more slow payment in the last 6 months will likely be rated a higher payment risk compared to contractors with slow payment 12 months ago.

Types of Documents affect payment risk score

Payment documents such as preliminary notices and lien waivers help a contractor’s payment risk score (i.e. for a lower payment risk score) as they highlight good payment practices of transparency, fairness, and commitment to avoiding slow payment.

Pro tip: If you’re a general contractor, requesting and receiving more preliminary notices and lien waivers sent to you through Levelset will help your payment risk score. You can request and receive waivers for free with Levelset. We also recommend requesting preliminary notices from others at the start of every job.

Slow payment and non-payment documents such as monthly notices and mechanics liens are likely to worsen a contractors’ risk score.

Non-payment documents will affect payment risk score more than slow payment documents. This means, mechanics liens being filed on a job will carry more weight in leading to a higher payment risk compared to a Texas monthly notice (slow payment document).

Where the data for payment risk comes from

Contractor page data is collected from 3 places: the Levelset database, public data, and construction data partnerships.

  1. Levelset Database
    Levelset’s 20,000 customers manage over 1.5 million construction projects across the United States and exchange $150 million in payment claims and liens every month. Since the company’s start, over 750,000 documents including mechanics lien filings, notices of intent to lien, monthly notices, payment applications, lien waivers, and more have been filed or exchanged through the Levelset platform. This project data is aggregated and reported on contractor pages when a document is filed or sent to a contractor.
  2. Public Data
    Our team sources county recorder data for documents filed directly with a county, including mechanics liens, notices of commencement, and more.
  3. Construction Data Partnerships
    Some construction data is collected and aggregated from 3rd party sources to help make the Levelset model smarter.

Reviews and Ratings

Levelset started collecting anonymous ratings and reviews of payment practices in August 2019 from contractors, subcontractors, and vendors about contractors they have worked with. Ratings and reviews are collected through the Levelset platform and through Contractor Profile pages on the Levelset website. Users can submit a rating without including a review.

Star Ratings

Star ratings on contractor profiles are based on the average satisfaction rating (1-10 scale) from Levelset customers and other subcontractors who have worked with the contractor. The overall star rating of a contractor is instantly updated after a rating is submitted.

Reviews

Levelset collects contractor reviews from others who have previously worked with the contractor, those who are currently working with them, and from visitors to the Contractor Profiles. Reviews let other contractors know more about the reviewer’s payment experience with the reviewed contractor.

The purpose of these reviews is to help companies know how to work with a contractor, what to expect, what their payment process is like, and tips to avoid surprises and issues.

All reviews are posted anonymously in order to protect the contractors’ relationships with their customers and provide them an opportunity to be honest. Reviews are approved by Levelset before being posted on any page.

Improving your Payment Score

There are various steps contractors can take to improve their payment score.

  1. Make a Levelset account and submit projects

    The payment risk score depends on available projects associated with contractors. You can improve your payment risk score by creating a free Levelset account and entering past projects where there was no slow payment or non payment.

  2. Exchange lien waivers and request preliminary notices through Levelset on every job

    Exchanging lien waivers when payment is made is an easy way to improve your payment risk score as it suggests good payment practices. Requesting and receiving preliminary notices is also an easy way to improve your payment risk score since these notices help identify all the parties on the job so GCs and Property Owners know who all must be paid.

  3. Ask others to leave a rating or review

    One of the easiest and fastest ways to improve your payment risk score is to ask past or current subcontractors and vendors for a rating or review of your payment process. Specifically, you can ask them to review

    1. How fast you paid them on a job
    2. The process for requesting and receiving payment on your jobs
    3. The documents you typically request or need for fast payment
    4. Any other information or tips that can help contractors get paid faster.
  4. Be upfront with what you expect from subcontractors and vendors and pay quickly

    Often, slow payment occurs because a contractor does not know what process to follow to get paid. In order to avoid slow payment or negative reviews, it’s important to tell your vendors what documents they should send and when they should send them at the start of the job. When a contractor does send the right paperwork, paying quickly will lead to a better relationship and better reviews. Avoiding problems and slow payment will help your payment risk score.

Corrections Process:

If you believe there are any errors on a contractor profile, here are the steps to submit a request for correction.

  1. Complete the form below and provide details as to what’s wrong on the page.
  2. The Levelset team will review submissions for corrections.
  3. We will follow up with further actions, which may include the corrections made to the page or communicating why information was not changed.

Glossary of Terms:

General Contractor – Also known as a Direct Contractor or Prime Contractor. A General Contractor is hired directly by the property owner.

Subcontractor – A subcontractor is hired by the General Contractor or another subcontractor on a job.

Mechanics Liens / Lien Filings – Lien filings are documents recorded with the county recorder. Learn more about what a mechanics lien is.

Threat to File a Lien – These are instances where slow payment is occurring on a job and a contractor threatened to file a mechanics lien on the project property by sending a Notice of Intent to Lien.

Slow Payment – These are events where documents such as Texas monthly notices and payment demands are sent to a contractor because of an overdue invoice.

Non-Payment Documents: These include mechanics lien filings on private projects or bond claims on public projects.