"Ask an Expert" illustration with headshot of Lori J. Drake, CBA

This week’s question comes to us from a new construction credit manager. Construction credit can be a challenging part of the industry for many — credit is an indispensable part of contractors’ processes, but credit managers and their teams have to work past a number of challenges to assess customers’ creditworthiness. Payment expert and credit manager Lori Drake weighed in to offer some tips to get started navigating the credit world.

Lori Drake

Lori Drake

29 years experience
9 articles
548 answers

Question: I just got a job as a credit manager at a general contractor, and am brand new to the industry. I feel like I’m back in grade school — there are so many new topics that I haven’t dealt with before — liens, retainage, etc. I’m learning a lot, but I feel kinda overwhelmed. Where do I start?

Answer: “Congratulations on joining the construction industry as a credit professional!,” says Lori Drake. “Once here, we promise, you will never want to leave.”

 Luckily, Drake notes that there are some clear steps that you can take to hit the ground running.

“The best place to start is taking a course on Basic Credit Principles and joining an Industry Credit Group,” Drake says. Depending on what state credit managers are covering, there are peer groups and contacts throughout the industry for those new to the industry to learn from, so asking for connections from those already entrenched in the credit world is a must. 

Drake also recommends that those new to the credit industry take a Mechanics Lien and Bond Law class, regardless of their location or focus. In fact, Drake has led a number of webinars for Levelset that focus on these topics which new credit managers can use as a way to get started with some indispensable information, such as building customer relationships, collection strategies, and finding credit information.

Working alongside long-time credit and payment experts, Levelset offers a large amount of completely free resources for those getting on their way in the credit industry.

Credit expert and renowned consultant Thea Dudley has put together all of the basic information of credit management in the free Fundamentals of Credit Management credit foundations course.

Thea Dudley

Thea Dudley

33 years experience
5 articles
26 answers

The five-session, roughly 10-hour online class covers the basics of credit management, mechanics liens, and bond law, the collections process, and how to build a stellar credit team — and participants each receive a certificate upon completion.

Levelset also has a wealth of information contained within its general credit management resources, too. Besides Dudley’s credit management course, her book, The Credit Overlord’s Guide to Credit and Collections is also a hugely beneficial resource to anyone looking to learn more about the ins and outs of construction credit, as Dudley expertly leads readers through the tools and resources anyone can use to navigate the payment world — and those interested can download the first part of the book for free to get started.

Do you have a question you’d like answered?

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