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How do I, as a subcontractor, go about getting payment from a contractor for completed work?

FloridaConstruction ContractLien DeadlinesPayment DisputesRecovery Options

Hi, I want to know the process I must take. Our company was subcontracted to do work. The contractor signed a proposal that agrees to deliver full payment upon completion. It has been 3 months and we still have not received payment. every time we ask he gives an excuse saying he didn't get paid yet. Which is none of our concern because that wasn't in the contract. What is the step I must take to go about getting payment? We are in the State of Florida, and we did not do a Notice to owner before we started the work.

20 replies

Aug 25, 2017
First, it is usually a best practice to send the required preliminary notices (notice to owner, in Florida) on all jobs. Protecting the ability to file a lien if, like in this case, payment is slow or not forthcoming at all, is the strongest and most effective path to payment.

Here, however, where the timeline to send your preliminary notice has passed, the situation is a bit different. Since liens are powerful, sometimes the mere threat of a lien is enough to prompt payment. Sending a notice of intent to lien, may be sufficient to get you paid without the need to file a lien that may not be enforceable.

Other than that, the options for recovery are generally either through sending the debt to collections (whether internal or an external agency or firm), or through filing a lawsuit. Prior to either, you can have an attorney send a demand letter, to put more weight behind the demand for payment.

A lawsuits may be initiated for many potential reasons. Clearly, a breach of contract suit is a potential option here, but there may be other avenues, as well. Florida prompt pay statutes hold that, while contracts determine when progress payments are due, any undisputed amounts must be paid to the subcontractor within 30 days after the invoice becomes due. Breach of this requirement entitles the claimant to interest on the amount due and attorneys' fees incurred in recovery.

Depending on the amount owed, small claims court may be an option. If not, it is likely that an attorney will be required, so you may wish to speak with an attorney to get a better overview of your particular situation and the possible avenues to recovery.
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Oct 27, 2022
Just because the contractor claims to not have been paid yet, this does not give him the right to not pay you. This account should be placed with a licensed and bonded in FL commercial collection agency who will demand payment and collect this debt on a contingency bases, thus you won't have any upfront out of pocket expense to you. Feel free to contact me with further questions. Best regards getting paid, Steve
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