That's a great question, and I'm sorry to hear that you've had payment trouble. We get this question quite a bit here at the Construction Legal Center, so we went ahead and wrote a guide for filing North Carolina mechanics liens that I think would be more helpful than posting an answer here: How to File a Mechanics Lien in North Carolina. But also, it may be worth keeping this in mind: When a payment issue pops up, the first instinct may be to lien. But there are typically other steps that might help before resorting to a lien filing. For one, following up with a customer after sending an invoice can help. Nonpayment could due be a simple issue or even just a misunderstanding. Providing the opportunity to clear things up before taking the nuclear option can help everyone on the project. Another option might be to leverage lien rights, without actually exercising them (yet). Many construction businesses find that sending a mere lien warning or threat will be enough to get the ball rolling on payment. By sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien, a potential lien claimant can show their customer and the project owner that they mean business, while also avoiding the cost, headache, and bridge-burning that comes with a lien filing. That idea is discussed in this article: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Of course, if all else fails and payment still isn't made, a mechanics lien filing might be the most powerful tool in a construction business' arsenal when it comes to recovering payment. If you have other questions about North Carolina mechanics liens, or if you're curious about North Carolina's lien and notice requirements, this resource should be valuable: North Carolina Lien & Notice Overview.