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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I own a kitchen design company and design and sell custom built cabinets. I delivered cabinetry to a clients house and they did not pay as expected that day the 50% balance due. They wont return my calls. Can I file a lien though I am not a contractor?

I own a kitchen design company and design and sell custom built cabinets. I delivered cabinetry to a clients house and they did not pay as expected that day the 50% balance due. They wont return my calls. Can I file a lien though I am not a contractor?

California

I am the owner of the kitchen design firm and was hired by client to design and supply custom cabinetry. The client paid a 50% deposit when order was placed and per signed agreement balance is due 5 days prior to delivery or cashiers check day of delivery. I design and sell the cabinets and have them made in on east coast and shipped to California . The client told me they would pay by cashiers check day of delivery. The day of delivery 3-12-19 the client did not bring a cashiers check and said they would drop it by Friday 3-15-19 (2 days from delivery) but I have not received any money or returned phone call. Emails go unread and voice mail is too full for me to leave message. Husband is a local doctor. I do not know what to do. the amount is $33,344.14. I am a small business with 25 years of good reputation.

2 replies

Apr 16, 2019
I understand your frustration and worry here. $33k is a lot of money and it's scary to confront these types of situations. Hopefully, this information can help you with some of your first steps, and to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand.

First, there is a question about whether the "mechanics lien" is a remedy that is available. The question of whether the "design and supply custom cabinetry" qualifies for lien rights seems pretty straight forward to me, and the answer is "yes." You can scan some of the California Lien Law FAQs on this site to dig into more details, but you should see under the "Who can file" question that the following folks can file a lien in California: "direct contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, laborers, design professionals, and any person providing work.... The "design and supply of custom cabinetry" is labor and supply for an improvement. So, green light.

Second, there is a question (it seems) about what to do generally in these types of situations. This is a broader question.

Generally speaking, there are a lot of options available to someone in this situation. You can always file a lawsuit, you can get a collection agency, you can send demand letters, you can hire attorneys to send letters or make phone calls or file suit, etc., etc.

And you may want to keep all of those different options in mind. This person owes you money, and this is all in the pile of things you can do to get that money.

But, with that said, the mechanics' lien is a very, very, very attractive first step. Filing a lien has all sorts of positive effects, and it's the one available remedy that disappears the fastest. So, it's a "use it or lose it" situation.

You'll want to refer to this article -- one of our most popular -- to learn all the different reasons why a lien is a good idea. How A Mechanics Lien Works To Get You Paid.

Good luck!
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Helpful
Dec 14, 2022

Kitchen design company is a good idea. It's a way to get your kitchen
remodeled at a lower cost than you would pay if you did it yourself. I
think that this is a good way to start off with your house because you
will be able to see what kind of look you want in your kitchen and then
when the contractor comes back, he can go over some more options with
you and help guide you through the process. You can get beautiful 3D
designs from Buy 3D Printer Calgary
source. I think that it's also good because it's an option for those
who don't want to do all the work themselves but still want their
kitchen remodeled. 

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