We have been hired by our customer, to supply materials, and our customer was hired by his customer. I understand that in DC the sub of a sub has no right to Mechanics Liens. Can you tell us what the best way to protect ourselves will be? This job is $900K+
No, this project is in Washington DC. We are located in Florida. Our customers' address is California, but they have an office in Florida.
Raymond provided a couple good alternatives above. Without a mechanics lien right, other processes or agreement must be used in order to protect the value of the materials supplied.
Other than the ideas presented by Raymond, you may also be able to explore creating a joint check agreement with your customer and the party who is obligated to pay them. Joint check agreements are contracts whereby one party agrees to (or gives permission to) make payment in the form of joint checks (checks made out to two parties). This type of agreement can be used to provide a little more protection to ensure payment from the sub.
You may also be able to explore filing a UCC financing statement, to gain a voluntary interest in the material being delivered on credit. This can run into some potential difficulties in the construction context, but it is another potential security interest available.
When lien rights don't exist, other means of protection can sometimes require getting creative, or the requirement to just rely on the credit-worthiness of your customer.