They are making excuses and have not paid us for the project that is complete. I do not want to do an intent to lien. We need to move forward with the lien process
There is no pre lien. There is timely service of the preliminary notice of lien. If you did that correctly, then you must file your notice and claim for lien within the earlier of 120 days after completion or, if a notice of completion has been recorded and served, within 60 days after that recording.
If they don't pay, then you must timely foreclose the lien or your rights related to the lien are no longer enforceable.