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3 Steps to Get Paid Without Filing a Lien

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Richard Kane
Richard Kane

We all know liens are incredibly powerful tools to get paid, but it’s always preferable to get paid without needing to file one. Fortunately, there are three effective and reliable steps you can take to speed up payments without having to file a lien.

Sign up for this webinar where you’ll learn how:

  • To send payment demands to get paid on jobs before taking more drastic measures
  • To use risk data to determine whether you want to work with a contractor (or not!)
  • You can stay ahead of payment problems with real-time alerts
  • Growing construction companies use tools like Risk Report and Job Radar to take immediate action when there’s a risk of slow pay

 

Speaker 1 (00:04):
Let’s go ahead and get rolling and kind of get to, to what y’all are all here for. So first of all, hello and welcome to today’s webinar. We’re excited to talk to you all about three steps you can take to ensure that you’re getting paid without having to file a lean. Now, I know we probably have a mix of current level customers here, as well as some people who may have just heard the name level set for the first time in the last few days. So we’ll definitely cover some of the basics who we are, what we do for those of you that are new, as well as take a little bit of a deeper dive into our tools that can help you get paid faster. But before moving on, I just wanna say that we are recording this live session.

Speaker 1 (00:39):
So you’ll receive a link to the, and your email tomorrow. Feel free to share that with your team supervisor or feel free to just refer back to it if you miss any information that that I covered in this one. Also if you have any questions at all during the presentation, go ahead and enter them in the chat box. We’ll try to answer as many as we can throughout the webinar, but we’ll also try to leave a couple of minutes here towards the end for additional questions. So moving on who am I let’s do some quick intros before jumping into the session. My name is Richard Kane. I’m an account manager here at level set, and basically my job is to help our customers get the most out of their level set account using tools that we’ll walk through today.

Speaker 1 (01:19):
And I love talking to people kind of hearing, you know, what their experience is, what issues they’re having and and really just taking a consultative approach to helping you manage your lean rights and get paid faster. Cause that’s what we’re all here for. All right. Well, in case this is your first on level set. I wanna give a quick overview of who we are and what we do. We all know the construction industry presents all sorts of challenge when it comes to getting paid well level sets here to help you get paid. Our lean rights management software helps you track mechanics, lean and notice deadlines, verify job site information, and basically just makes, makes it easier to manage your lean rights paperwork. We also provide access to construction attorneys and other legal services. Plus we have all kinds of resources on our website from profiles, outlining customers, payment histories to educational guides as well.

Speaker 1 (02:07):
So we’re really a one stop shop. If you are in the construction industry, trying to get paid on jobs you come to us, we got pretty much everything. So again mentioned three steps. What are the three steps? Well, generally speaking, when any, whenever you’re, you’re looking to take on a investment and a new investment in, let’s say a, a new contractor, a new GC that you’re looking to work with would be to pre-qualify them. And our risk reports are gonna be what we use to help pre-qualify ’em again, like I said, we’ve broken that down into three steps, which is gonna help you greatly reduce the need to follow lean. And this is the first step in that process. Maybe you’re considering working with a new contractor. You have no idea what their payment history is or how many disputes they’ve been involved in.

Speaker 1 (02:52):
Well, you can utilize our risk reports to essentially give you a report card on new potential companies. You’re looking to do business with you’re gonna see things like if they’ve had payment disputes or issues in the last 90 days what their job index dispute is, what their speed to payment is. And this is gonna show you how many days on average it takes a company in question to pay their subs. And then, you know, the, the thing that’s gonna wrap it up is basically an overall payment risk score, giving you, you the ability to review a company’s payment history quickly and accurately. It’s basically, it’s essentially, it’s a construction specific report card, so you can build relationships with new contractors and feel confident that you’re gonna get paid in full on time. A quick story about these, you know, I was speaking with a a customer just a few weeks ago and probably an issue that a lot of y’all have had they were, they’re looking to take on new work.

Speaker 1 (03:43):
Hey, aren’t we all? And they had an opportunity to possibly work with a new GC in a different state. Well, they didn’t really know anything about that GC. So they were looking for more information on ’em. They were utilizing our risk reports to kind of look up information on ’em. So happened that GC actually, you know, with our kind of proprietary algorithm had a pretty good score. So they were going, they were able to go into that relationship feeling confident that they’re gonna get paid on that job right there. And I’ve also had it go the other way, where companies are looking at a working with somebody new and maybe their, their credit score, their credit risk report. Isn’t so good. Well, that’s one where you’re gonna maybe look twice, think about that twice before you jump in with a with a new GC like that.

Speaker 1 (04:26):
Or if you do, at least you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into. So again, great tool to make sure that your pre qualifying contractors and GCs that you’re looking to work with. So that’s, that’s gonna be step one in the process. Step two, something that, again, a lot of y’all are probably familiar with already, and that is you know, our lean rights management process, depending on what state you’re performing work in. There are documents that might need to go out prior to the start of a job. You can automate these documents within level set so that, you know, you’re always protecting your lean rights. Should you need to enforce them? Generally, the first document to go out is your preliminary notice. And the, the title of this can vary from state to state some referred ’em by different names. So pre liens notice of furnishing, notice of commencement notice to owner, but basically they’re all due about the same thing.

Speaker 1 (05:13):
They’re gonna announce that you’re on the job and that you expect to get paid after that a simple payment reminder can be delivered. That’s usually something you’ll send that after the job’s complete as a friendly reminder that you’re ready to get paid. And then escalating from there things like payment demands which basically lets your contractor know that now you’re serious about getting paid for the work you’ve completed. This is typically the step where we Mo where we see most companies get paid. If there’s a non-payment issue it’s easy to Remo or ignore some of those friendly reminders, but that word demand tends to help people find their checkbook a lot quicker. One thing we hear all the time, I don’t wanna send out preliminary document documents to customers I’ve worked with for years. I probably have this conversation, oh, a good five to 10 times a week.

Speaker 1 (05:57):
And I totally understand it. You know, you’ve maybe developed a relationship with someone you’ve been working with them for a number of years. I I’ve even heard people work together for almost 30 years. So it’s like a marriage pretty much. That being said a, a story that I hear almost every day, several times a week at least is, you know, I always like to ask my, my customers like, well, why did you come to level set in the first place? What brought you here? And a lot of times it’s a similar story and that is they’ve been working with somebody for years. They had a handshake deal with them, and this was the time that it went south on ’em. For whatever reason, a lot of times it’s not malicious. Maybe they they’re having cash flow issues themselves. They go bankrupt, you know, things happen, but whatever it was that handshake deal they had went south.

Speaker 1 (06:43):
And now they’re out you know, a, a good sum of money, what, whatever that whatever that might mean to you for some people it’s 10,000, for some people it’s a hundred thousand for some people it’s a million. But whatever that number is that’s important to y’all make it sure that you’re protecting that right to, you know, your lean rights is is important in sending out these types of documents. Step two, in the process will help secure your rights to not have to file lie. It, it greatly reduces it moving on. Another feature that we have that probably some of y’all have seen in the level set platform is our to, to operate our premium PLA feature. And, you know, so let’s say you’ve decided to work with a contractor based on the information provided in your risk report.

Speaker 1 (07:26):
You’re sending out the proper preliminary notices through the level set platform. Well, now we wanna make sure that you have the same level of visibility and can address any potential payment issues immediately. And in real time while you’re working on project and job radar premiums, a tool that provides you with valuable alerts, that’s gonna help you monitor the flow of payment on your job. You’re gonna see things like if there’s any payment issues or potential payment delays lean alerts, letting you know, if a lien has been filed on a job if a company on your project is filed for bankruptcy and for of you in states with notices completion, I think that’s about seven or eight states. You’ll get those notices as well. We’ll come back to that one a little bit, cuz that’s actually kind of a sneaky important one for y’all that have notice of completion notices that get filed in your state.

Speaker 1 (08:13):
So this information that job radar premium provides, it’ll let you know what’s happening on your project in real time. So you can take necessary actions on a job, making sure your payment’s concerned. It’s secured. Sorry. if you’re like some of our customers that I referenced a few minutes ago, maybe you don’t always send out those preliminary notices to GCs you’ve been working with for your job. Radar premium is a, it’s a good way to kind of make sure that you’re keeping tabs on the job that you’re on. ID really like to think of it as it’s, it’s key keeping a bird’s eye view on that project. So you’re getting some insight info that not everyone has. That’s gonna allow you to kind of get to the front of the line. Just last week I actually spoke to one of my accounts who was very interested to know if a lean had been filed on a job.

Speaker 1 (08:56):
They were a material supplier and that was going to kind of change maybe how they how they proceeded. If, if they found out that there was a lie or multiple issues going on in the job, they would look for some type of upfront payment or cash on delivery instead of kind of extending them that line of credit. If they found out there were issues going on, luckily for them, there were no issues on that job. So they were able to kind of go in with confidence that they were gonna get paid on that one. But we’ve certainly seen it the other way as well. So it just, it really gives you the most information to make the best decision possible for you or your business.

Speaker 1 (09:34):
So based basically, you know, we’ve kind of covered those three steps. Well, how do they work together? Well you’re all here because filing a lie it’s a hassle requires time, requires money that you shouldn’t have to spend these three tools working in conjunction risk reports to prequalify your your GCs and contractors, preliminary notices and whatnot to, to make sure that your lean rights are protect while you’re on the job. And then monitoring job radar premium, they’re here to ensure that you’re getting paid for the work you’ve performed. They work in conjunction with one another, keep you constantly informed and aware of any potential payment issues, potential risks, so that you can make the best decision for you and your company.

Speaker 1 (10:15):
As a quick reminder will any questions you have at the end. So if you want to, you can go ahead and throw those in the chat box a little bit, but I also wanted to again, throw in some success stories. So you can, you can hear that, you know, really understand how these tools will help. If I can draw your attention kind of to the top alert here saying that, you know, someone got paid hopefully that’s you. Right. so you know, one of the things I always like to point out people are, are asking about, you know, when we use words like risk you know, liens and stuff like that, obviously that those tend to have negative connotations. A lot of times though, you can use these in a positive way, in the sense that you get a risk report on a GC and you’re getting good information back well, that’s awesome.

Speaker 1 (10:54):
That means that you can go in with the peace of mind of knowing that you’re, you’re dealing with a reputable company reputable people that, that are gonna pay you on time. Same thing with with job radar premium it’ll help you monitor the flow of payment. Well, maybe the flow of payment is fantastic. That’s great. So no more sleepless nights or having to scramble you should still obviously be sending out your preliminary notices and, and doing all that kind of stuff. But again, it helps to give that piece of mind to make sure that, you know, your, your payments are being protected and moving on. You know, we always like to share a few quotes that some of the level set customers are saying about these these tools and features the first one, that’s a trust pilot review.

Speaker 1 (11:39):
And if you haven’t heard trust, it’s kind of like Yelp for contractors a bit. One thing we’re very proud of here at level set is we have I know it’s over 3000. We might be approaching 3,505 star trust pilot reviews on there. So we always love that. We try to go above and beyond for our customers and we love when they give us good feedback like that. But anyway, back to the the screen here before going into a job, wouldn’t you like to know if there are payment problems for those of us working in credit, knowing this information ahead of time is vital and allows us to make the best decisions. And that’s what risk reports do. It levels the playing field. So yeah, again gives you that inside info to help you pre-qualify those GCs, to know who you’re going into business with up next Thomas box, he’s director of credit at Herby construction.

Speaker 1 (12:23):
We now have our preliminary notices going out automatically, and I just let him fly. I was hesitant at first, but it is very helpful. We’re also busy and there’s never any downtime. So to have one less thing on our plates is great. I will bet there’s a lot of people in here that spend a lot of time sending out preliminary notices and those types of documents. That’s something that a just having level set helps you cut down a lot of time, even if you’re sending them out yourself. But B there’s, there’s also a feature within the level set platform that allows you to automate those as well around parameters that work for you and your business to make sure that you’re not missing any deadlines and that that’s going out when they’re supposed to go out. And then finally at the bottom ILA go Turk, she’s a credit manager in collections at waste connections. We always use job radar alerts as an opportunity to take a deeper dive into our own AR see this as an early warning system to take a look at potential problems. So again, that’s what she’s using it as she’s using it to again, monitor the flow of payment on a job, see if there’s any issues going on. And then again, they, they will come to a good decision for them in their business once they find out what that information is.

Speaker 1 (13:33):
All right, so let’s move, move on to some, some questions that have maybe come in. I’ve seen a few of ’em pop up in the chat. We have a few that are kind of that the, the people have sent in already as well. Let’s see, question one. I’ve been working with the same company on jobs for the past three years, and there have been some slow pay problems. I’m worried that sending out notices and payment demands could hurt the relationship with my GC. Has this happened to any other customers and what was the outcome? Yeah, I think I referenced that kind of earlier in the presentation as well, but yeah, we hear that all the time. In our opinion, it’s you know, you guys are you’re, we can certainly make friends in the industry, but it’s a business.

Speaker 1 (14:14):
And I think other, you know, when you’re working with GCs and other contractors, they respect it as a business too. And so one, one thing I, I think that’s interesting that I’ve, I’ve shared with customers before is, you know, again, through level sets, proprietary information we can sometimes look on jobs and see, you know, how many prelims are being sent out. So you might be working with a GC and you’d be like, well, you know what, I don’t wanna send out this cause I don’t wanna hurt the the relationship understandable, but just so you know, 14 other people have sent outs on that job, whether they’ve known that that GC for a long time, or maybe that’s a new person to them. So again, I think it’s just healthy business practices. And if you kind of establish that that cadence up front and that, that you’re gonna have that relationship up front, even if it’s something new you’re undertaking, you could, you can definitely you know, look to you know, give them a, a heads up and make sure they’re aware of it.

Speaker 1 (15:11):
But I think a again, as long as they are a a reputable business, they’re gonna understand where you’re coming from on that. Let’s see another question. What can I do, or what do I do with the information in a risk report? Well, again, it, it, it gives you a, a great idea of who you, who you are. You’re, you’re gonna be working with the analogy I always like to present. I like to, to flip it around. Most of us in here, we’ve probably bought a car before we’ve bought a house. So think about the being on the side of the the car dealer or the bank that’s looking to, to lend that person money. What are they gonna look at? They’re gonna run your, your credit report. That’s gonna run from, I think, what is it, 200 to 800 now?

Speaker 1 (15:55):
I gotta gotta confirm that one, but but yeah, they’re gonna run your credit report and if you have great credit, they’re gonna offer you a loan at probably a pretty good or, or a very favorable interest rate to you if your credit is, is maybe okay, but not great. They’ll probably still offer you that loan at a slightly higher interest rate. And if your credit’s not so great they might really look, they either give you a super high interest rate, or they’re not gonna offer you that loan at all. And that’s kind of what you can do with those risk reports. Again, it’s broken up into a, B and C sections right there. So I believe the high end is if they have a seven 50 rating that’s gonna allow them, it’s gonna give you good confidence to know that there are good people to, to work with, again, if they get a B rating, which is probably where most contractors fall in you you’re gonna know that.

Speaker 1 (16:43):
Yeah, they, they’re pretty good. Maybe they have some issues every once in a while, but for the most part, they’re good business to work in. And then the C ratings are the ones you’re really gonna have to, to take a look at and decide whether or not this is a good decision for you to, to go in and maybe have some terms up front with them. And then regardless if it’s a, B or C again, should still be standing out those preliminary notices, notices to owner all that kind of stuff, but you definitely wanna make sure you have your, your tees crossed and your eyes dotted when you are dealing with somebody in that C category right there. Let’s see, what type of information does job radar show that were, that would matter most to me? Well, I suppose it depends on your role, but you know, if I’m being honest with you leans that’s, that’s the, that’s usually the most important thing.

Speaker 1 (17:29):
That’s the one that people wanna know the most about. Is there a lean filed on my job and I’ve heard a variety of answers that that, that people would do with that information? A lot of people, I, they said if they know the person, they would go directly to, ’em say like, Hey, what’s going on and work out a situation. But you know, again, it’s making sure you’re, you’re staying organized and you’re sending out the right documents when you see those notices on a job writer to make sure you’re, you’re being protected. I have a few friends in the industry that work for, you know, large construction companies, GCs, and I won’t name them. I won’t name names on this one, but they’ve confided in me that basically, you know, when they’re on a large project and they’re getting these you know, it comes time to, to open the checkbook and start paying people.

Speaker 1 (18:12):
They generally have two piles. They have a pile of the, the subs that they’ve been working with that have filed preliminary notices and those types of documents. And then they have a a pile of people that haven’t, and more than likely the people in the pile that have been filing those notices generally gonna get paid first. They’re the ones that are gonna, you know, keep sending them notices and paperwork and whatnot. And and those are the people that also are securing their lie rights. Gcs don’t wanna have to deal with liens too, if they don’t, if they don’t want y’all don’t wanna have to file ’em they don’t wanna have to deal with ’em. So generally speaking, the, the, the squeaky wheels that are putting in those preliminary notices and are gonna get paid first on the job. And again, you’ll be able to monitor that through the job radar premium feature, making sure you have those, those in there.

Speaker 1 (18:59):
Let’s see more. Let’s see. I think we could probably do at least one more here. I am new to level set and the first couple of jobs I’ve sent preliminary notices on to my customer on an insurance job, reach out and told me the do not appreciate the notice of intent to lean. What steps can I take in order to have the customer, this customer back me to this, and to not come after me when the notices are sent. I think if I’m understanding that question correctly, it’s, you know, you sent some notices of intent and what steps can I take in order to have the customer to come back to you after the notices are sent? Yeah. yeah, most people probably wouldn’t like it, if you send notices of intent. I suppose, D did you follow the proper protocol originally?

Speaker 1 (19:44):
A lot of times? Yeah. I, if the first document that they’re getting from somebody is a notice of, of intent that can be a little jarring. I do know customers that do that. They, they won’t send out preliminary notices. They just send out like a notice of intent and then follow up, follow it up quickly with a lean that is not generally what we prescribe as best practices. And I would say our most successful customers or again, sending out those preliminary notices and whatnot first before they’re getting notice of, of intent. What can you do with that notice of intent though, if you are sending it out? Yeah, basically, like I said, they’re, they’re not gonna be happy getting it. I think communication, if you are communicating with that company about the situation, most of the time, I think people are gonna be reasonable.

Speaker 1 (20:31):
They’re gonna, they’re gonna hang handle it reasonably the situations where I’ve seen it kind of get outta hand is when one party and it’s usually the party that is wanting to the, the, the party that is supposed to pay the other when the GC stops responding that that thing kind of break down a bit, cuz now the lines of communication aren’t there, aren’t there. Let’s see. I think we got time for at least one or two more here. This levels that have a program in place to file liens at the minimum of $550 limit, majority of my lean notices are sent out for jobs that are near 500 to 50 range paying the level set fee of four 50 is a tough total swallow each time a lean is needed. Yeah, no, I totally understand. Yeah, that’s all, I’ll be honest.

Speaker 1 (21:15):
It’s, that’s a tricky one. If you have a job that’s like 5 5600, 700, you, you know that that’s kind of an up to you thing if if, if filing a lean is worth going through that hassle there, what I will say is level set subscribers definitely have access to reduced lean costs. So I wanna say the vast majority of our level set subscribers have access to leans that are 2 49. So again, if you have let’s say a $700 job, you file $249 lane. That’s certainly not ideal. We don’t wanna have to do that, but at least there’s some good there’s, there’s a good break in there. There’s at least about a $500, 4 5400 $50 discrepancy in there that you can collect on. Yeah, you’re right. Spending $450 on a $550 job that that’s a tough total swab.

Speaker 1 (22:07):
No about it. So the hope is that with these with these three steps I provided today, pre-qualifying who you’re working with sending out the proper documents and then you know, using job re premium to kind of monitor it as the job’s going along. The odds of you having to file lean are going to reduce and then you won’t get stuck in a situation hopefully too often. If it’s once in a while where you have a 700 job that you’re having to file lean on that stinks. But if it’s a, if it’s a one off then you know, it’s a much easier pill to swallow than if you’re having to do that. Let’s say once a month or you’re having to, to file Leanns on kind of those smaller level jobs quite a bit ’em let’s see.

Speaker 1 (22:51):
I think we have time for one more. Here I am in Maryland. What paperwork on our end in restoration, we have a lot of restoration customers is needed to file liens. And do you all move to a foreclosure step? If I’m being honest with you, I will, I would have to go back and look at the restorer at the, the Maryland kind of set for deadlines and whatnot and what exact notices are needed in Maryland. I’m pretty sure though, again, it follows a fairly standard procedure preliminary notice. You can send out some payment reminders, payment, demand letters and then move to file a a lie. I, I would have to look and see if a notice of foreclosure is available in Maryland. I know it’s available in some states, but if I’m being honest with you, I don’t know about Maryland.

Speaker 1 (23:35):
But there is definitely a, if you probably after this, if you were to search, you know, Maryland lean law FAQ on Google, I almost guarantee you level sets is gonna show up, pop up first on that one. And that’ll kind of show the the steps you would need to take to make sure you’re following the proper documentation in that one. I know for you restoration companies, this is, this is paramount because you’re getting a lot of people with that are dealing with now you’re getting insurance companies involved and that’s always, that’s always fun. Anytime we have to deal with an insurance company for, for anything, but when the issue is getting paid for your work provided that’s, that’s a whole nother layer in there. So we actually do a lot of work with restoration companies.

Speaker 1 (24:16):
The payment demand letter seems to be the one that works really well. I have quite a few restoration companies that are, that are my accounts. And I helps set up those payment demands for ’em and they send those out and they collect on a large amount of of business for that. Well, let’s see. I know we’re coming up on time here. We, we don’t want to monopolize your time. So if there are no more questions I would just love to thank y’all for spending you know, your minutes with us today. I hope this three step process outline here kind of gives you something to think about and how you’re going forward with your own process to make sure you don’t have to file any more leads or at least reduce the likelihood greatly. And as I mentioned before, you’ll be receiving the recording via email in the next few days, and we’ll also send out a recap of these three steps, so you can reference them and keep your job protected. So please reach out to us. If you have any questions we are here to help. We wanna help you guys get paid faster. That is the goal. So everyone have a fabulous day. Thank you so much for joining us and yeah, appreciate it. Y’all.