How to Use Construction Job Sheets to Ensure Payments
Exchanging job information sheets creates a smoother payment process because it provides all of the relevant information needed to get paid. However, filling out job sheets with accurate information can be a major challenge and can get in the way of timely payments.
If you or your credit and finance teams are struggling with construction job sheets, you’ll learn in this webinar:
- Best practices for filling out job info sheets
- Common mistakes made when creating job info sheets, and how to avoid them
- How Levelset helps you use job sheets to accurately protect lien rights
Brian Langhorst (00:00):
Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today. Today. I’m Brian Lang Horst. I’m a marketing manager at Levelset. Um, I’m joined by Alan Francis and Piper brown at Levelset. We believe in powering the construction industry with a software platform that enables construction professionals to get paid faster. A very important aspect of this is protecting cashflow and payments and protecting your lien rights. The first step of that is having an accurate job information. So today we’ll be discussing the importance of accurate job info sheets, how to fill them out correctly and accurately when to fill them out and the impact they have in managing cashflow and how that impacts our relationships with our sales and customers. And then we’re also going to discuss how software can automate and improve the management of these documents. So I’m going to ask our speakers today, starting with Alan to introduce themselves, um, introduce yourself, give you, give us a little bit of background on yourself please.
Allan Francis (02:32):
Great, good afternoon. My name is Alan Francis. Uh, I’m with Levelset. I’ve been in a credit management for over 20 years in oil and gas, electrical, and all types of construction credit management. And I’ve been with Levelset for the past 90 days and have started and have come over to Levelset because of what they have to offer and how significantly they are changing the role of putting the sub, you know, the supplier and the subcontractor and the general contractor back in control of their projects and protecting their lien rights and protecting the ability to get paid. And that’s what it’s all about. So, uh, basically that’s a little of my background of, I am at this point, the credit manager over operations here at Levelset and let’s get started. So a lot of this is just really conversational. We’re going to talk about the basics of a job sheet.
Allan Francis (03:26):
We all pretty much know what that is. I don’t want to insult your intelligence since most of us know what a job sheet it is, but there are certain things if you’ve ever been and a credit manager for any time at all, you know, there’s things about a job sheet that either gets left off or to not include it. And there’s things you really need to focus on having so that, that job sheet becomes a pivotal part of the way you can get paid and the way you get money, not only helps you protect your lien rights when you have to while Elaine, but it gives you a whole slew of information. When you have payment issues or you need to talk to somebody about a particular project. So first of all, what is a job sheet? We all know what that is. A job sheet.
Allan Francis (04:06):
Basically, it’s all the pers pertinent information and that you need on a given job. Uh, anything about that job from all the parties they’re participating in that job too, when the start date, when the end date is and everything about that. So that’s just the basic definition of what a job sheet is, how you have that job sheet organized is completely up to you. I really, whatever works for you and your organization, but you definitely want to have a second document that outlines everything that you want or that you need. And these are what we’re talking about is open to interpretation. And I want you to feel more than free to throw questions out there, throw ideas out there that you might have. So first thing you want to get is your customer’s name. It’s it sounds ridiculous. But in this day and age, sometimes you have holding companies.
Allan Francis (04:54):
Sometimes you have a regular parent corporation of the parent corporation, and then you might have sister companies under that. We want to know exactly who your customer is going to be. And we want that information as accurate as possible, the way it’s listed with the secretary of state that will make things so much easier. Uh, you want to find out what their mailing address is and what the, you know, any of that information. That sounds so simple and so basic, but when you have other people filling out your job sheets for you, other than the customer, sometimes that information just goes awry and you, and you want to try to get all that as accurate as possible. The next thing is going to be kind of up to you, you, but I would recommend that you work with your customer on giving the project a particular name.
Allan Francis (05:39):
What makes it very identifiable when you come back to it in the future, when there’s possibility you have to send a notice or a preliminary notice, what are we calling that project? So give it a project name. That’s going to be recognizable to your GC, to the project donor, to the lender, everyone involved that will make it so much easier. Whether it be ABC phase one, say it’s a long-term project. If you have to break it into phases, just be very specific how you do it, and that we all know what it is or everyone in your organization knows what it is when there’s ordering, that’s taken place. And if I start talking too fast, make sure you shoot a message over and say, Alan, slow down. Um, the next part, something that a lot of people, sometimes we, we just gloss over this, the physical location.
Allan Francis (06:27):
We all know how important it is. If we’re going to, you know, materials are going to hit a job site, we want to make sure we know where that is. Well, I’m going to give you an example on being a young credit manager and how that can really go off the rails. Um, had a situation where I was talking to a project manager and I was talking to an office manager and the project manager was always busy. So I kind of just dealt with the office manager. I said, I just need your project address. That’s all I need. Well, what they ended up giving me was the address of where the materials were going to be dropped off because this location was not secure. So they didn’t really want those materials at the job site because they were dropping it off in a different location than where the actual job site was just for those materials to be held. Even though it was only a quarter mile down the road, the lien rights were thrown out on that particular job. That is a painful lesson as a, as a new credit manager, that was a painful lesson to learn. So even if it’s an unincorporated area, get a longitude and latitude, get a plot information that will help you so much when it comes to getting your job sheet. Correct. Um, very simple.
Brian Langhorst (07:41):
If I may, can I ask you a quick question on that specific example? Um, how does that come into play if someone has it delivered to their shop or to their warehouse or a staging area, and then it’s transported to the actual physical job address.
Allan Francis (07:54):
Obviously you’re going to want to, if it’s a situation where you have fabrication being done, which is that, that is basically what that would be raw materials are headed to your customer. Your customer is going to fabricate it and take it onto the job site. That becomes, that brings about proof of use issues, where you’re going to need photographs or delivery tickets. Most states allow for proof of use. So you’re, you’re still going to have lien rights, but you’re going to have to be very proactive in taking care of those. And that was a great question, uh, because that isn’t, that is an issue you don’t want to say no to all your customers that are doing fabrication. Especially you have welders that are going to be welding things you don’t want to alienate that whole segment of your, of your customer base. You want to be able to include that.
Allan Francis (08:40):
So in fabrication times, just worry about proof of use. And a lot of times what you want to try to avoid in those situations is you don’t want your driver of your customer that runs by the supply house, picks up the material and runs them over to your site without any type of delivery information, but any type of photos, because they could be supplying three different jobs with the materials for your one project. And, and I’m not saying anybody would do something as horrible as that, but you know, sometimes things happened. So that was a great question. Yes. If anybody else has questions along that line, feel more than free to jump in. So next thing, whether or not it’s a private or public job seems like simple question, but it really isn’t that might take your customer has may think one thing and it may actually be another, in other words, public schools would be considered a public job.
Allan Francis (09:36):
Private schools would not be a lot of times you hear the word school or you hear the word municipal and the you’ll automatically assume it might be a public job. Public jobs most often anymore are either going to have a contract that backs it or a, a bond, a performance bond of some sort performance in surety. Bonds are pretty much the same thing, except what you’re doing, looking for in, in the course of, of the business that you do, you’re looking for a payment bond, something that’s going to protect your payment. You’re really not as worried about the GC, getting the job done less. It might cause risk to you being paid for what you do as a supplier. That would be, that would be critical, but any other part of the payment chain, as long as you have a easily enforced payment bond, and most of those in a public project, you’re not going to have a problem with that and just make sure you stay on top of deadlines.
Allan Francis (10:29):
Make sure you read it carefully, get a legal representative, get somebody from Levelset to take a look at it for you. We’d be more than happy to do that for you, because that’s why I’ve come to Levelset is because we take all the mystery out of any of these construction issues that sometimes a lawyer’s going to charge you a fortune for it. This is, this is a way that we can help protect you. And that’s why I’m with Levelset. So didn’t mean to make that a little commercial, but there it is. And then, so we’ll move on a little bit. Um, estimated project start date and end date. It’s going to be, that’s going to be a ballpark situation. We would love to know that the projects can start next Tuesday, but invariably hurricanes come bad. Weather happens. Uh, a supplier’s truck breaks down.
Allan Francis (11:16):
Many of those things can happen and you want to be aware and flexible with the project. Start time. Why is the project start time important? Because most lien laws anywhere in the country are based on deliverables when the deliverables actually hit the job site. So you want to get the best idea of when those deliverables are going to make it there. And that’s going to be your estimated starting date. And then you can go back and confirm it later, estimated end date. Why is that going to be important? Because those timelines run on last deliverable. Many of them do not all of them. There’s always going to be exceptions. So want to make sure you have that information in a perfect world. You’ve got a salesperson that’s on top of this and they’re driving by their projects. And it’s like, Ooh, Hey, there’s nobody at the job site anymore.
Allan Francis (12:03):
What’s going on? But, um, that doesn’t always happen. So sometimes you have to be proactive as a credit manager. Once again, your job is going to help you with that because you know, you’re, you’re running into your 60 70th day and Hey, you haven’t really heard much is going on, pick up a phone and what we’re going to talk about in a second, you’re going to have all the people that you need to talk to, to find out what’s going on in your project. The next part we’ve kind of touched on it. You want to get and identify all the parties in your project that you can possibly get other suppliers, every supplier that’s on the job. If you can get it, the more people, you know, those are more, uh, that’s going to be more people that you can go to, to either ask questions, confirm information, get payment, find out if somebody else is being paid.
Allan Francis (12:54):
So you want to identify who the parties are. General contractor is your customer, the general contractor or subcontractor is your customer. Are you the supplier or are you a second tier supplier? Find out who everybody is and get as much contact information as you possibly can. Um, the property owner very important you can be doing. You can be completely sewn up on having everything in place, knowing that everybody is going to pay and then have a property owner that may be a little bit less forthcoming with money and all of his transactions, knowing who your property owner is, is going to be very important. Also, that’s going to be the person. If you’re really have to, you can light a fire under. And when that lead gets placed, they get the you’ll get their attention. And then whoever the lender is, have a great situation that we just ran into.
Allan Francis (13:45):
We have everything was going along. We were having payment issues with a few people, and then suddenly we send out our notice of intent to lien and it made it to the lender. It wasn’t maybe 72 hours and here comes the money to take care of that situation because the bank wants nothing to do with, uh, with a non-payment or a lien being placed on what they have security. So that that’s just another person to have along the line, uh, to, to know who they are and who their contacts and phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses. You’d be amazed at the number of times you get in the weeds and this can be your best customer you’ve ever had and something happens and suddenly, oops, well, I, I know I’ve got their phone number here somewhere. Well that that’s a cell phone number and now you can’t reach anybody and your best customer overnight can become a problem if there’s a payment issue and I’m not, I’m not trying to paint a negative thing, but as a credit manager, you know, it’s, it’s our job as credit managers to think about what nobody else will think about.
Allan Francis (14:50):
And sometimes that’s the dark side of lending money or financing issues. So just
Brian Langhorst (14:57):
Let me ask you real quick, Allen, um, for the lender and the property owner, the general contractor, who in your experience is the most reliable person to have fill out that information on the,
Allan Francis (15:08):
And that is our next point, who fills out the job seat you would like to get the proper, the, uh, excuse me, project manager of the general contractor is your key pivotal person. Or you might want to look at it. If it’s a residential job, the hiring party make them give you all the information. Um, like I said, you don’t want to be the negative person, but there have been situations where salespeople get in a big hurry and you will get a completely incomplete or inaccurate job sheet that will do you no good. They’ll mark public where it’s supposed to be private. And they’ll mark private where it’s supposed to be public. They’ll put the wrong lender down. Uh, we even have a situation and heaven forbid, it just happens. Um, where a salesperson knew that a job was going to probably default and gave incorrect property placement information so that the, the notices would go to the wrong place.
Allan Francis (16:04):
So that’s why you want to have your customer, their project manager, fill it out. Now I know what a lot of people are thinking right now. Well, if they’re so busy, they’re out in the field, they’re in their truck. They’re not going to sit down and, and do all these things. Granted that is going to happen. And you want to maintain a great relationship with your customer. You don’t want to cause them more headaches on the other side of that, think about the paperwork they’re going through for their bank to get a line of credit. So, I mean, I’m not going to, they’re not going to say too much about that. They’re willing to do it for some people, but they are our customer. We want to make this easy. So if the property are, excuse me, the project manager, can’t do it for you.
Allan Francis (16:43):
See if your office manager can give you as much information as possible. Let’s say all of that didn’t happen. You’ve got very basic information about the project. Then as a credit manager, take a deep dive, an extra 20 minutes, 30 minutes go into the secretary of state. If you work with Levelset have, have somebody with a Levelset team, get in there and let’s look at that piece of property. If you don’t know exactly who it is, let’s find out if there’s been any preliminary, preliminary notices already filed. Take that extra few minutes, because that few minutes, now that’s going to save you so much down the road, and it’s going to protect that. It’s all about protecting. It’s not that we don’t trust our customers, but you have a limited pool of customers that you’re dealing with. You don’t want to alienate them all, but if you treat them all the same and make sure you encourage them to say, Hey, this is to protect you as well. If I’m taking a proactive stance to look at your project sheet, and I find that there could be an issue I’m going to be protecting you when I go out and try to get all this information, this only helps you. So just another, just another way to look at it. You know, um, an Allen on
Brian Langhorst (17:55):
That point, you bring up a great thing. And I want to shift to Piper here momentarily, uh, and give Piper a, an opportunity to introduce yourself a little bit about your experience at Levelset and how a software can interact with this process and help it be a little more manageable.
Piper Browne (18:11):
Yeah. Hello everyone. My name is Piper. I’ve been at Levelset for, um, about two and a half years. I am on our customer education team. So specifically I work with our new partners in getting them onboarded with their new Levelset accounts. So I, I lead them through their onboarding journey, getting them to implement this new process, leading their training sessions. Um, Levelset has been my intro into the, into the biz. So I don’t have quite as much experience as Brian and Alan here, but I work all day every day with, um, lots of different people in the construction industry. Uh, mostly credit managers, I’d say. So I’ve definitely learned a whole lot, um, about the, the pain points of managing lien rights and cashflow in the industry. Um, and I’ve also seen how beneficial it is to have a software on your side, um, a hundred percent.
Piper Browne (19:08):
So I think, you know, when I think about our partners who have seen, you know, the greatest success in, in adopting Levelset specifically, that’s obviously the software where the most, um, we know the best. Um, but I think first and foremost, it’s streamlining a very complex process. As you all are very familiar with. Lean law is not simple. There’s a lot of ditty gritty details that go into the requirements and it is an absolute headache to keep track of on your own. Um, when I see what some of my partners are doing on their own, you know, sharing their screens, looking at their spreadsheets, their paper reports, all of that, it’s, it’s incredible. It’s very impressive. Um, but I just get so excited to show them how our software in particular can help because it just streamlines it. Um, it makes it much easier to keep track of all the different deadlines and requirements.
Piper Browne (20:07):
Um, it’s all in one place. And because of that streamlined process, it leads to a couple of positive things. I’ve seen one more time. You all are very busy. You have a lot on your plate. Um, you don’t need to be combing through the different, um, statutory requirements of every state that you’re working in and then figuring out what form to use. And then going down to the post office, we can do that all for you. So it, it gives, uh, our partners back a lot of time for them to focus on other things. Um, and it also helps our partners expand because they’re able to have this streamlined process and, um, uh, software that they can depend on that kind of runs in the background for them. They’re able to take on more jobs I found, um, because they know that they have that protection. They know that they can handle it, protect all those jobs. Um, and that’s, that’s really huge for them. Um, and especially when folks are thinking about expanding into maybe some states that they haven’t always worked in, that can be kind of a scary unknown world, but with a software on your side, that makes it very easy. It’s just, it really opens up the possibilities there.
Brian Langhorst (21:21):
Absolutely. Thank you for that, uh, overview, um, in your experience and, and you touched on this quite a bit about how customers can streamline their day to day operations and save time and be able to better manage their deadlines with, uh, software, uh, what are some of the challenges with implementing software that you’ve seen our customers overcome?
Piper Browne (21:41):
Good question. Um, I think the first thing that jumps out to me is that it is going to be different. It is a new process and we understand that a lot of people have been doing it their way for a long time. Um, but they have come to Levelset in this case for a reason. Um, but it’s, it’s going to be new. So I think that, um, you really have to open your mind and, um, you know, go into it, knowing that this software is going to be able to help you. Um, but knowing that it’s going to take some, some transition time, of course, it’s going to take some getting used to, um, and on that note, um, it goes into like the second thing that pops out to me is that it is going to take some work on the forefront. Um, we are going to be able to help with a lot and take it all off of your plate eventually, but there needs to be some work at the beginning to get it all set up.
Piper Browne (22:37):
Of course. Um, you know, we can’t do it all right from the start. We like to work with you from the very beginning so that we really get to know you, your business, your goals, so that we can then, you know, take that and put it into our software and make it all work beautifully. But, um, I think those are the two challenges is, is, um, accepting that it’s going to be a new and different process. And, um, also knowing that it is going to take some work and since everyone is so busy and has so much work to do understanding that you’re going to need to dedicate some time to implementing the new software.
Brian Langhorst (23:13):
Absolutely. Those are great points. And I think that, uh, as someone who’s worked in software for the last five years, and I, I came from the equipment rental world and electrical distribution and in my long forgotten past, um, it’s always a challenge. It’s always a little hesitation with adopting a new software, a new process, even small things, you know, switching from Excel to Google sheets or anything along those lines to go into a cloud base, those small, small tweaks that have to happen to be able to become efficient are always painful, but there’s always a process improvement that comes from it. And a lot of times it’s very, very measurable. So that’s great. I appreciate your insight on that. And Alan, I want to come back to you really quickly. What, in your experience, because in your history you didn’t have Levelset. Um, you didn’t have it implemented in your, in your previous companies after being at Levelset and coming from the world that you and I both were in analytical electrical distribution. What are the advantages that you would see as a credit manager from adopting a software and having something that could suffice as a service for your organization, specifically tailored to you
Allan Francis (24:15):
Being able to sleep at night and it increases the accuracy of what we do, uh, as, as a credit manager, accuracy is ultimately, I mean, you live and die by details and Levelset because I’m not telling you to do something that we don’t do as Levelset ourselves. And by division material financing, we use the same product that we’re talking about. And it saves me an incredible amount of time. I mean, time is worth something. And out of it, you know, between a 19 and a 22 day collection cycle that you’re working with every month, having to set aside one to three days to lick envelopes or, or to create spreadsheets. So you can send them off for somebody to do what Levelset can do with that software could do with a few clicks of a mouse. And knowing that you have a team member that can help you through it.
Allan Francis (25:07):
And it is, it is so painless from what, where we came from. And it’s amazing, you know, I being my age or whatever, sometimes you’re a little technology resistant. All I can say sometimes is when I see this, it’s like, wow, I remember the days, you know, you have to do the priority mail, this or certified mail that make sure you did it right. You know, forget the here object, lesson, or example of what I forgot to change. The, you know, some people out there are going to be laughing at us, forgot to change the meter on our postage meter. And rather than put the total dollar about, I, you know, I put 15 cents on every envelope, 150 envelopes. I had to go back and redo all the postage. I mean, when you’re in a hurry, you know, it saves some time in the saving of time, means a lot. And it, the improving the accuracy and not having to worry about those things so that we can do what we do best approved credit and collect the money because it’s important to get paid the cost of money these days, people, you can’t underline that enough. And if, and that’s basically, if that answers your question, right,
Brian Langhorst (26:19):
It does very well. Thank you. And I, and I do want to open this up. We’re coming close to the end of our time together. Um, so I do want to open it up and to the attendees and make sure that if there’s any questions from our attendees that are joining us today, please drop them in the chat so that we have an opportunity to address them. Um, but I think thus far, I appreciate your both being candid and being open with your experience. Uh, Alan, thank for covering what’s, what’s the importance of a job information sheet, how that impacts your role as a credit manager, how that’s impacted your history and your, and your profession, and making sure that, you know, having the customer name, making sure that you have the project name, making sure that you have the correct location on that job information sheet, to be able to protect your lane rights, making sure, you know, the start and end dates and how important that is.
Brian Langhorst (27:05):
And also getting as many of the, the adjacent parties on the job as, as, um, listed out as necessary from the lender to the general contractor, to the subcontract all the way down to the supplier, if that’s how you’re interacting with that job site, and then how you’ve managed job, uh, job info sheets being put together in the past and Piper, your insight to software and how it’s implemented in this process. I did have one last question for you. And I think some of our attendees might be curious about this as far as job info, sheets and Levelset, how do they get that information into the system so that it can be managed, that they can save that time and have all of that information in one place?
Piper Browne (27:45):
Yeah, good question. Um, there’s a couple different ways that our partners get their job information into Levelset. Um, some folks, uh, manually type it in some folks send us the job sheets and we type it in, um, some people have spreadsheets of information that they send our way and we automatically import so lots of different options, but it all starts with them having accurate job information. Um, you know, that’s, that’s where the lien law lien rights begin is the job site address. And so, um, while we do have a team over here at Levelset that helps fill in gaps of job information and verifies job information. Um, we do need a place to start. So having job sheets filled in from the star with as much information as you can, it’s going to make the process much easier. Um, if you were to not use a software and then if you do decide to implement a software, it’s going to make the implementation and, um, just the whole process, much smoother to have those filled out from the start.
Brian Langhorst (28:50):
Awesome. Thank you very much for that. Uh, we do have one question that came up. Um, I personally don’t know the answer to it, but I think it’s a phenomenal question. It does come up and it says in today’s time as a material supplier, we’re having to pre-purchase project specific materials. So how do leans come into play with those invoices if they’re having a pre-purchase and I’m assuming in, in that instance, I would imagine that’s purchasing it and then storing it in your warehouse as a material supplier until it’s released to the job site.
Allan Francis (29:23):
That’s a great question. If you don’t mind, Brian, I will jump in on this. There’s several ways you can work this, uh, in the old, I want to say the old days, but prior to a lot of things that have been put in place, you would, you would almost have to ask for some type of deposit down because you’re really not covered with any type of lien rights till hits the property of where it’s going to be to where it’s going to be supplied. So until there’s deliverable, you really don’t have that. So you have a couple of ways you can ask them for a deposit and then not to be self-serving. We have a material financing option, and there were several companies that do that, um, material financing. You can send your customer to a material finance company like, like Levelset at Levelset capital.
Allan Francis (30:06):
And what we would do is we would take care of purchasing all those material and then leave, leave the lead rights to us, because what we’re able to do then is we work off a timeline and we allow 120 days for payment, but we will follow those materials until they hit the ground. And then at that point, we will enforce those lien rights for ourselves and take you out of the equation. Otherwise, if you’re going to do this yourself, just be very careful. I would take a deposit to make sure, you know, especially if it’s, non-returnable something you’re going to have to have a re a restock fee and then just get with the general contractor. And, you know, if you don’t trust your general contractor, and this is a subcontractor, then you don’t do the project because it’s only as good as the people in your payment chain.
Allan Francis (30:52):
That’s why that job sheets very important. And one thing I didn’t bring up, a lot of people say, why isn’t an email of the job. Good enough. You know, your, your project manager at the GC sends you, well, here’s what we’re going to do. And here’s the approximate timeline. You need a document that they fill out so that people’s memory doesn’t get fuzzy. So what you have a hard copy of that and that it can’t be altered. Uh, sometimes emails are just not the easy, you know, they can be attached. That’s one way you can attach the project sheet to it or the job sheet to it, but you don’t want just an email body to be your document that you’re using as a job sheet. So I know I went all the way around, but anyway, that’s just my point. Piper, did you want to chime in on? No, I think you covered it
Brian Langhorst (31:41):
Well at that point, we’re gonna close it up. I want to thank you both very much for your time and coming in and participating today and providing your experience around job info, sheets, and software as a service. Thank you so much for that. Thank you to all of our attendees for joining us today. Uh, there will be a follow-up email coming with a link to the recording of this session. And if you have any desire to consult with one of our experts at Levelset about the different services that we have available, uh, we are more than there’s going to be information in the follow-up email to be able to book that meeting and have that opportunity. And with that, I want to thank you all very much for joining us. I hope everybody has a wonderful afternoon, and we look forward to seeing you next time. Have a great afternoon, everybody.