Credit Management and AR Tips From an Equipment Rental Pro
Curious about what it looks like to have a productive and successful day as a credit or payment professional in the equipment rental industry? With some proactive planning, strong communication, and a willingness to constantly learn, you can succeed in managing financial risk, protecting your company, and getting paid on time.
Tracy L. Turner CCE, the Regional Credit Manager at H & E Equipment, has over 13 years of experience in navigating the complicated world of credit in the rental space, and she’s excited to share her insights and expertise.
Join this webinar to learn:
- What it looks like to be a successful credit manager
- Tips for lowering financial risk and protecting your lien rights
- Solutions that credit managers in equipment rental companies use to manage customer relationships
Pierson Villarrubia (03:01):
Today we’re going to be talking about, uh, credit management within, um, the rental equipment industry, uh, how lien rights collections, um, can obviously ties into that. Um, my name is Pearson. I’ve worked at Levelset for three years, helping contractors equipment lessors, uh, keep their lien rights protected, make sure that, uh, cashflow is covered. They can get paid when they should get paid. Um, and I picked up a lot of experience along the way, talking with folks across the country on this. So that’s enough talking for me. Um, we also have Ms. Tracy Turner with us CCE regional credit manager, regional credit manager for H and E equipment. Um, I’m going to shut up and let her do kind of a quick little introduction about herself.
Tracy Turner (04:01):
Yeah, I’ve uh, been with H&E Equipment for 13 years. I’m a regional credit manager. I handle, um, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana North w well Northwest Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and seem to be, um, Missouri. Um, I’ve got two teenage boys. One’s 19 one, 17 and too little for babies. So I’m a single mom with both of them. So we have tend to stay a little busy and they both just, just now got jobs. So we’re super busy now, but yeah,
Pierson Villarrubia (04:30):
That’s exciting. Um, so yeah, no, perfect. That’s we’re going to be your host today. Um, our agenda it’s, this is really going to be a Q and a kind of a day in the life, or like a view into Tracy’s day-to-day and how she keeps at home in at H and E. Um, so we’re going to go through some basic kind of introductory questions upfront. Then we’re going to start to focus a little bit more on equipment rental, um, credit management, like in particular. And then after that, a few questions around, like how Levelset we work with a ton of lessors, uh, across the U S on this kind of how we help, um, quick five minutes within our system. And then we want to open it up to Q and a for everyone within the chat. So if y’all have questions as we’re talking, throw them in there now, and then we’ll be, we’ll make sure to either address them then, or we could make sure that we talk about them, um, as we’re, as we’re wrapping up.
Pierson Villarrubia (05:21):
So let’s go. Um, so yeah, upfront a little bit about Levelset we’re, uh, y’all already know I’m from new Orleans. Uh, we were founded by Scott Wolf. He was a construction attorney here in the city, uh, following hurricane Katrina. And this will probably resonate a little bit with you guys, not sure where you’re at geographically, but when an entire city has to get rebuilt, a lot of contractors come in to work and a lot of guys work really quickly, and then they don’t really focus or spend as much time thinking about how they’re going to get paid for that work. Um, basically it was a, it was a mess. He had too many people coming into the office asking for a demand letter when they had no lien rights or their deadlines had expired. Um, and from there, that was the Genesis for the past 12 years for us to grow into a national leading company that provides lien rights management for Cortland, lessors, distributors, materials, supplier, subcontractors, across the U S um, and we’ll talk about that a little bit more, but let’s get on to what we’re really here for, which is to learn about Tracy.
Pierson Villarrubia (06:36):
So upfront you work at H and a, it’s been a little while. Can you tell us like your, uh, maybe the rise or the story of, of your last few years there?
Tracy Turner (06:48):
Yeah. Um, so I started out here as regional credit manager. Um, like I said, I’ve been, I’ve been in credit management in North Texas for over 30 years, but I’ve been here for 13 going on 14. Um, we, um, pre COVID, um, I had 12 credit assistance since COVID, we’re down to four credit assistance. Yeah. We took a little bit of a dive, of course, you know, everybody did, COVID kinda took us, you know, in, in the wrong direction as did everybody. Um, but I’ve got poor credit assistance and a senior credit assistant. And of course we’re, we’re fixing the ramp up and add personnel. Um, now that everything’s kind of turned around, um, we were talking before the webinar started and how we’re getting really busy now. Um, and, um, we process all our credit apps in house. Um, we, um, do our credit card payments. We do all the collections in house and dispute resolution. Um, what we don’t do is we do not, um, do the posting of the cashier. That’s all handled at our corporate office, but we do pretty much anything else that has to do with the credit process itself here. So we do our lean, we do all our lien notices here and everything else in-house here at our office.
Pierson Villarrubia (08:02):
Gotcha. Um, if you don’t mind me asking when with that drop-off with credit assistance, how did that impact the day to day? Um, I know there was slightly less business because of COVID, but outside of that, kind of what, what how’d you feel in it?
Tracy Turner (08:18):
Um, you know, in the very beginning it was, it was huge for the first six months for the last six months. It’s probably not been as bad because we were kind of recovering from all the disputes from all the, you know, we had a lot of cleanup to do, um, cause customers were Piney and everything. Um, you know, counting for every penny accounting for every day, you know, Oh, I didn’t have it for three weeks. I had it for two weeks and two days, or I didn’t buy that part. Uh, you know, that’s tax exempt, you know, they were, you know, doing everything that they could do to save money. Um, so it allowed us the time to clean up the aging. It allowed us time to, you know, dispute, resolve a lot of issues, reconcile a lot of accounts, um, and do more of that.
Tracy Turner (09:06):
Um, what I call kid glove accounts, taking care of our customers. One-on-one a little bit more than what we would normally have time to do, um, and to take care of the salesmen and making sure they’re getting their commission because our salesmen are paid on commission after 120 days, they lose it. So it’s one of those things where we were able to kind of help them to, through those customers for work and payment plans out with, because we had a lot of customers, we were having to do payment arrangements with, you know, when we had, when you have customers that can’t pay because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and they’re waiting on fence from the government to sustain their business. We’re sitting here trying to stretch them out, save ourselves in commission, get paid within a timeframe, but also be able to allow them to continue to run equipment and protect our rights.
Tracy Turner (09:51):
So it was a very fine line, but you’re able to keep customers in business. You’re able to stay in business. Salesmen’s able to get paid. You’re able to protect your rights and keep everything flowing. So it was just a, it was a tough time, but a learning experience on how to balance everything, because even through the eighties and all the falls we’ve had with financial and economic times, this is probably the most challenging time I’ve ever had, but it was a learning experience of learning how to cope with all those different, um, avenues of stress. You got yourself and you’ve got your customer, you’ve got your economy, you’ve got, you know, all these different people coming at you, but yet at the end of the day, we’re all still here.
Pierson Villarrubia (10:42):
Was it pressure turns a Coles and the diamond.
Tracy Turner (10:45):
And you’ve got customers that really appreciated the fact that you worked with them and you didn’t just give up on them.
Pierson Villarrubia (10:54):
Yeah. Um, yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a tough past year and it’s, it’s been fascinating hearing everyone that I’ve talked to, how they’ve gotten around it, because same folks that are still here, they, they, they pulled some magic off. Um, and it’s really cool to hear. Um, so maybe not just COVID specific, but cause you mentioned, Hey, it was a little bit different than obviously normal times, but day to day and then month to month, what, what does the flow of your month look like when you’re monitoring age and closing out the month? Um, from week one to week four, how does that go?
Tracy Turner (11:31):
So the first two weeks of the month, we’re really working on notices, obviously we’re in Texas. So the first two weeks of the month, we’re focusing on the aging for the notices and prepping for those. Um, and getting the first, you know, the Texas notices handled reduced from the previous month to current and where we are now and double checking, making sure that the payments, if we did get paid, we pull those. Um, and then we’re ramping up towards month end. Um, at month end, we’re really cleaning up, making those big dollar calls, trying to overnight checks in so that we can process. I do scan checks into the bank from here. I have a spank scanner. So month end, I process checks in here, you know, into our scanner. We don’t post them, but I deposit them. Um, so we’ll overnight checks in the last week of the month.
Tracy Turner (12:19):
Um, so we do do that. Um, we also will do, um, blitzes sometimes to try and help funds navigate in towards the third week of the month, if we need to, um, and switch things up sometimes, you know, to where we can, I may get a different collector on the phone. Hey, you know, this bridge is struggling. We’ve maybe had the same collector on this branch too long, so we’ll switch it up and we’ll switch collectors out. Um, I just have to sometimes change it up. You know, you can have the same collector in the same area too long. And so every once in a while we’ll switch it up and blitz and then you’ve got everybody calling and changing things up and it makes a huge difference. So you’ve got the first two weeks really notices and then everybody’s calling in between. I am also always into the credit memos and trying to find out the credit balances, reconcile those. And I’ve got another girl that’s handling credit apps. And then towards the end of the month, it’s machine sales, trying to figure out the machine cells and get those balances in. And then we work on, um, the end of the month on the bigger dollars and, um, overnight the checks in for the high dollar balances.
Pierson Villarrubia (13:28):
Gotcha. So when you’re talking about processing all those credit apps internally, what else are you guys using to extend contracts to your customers? Uh, do you, are you also asking for trade references from other customers? Like what, what goes into becoming a customer of H and M?
Tracy Turner (13:48):
So we start off with the credit app, then we will pull, um, we have one credit source that we pull if it passes based on our metrics that we have set up that is automatic set up from there. If it doesn’t, there’s another credit source that we pull, if that doesn’t pass, it’s automatic really referred back to us. And then we start the trigger for his process. Um, I have the option to, I read that I can set it up based on what I see and if that doesn’t work, then we start the trader references and then we can go to job information. We could go to joint checks, we can go to, you know, there’s all those other avenues that I can take from there. Um, it had come from the corporate office and they’ll say, Hey, what do you want to do? And then I set it up from there based on how I want to take the Avenue, you know, visit a big job like Amazon, or is it a big job, you know, like a Sam’s club or whatever. And we want to do joint check with the GC. We can do that,
Pierson Villarrubia (14:43):
Right? Yeah. Because there’s a layer of credibility beyond just your customer and you can reach out to them. Got it. Yeah. Um, so not just lean right specific. This could be broadened past that, but what is the most difficult part of either your job or your department when it comes to protecting receivables,
Tracy Turner (15:04):
Knowing where the equipment is because all of our equipment does not have tracking. So a lot of our customers will take equipment and we don’t deliver it. And if we don’t deliver it, we don’t know where it goes, especially in the oil field. Um, especially when the oil fields extremely busy. Um, sometimes we’ll have a customer call in and say, they need a service repair. And that customer that’s calling it in is not the customer. We rented it to. So all of a sudden we found out that someone else has picked it up and to get to a job site, but that’s because you have three or four subs on the same job. And they just took a piece of equipment that they thought was theirs, but it’s not, theirs was rented to somebody else. So keeping up with our equipment sometimes is the biggest challenge and knowing where it’s at
Pierson Villarrubia (15:52):
Gotcha. Outside of like, obviously with GPS, you’re going to know where it is without having that. How are you all just trying to stay on top of that? Is that those credit assistants calling or the salesman, do they have to stay up to date with the, with the pieces
Tracy Turner (16:06):
You got salesmen that are really good at what they do in certain areas of my territory, they are, you know, the ones that handle the oil field, they’re really, really good. They know their job sites. They know where they are, they’ll go out and they’ll track them down. And then you’ve got the salesmen that are on these construction sites. You know, they’re familiar with the project superintendents, they know the, all the subs and all the players on these jobs. And as long as they have a really good relationship, they help us out a lot, you know, more so than the collectors, in my opinion, you know, if your salesman’s are really good and you’ve got a good relationship with your salesman, they will really go the mall to help you out
Pierson Villarrubia (16:48):
Shameless plug right now. But we did another webinar a few weeks about, uh, back with, I believe via Dudley about managing that relationship between the credit department and the sales department, um, across any org, not just within, um, you know, the rental industry, what are some of the things that you guys do to make sure that you’re, you have great communication between them? Because I see that over and over again, where that’s tends to be like the black hole of where issues can STEM from,
Tracy Turner (17:16):
You know, to me, you’ve got to keep the communication open. You cannot shut it down. You’ve got to always be open to listen. You know, if they get out on the outs with the girls in the office with more collectors, then they’ll come to me and we’ve got to figure out how to make it work. It can’t always be no it’s gotta be no. And here’s my reasons why, and if this isn’t gonna work, then let’s figure out what is going to work. It’s cannot always be just a dead end road. You got to figure it out and you got to work together because at the end of the day, we’ve either got to make this deal work or we’ve to make another one work, but we’ve got to always be able to work together. It’s just like I asked the salesman this morning to go to the address.
Tracy Turner (17:56):
And he looked at the GPS last night and he goes, Tracy, this is a field. I said, it may be a field, but this is the address. The customer gave me a where we’re sending invoices. I need you to go check it out. And he sent me a picture back and he goes, it’s a ranch lit out in the middle of nowhere and sure enough, it is. And now I, my customer’s in the wind, but he went and did it for me, even though it took him an hour to get there this morning, but I will. Thank you. You know what I mean? It’s one of those it’s. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I know it was a drag for you, but I really appreciate it, you know, and he knows that I appreciate it. It wasn’t the driver in for him. Right.
Pierson Villarrubia (18:37):
Do you communicate with the sales team, um, about the lean process, because I’ve, I’ve done that a few times where I’ll run trainings for distributors for their sales seem to be able to communicate it to their kids.
Tracy Turner (18:51):
Yeah, we do that. And we also have monthly sales calls with our branches. Um, so what the dude, the, the collectors will have a monthly sales call with the branch and we, and I’ll get on there and sometimes go over a little things that, that branch, particularly in their Salesforce may be missing. So the branch managers on the call, the regional people are on the call and all the sales team are on the call. So I get to touch them once a month. And so the collector gets to talk to them every month and go over accounts. So we get to touch on things like that. Hey, this customer is going to get a notice or this customer we’re, you know, possibly gonna pick up equipment and we’re going to have to lean them. Can you help me? And that has been huge for us. And we’ve been doing conference calls with our branches for probably the last five years. And it has really helped men those relationships.
Pierson Villarrubia (19:40):
Yeah. A lot of times it’s just about being on the same page, as cliche as I can, that sounds, you know, understanding each other. Um, so we know that the classic sense of, you know, protecting your payment, um, is you can go and pick up your equipment and say, Hey, well, you’re not going to have it anymore. Right. Um, outside of repossessing, the machine, what, what are the actions that you guys are taking to make sure that you’re covered or, you know, push comes to shove, you, you really need to, uh, get that.
Tracy Turner (20:13):
Well, we will really work with anybody. You know, especially if they’re making an attempt, they’re making into tempt to pay, I’m getting some money all the time. They may not, you know, they may only get to keep that machine that they have. And as long as they’re making some sort of payments and they’re going through a hard time, I will work with them. Um, outside of that, if there’s nothing, then I will pluck them off of it and we will pick it up and we will. And if I can’t find it, then we will do a forcible demand and we’ll send the sheriff out to go get it. So, you know, we, we will do that if we have to, it’s not the, I like to go because we of course want to keep them as a customer. You don’t want to lose customers. You want to keep them. It’s just it’s. We can do it the nice way and keep everybody and work with you and get you through this rough patch. Or if you’re going to take it and hide it, then we’re going to have to go find it and finding it involves the legal, the legal team.
Pierson Villarrubia (21:11):
Yeah, no, one’s having a good time once they get involved.
Tracy Turner (21:13):
Yeah, no, and unfortunately that’s not a road back to H knee. Once we go down that one, it’s a one way street.
Pierson Villarrubia (21:21):
Um, one thing that I wanted to bring back up, because as you mentioned, we were talking before the webinar started. Um, but the lean process in general and the notices that are required of it, um, how are you communicating with your customers? Um, prior to a notice going out or before you take, maybe what could be deemed as an aggressive action, um, in the lean process, how are you communicating that?
Tracy Turner (21:52):
Uh, we normally we’ll tell our customers, Hey, you know, we’ve got to send these notices because we’ve not been paid. Um, but this will also help you get paid. Um, we’re helping you get your payment from your GC. Now, if they haven’t been paid, they normally go, yay. That helps if they have been paid well, then that’s where we get into the problem of, well, you can’t do that or that’s going to cause me problems. Well, unfortunately for them, if they had paid us, we wouldn’t be in this scenario. But if they haven’t been paid, it’s normally well received. It’s just explaining to them why, why we do it, you know, why it helps them because they don’t see it as helping them when we’re sending something saying, Hey, you haven’t paid us, but we have to explain to them, well, it’s really not affecting you. It’s telling you, you haven’t been paid by your GC and that they need to pay you so you can pay us. It’s kind of a trickle down effect. And so once we explain it to them, normally it’s well received. Except for those that haven’t been, those that have been paid that haven’t paid us.
Pierson Villarrubia (22:53):
Yeah. And that’s, yeah, it’s kind of transparent as to why they’re reacting like that. Um, so like with your own experience, do you have maybe any specific stories that you could think of where, you know, you guys maybe between a rock and a hard place really didn’t think you’re going to get paid on time. Uh, but being able to follow that process puts you in the right position to collect in the end.
Tracy Turner (23:20):
Yeah. You know, we’ve, uh, we’ve actually had several and especially here lately, um, you know, and they were big dollar claims. You know, we, um, prior to the last several years, you know, we just kinda ran lucky so to speak. Um, we would do the notices on problem accounts, problematic people once we knew were a tr or a problem, but we wouldn’t do a lot them. We just kind of, Hey, this customer’s been known to be a problem. We’ll send it. But here in the last two years, it’s been, we’re doing a more and more and more so it’s just become now more practice and habit on across the board with our customer base. And we had a customer that we’ve had since I’ve been here. So 13 years never been a problem. And they were on this really big project, all of a sudden stop paying and they go to upwards of $800,000.
Tracy Turner (24:17):
Well, finally they gave us a big chunk, gave us another big chunk. We got down to about this $300,000 range. And they stopped paying and kept asking for more time asking for more time. Well, time was running down on to be able to notice it. And I was like, you know what? My boss is like, you’ve got to do this. You’ve got acid, but they’re so good. Their customer they’ve been with us forever. She’s like, no, you’ve got to do it. I was like, okay. So I closed my eyes and just did it. And you know, we, we ended up going through the whole process and we got paid by the surety in full, and the customer is still in litigation with their owner that they did project, but we’re paying and we’re out of the mix now they’re still, you know, fighting back and forth, but had we not done what we did on the pipeline with the bond claim, we would not be paid. And that was the first pipeline I had actually fallen upon claim on
Pierson Villarrubia (25:20):
That’s a lot of times. Yeah. That’s amazing. So a lot of times that’s what I’m trying to preach is it’s the lean process. Isn’t about saying we’re going to be filing liens left and right. We’re going to be claiming against the bond left and right. It’s about wearing a seatbelt. It’s about protecting yourself in case something were to go bad. And then oftentimes, which I know from my experience, but I want to hear from you as well. You talked about how the last five to six years you’ve become more consistent with sending out these notices. Have you guys seen maybe time to payment or the number of liens you filed drop down, like has when you get paid, become more consistent as well because of that?
Tracy Turner (26:00):
Yeah, it seems to be. And also I found the customers, customers are more communicated to us, Hey, I’m going to be paying. And it seems to be the week before the notices are going out, because they’re getting in the habit of paying ahead of time. They know that that’s coming up and they want to make sure their payments in before we send them out. So yeah, we’re seeing, uh, the term is what I call habits. Customers are getting in the habit, you know, cause they always say you can train your customers and you can, you can train them.
Pierson Villarrubia (26:33):
Yeah. I call it onboarding your customer. Yep. Yeah,
Tracy Turner (26:36):
Pierson Villarrubia (26:39):
So I will say you’re in Texas, you’re a black belt at this. You’ve been doing it for years. And for 81, like on the webinar, that’s not from Texas, but they, they dabble in lien rights. Texas is the most difficult state, hands down, not even close to pay attention to your deadlines, um, monitor each project. What, so that’s the caveat. Other States can be a little easier than this. What is the most difficult aspect of managing the process in your eyes?
Tracy Turner (27:11):
Well, for, okay. So before I came to rental, I had it easy because I was in distribution and um, I had spent a stint in concrete, which is easy to do because you’re, you know, you’re invoicing the day you pour, right? Yeah. So it’s easy, it’s easy peasy. So, but when your rental, we put it out on the dirt, but we don’t invoice it for 17 days. So our invoice is 17 days after we’ve delivered it. So the notice process starts on the day we deliver it, not the day we invoice it. So we have to focus on contract dates. So our intent Talena is process is driven off contract, also reporting, not off of a customer counts. So we have to actually do our, um, notices off of contract reporting. So it’s not done off of customer agings or anything like that in the beginning, we have to work off of another way of doing it. And then we ended up coming to the aging process towards the end of our two week term that we work on. So it’s a different process. It’s a little bit more manual, but it’s the way we have to do it because of how our billing cycle,
Pierson Villarrubia (28:28):
Your billing set up. Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, that is a little difficult. Um, so yeah, uh, I will say I’ve got one or two more questions before we, um, kind of transition into a quick walk through of how Levelset helps with that whole process and kind of makes it not as difficult. Um, but let’s say, you know, any good credit manager doesn’t have to just be within rental, what, what should they continue or just try to keep improving on whether that’s a soft skill or a process that they have in place?
Tracy Turner (29:07):
Um, I would say number one, you got to stay up with the notice of process and the Lea and the lean low lean laws, you know, Texas was having problems already again this year, you know, they were down and an Austin dealing with legislation. Um, the first part of April, um, already someone had written the bill and was trying to change the process again, you know, so I would say that would be the main focus. Um, but also, you know, what things can you do to help your customers during times, because apparently that’s fixing to be the norm, you know, who would have thought that we would have the issues we’ve had, you know, a winter storm pandemic. I mean, we’re going to have to prepare for that because customers are going to go through tough times and as companies we’re going to have to adapt to that in order to hang onto the customer base. So we’re going to have to become more adaptable to our customer situations and learn to work with them and not just say, Nope, that’s just the way it is and we’re gonna have to get creative. And so I would say that between the lean laws and getting creative to work with your customers and find more creative ways to work with them,
Pierson Villarrubia (30:19):
That’s perfect. Um, and then a final like little ribbon or a little bell on top, uh, just a general piece of advice you’d give to any other credit professional AR professional, working within equipment rental, um, for, you know, growing their career or having a steady one that can last decades, uh, within this industry.
Tracy Turner (30:44):
Um, I would say absorb as much knowledge as you can from as many sources as you can, because to me, you can’t just learn from one person. You know, you’ve got to continue to learn and continue to learn from people that have been in this business because, you know, I’ve been in several different industries and, and every industry does things different, but I’ve also been networking with tons of people that I now call friends and they all do things different. So you’ve got to just learn from different sources and keep an open mind to growing.
Pierson Villarrubia (31:24):
Awesome. Yeah. I think that applies to like everyday life too, right. Not just, uh, making sure we get paid when we should. Um, so yeah, that’s, uh, I guess I didn’t keep up with the slides for that. If y’all are listening, you’re able to follow along. Um, so real quick, I’m going to hop into Levelset itself. So we’re going to go through, um, some of, you know, the day to day on how are we going to be able to protect these projects. So even if you’re not using Levelset, you’re not using some kind of service to do this, you’re doing this internally. Um, the process as a whole and being consistent in it is what you should take away from this. Um, so upfront I have a job, it’s a test job I put in in California. Um, unlike Texas, not crazy complicated where we might have to send multiple on multiple notices to protect our lien rights.
Pierson Villarrubia (32:18):
Um, right here, we, we just have to send our prelim right when the job starts, um, unless you know, new contract is created. So we’ve had it spelled out, we’ve got nine days to send this out. And when we talked about onboarding, uh, our customers are like communicating what the rates process is with our customers. We think a great way to start. This is this front page of that initial notice that goes out, um, because your customer might be familiar with the lien rights process, but Hey, maybe the owner of this project is not. And if they’re going to receive a notice that has the word lien on it, they might recognize that and freak out. So it’s about putting this into like a common language explaining. This is why we’re sending it. This is the purpose of it. And now we’ve checked our box.
Pierson Villarrubia (33:08):
So right here, it would say, you know, ABC equipment rental is on your project under project contribution. Hey, these are the pieces we have on the job site. Um, and when they arrived to have the logo, um, then this is a custom message. Uh, but this is the boilerplate version of it. Thanks for the business. We’re sending you this, notice that what you’re aware of our involvement on the project, very important for the GC, for the property owner, to understand that, um, we are notifying you that way. You understand how to communicate with us. If there is any kind of problem we punch in contract amount, followed up with, again, that transparency, Hey, this is who hired us. We understand that these are the property owners involved. This is the lender working on the project. And then if we had vendors, we could listen. They’re not going to be the case for you guys.
Pierson Villarrubia (34:03):
Um, and then the actual legal document, following that up, click next. Hey, this is who asked to receive it through certified mail. We’re good to go. If we need to add anyone else, we absolutely can click next. Hey, we can rush it to get out the door ASAP. If we’re coming up tight against the deadline, or we could just mail it within three days of the order, but we’ve gone ahead and, and, uh, mailed it out for you. We’ve done everything, um, that can be done for the pre. So this Tracy, this actually brings up a question for you. How obviously, you know, your customer, how are you going to find, uh, the general contractor or maybe the, the owner of the project if they need to receive this stuff?
Tracy Turner (34:54):
Um, well we start with, um, our customer. We start asking them, or we will have had the job sheet up front and the salesman would have got it from the job site. Okay, perfect. It just depends on the customer
Pierson Villarrubia (35:06):
Cause some, yeah, either they don’t know. Maybe they tell you the wrong answer on purpose. They don’t want to know. Um, but I, I did skip past it, but a really valuable part of this is once we get that job site address, we’ve got a team of 30 people that that’s what they do. They’re private eyes, or they go find, they pull tax records. They’re going to the County recorder. They’re working within our own database to see, Hey, who actually is running this project who owns the site. Um, that way we always the right people are going to be receiving this, um, further down, Hey, we haven’t been paid. It’s becoming an issue that notice of intent to lien optional here in California, but crucial part of the lien rights process. Uh, Tracy manages a few States where that’s going to be required, basically demand letter saying, Hey, we haven’t been paid liens, common. How do we avoid this bad outcome? Um, and then finally, the lien or the claim against the bond itself, tracking that deadline. It’s in plain view. We know when we need to take action, uh, that way it’s never, never creeping up on us.
Pierson Villarrubia (36:19):
Last thing I want to highlight here is this was an individual project. So if we have those credit assistants and they’re responsible for all the jobs that we work with, these five customers, they can look at their individual projects like that and see, okay, where do we stand beyond that? This is the view that Tracy’s going to want to see is where do we stand across all of our different projects, whether that’s oil, field customers, construction ag,
Pierson Villarrubia (36:51):
As this loads up, cause this is going to be basically that report that’s showing where do we stand everywhere so we can sort it out by, Hey, what’s our nearest approaching deadline, notice lean, uh, bond claim, protected status. So, Hey, have we met a requirement? That’s going to be due pretty soon here. Um, outstanding amount. Who’s our customer. And there’s a ton of different columns that you could rearrange this by. Um, you know, when were we last on site? Who’s the GC running the project, which line of business, so oil field, um, you know, or construction. And then this is my favorite way to filter this, which is the lean alerts. So we’re doing this for, you know, really large distributed and not just really large, massive distributors like Ferguson, we’re doing this for like a Hearn and the equipment rental space to where we have a footprint on a lot of projects across the U S.
Pierson Villarrubia (38:00):
And if we know that, you know, we’ve got certain customers on certain jobs, we’ll then we can, we know if they’re filing liens, obviously, but that also gives us the address to pull from that County recorder website across the U S so where we’re able to see, Hey, are other project participants filing liens on the jobs that our customers are working on. So when Tracy is, you know, when she’s looking in that first week, getting notices prepared to go out on the 15th, this is when we could come in and look and see, all right, this job has 20 liens on it already. I’d say it’s probably guaranteed. We’re going to have to have that notice out and ready, get it out the door to where you can kind of prioritize, what do we need to pay attention to? And, you know, how do we need to hop on the phone and communicate with our customers? Now, if we’re stepping into a hornet’s nest, you know, um, I just, Tracy, like not just the lean alerts, but how do you track this information? Or like, how do you see this being useful in your position?
Tracy Turner (39:08):
Um, well, I have something similar that I use kind of like a spreadsheet that I kinda track with. Um, I like this though, because it has the at-risk, you know, column so that you kind of, those would stay now. Um, instead of the manual process I use, but, you know, again, we’re, you know, the way that we have to do ours because of the time issue, you know, we just, it’s just different, but I liked the at-risk cause it kind of stands out and tells you, you need to do me first. And you know that that’s also nice when you can get those that, you know, you’re going to have to do out of the way, then you can focus on the ones that you may have to do. And so too, I do have a dollar limit if it’s over 20, if it’s under $2,500, I don’t even mess with those. I do everything over that. So, you know, that kind of choose out. So I kind of peeled the top ones off that I know I have to do the $2,500 out and then I’m left with everything in the middle.
Pierson Villarrubia (40:07):
Yeah. And that’s how we want to, you want to spend your time wisely. So the other way we could filter this would be by state. So if you just want to look at all your projects in Arkansas and Arkansas alone, we could do that versus Texas versus Louisiana, um, all that would be interactive. So there’s a lot more bells and whistles to this. I just wanted to show individual project all the projects. Um, but we could get into the, this is probably the favorite part about all of our Texas users are our approved monthly notices. Um, and the documents queue. I’m not going to show it, but I’ll tease it to where we would have all the invoices for, you know, what we’ve built for those projects. And we’d have every single one of your monthly notices ready and set to go the day before they’re due.
Pierson Villarrubia (40:54):
You just have to tell us yes or no. And then they’d either go out or we’d pull them from the batch, um, which as you can imagine, saves people a lot of time, um, when you have to write them all up manually, and then all of a sudden you get paid on the 14th and then say, okay, guess we don’t need to send that one. So I’ll go on back to this. I was really bad with the slides. Um, so do we have any, maybe parting questions from the attendees, uh, before we hop out of here, I see we’ve got one, uh, from home of ILA. Uh, do you have any info slash updates on the lien laws? They were discussing, you had the Capitol a few weeks ago. So I’m going to assuming I’m going to assume that’s exactly what you were talking about earlier, Tracy.
Tracy Turner (41:45):
Yeah. Um, that they were discussing, um, actually that, okay. So the committee that the guy who wrote the bill, um, and the committee were discussing ways that they can get around. Um, the days the issue at hand, one of the issues at hand was the first notice. And the second notice they’re wanting to eliminate the first notice that way you would only have to deal with the, not the fund trapping notice. So, um, and they were working on, um, a way to come together on that. So there’s, there’s that issue. Plus there was an issue on, um, the fact that you have a year after the project’s finished. So they’re going back to community there’s there. They got nowhere, obviously. So there are, we have a, um, NACM hired a lobbyist, so I know that they’re still dealing with it, um, down there on the floor. Um, and so it’s still up for discussion, so they’re still working on it. Um, that was just the first round. I don’t know if that helps, but I wasn’t able to go because I was, I wasn’t able to go because they called on Monday, asked if I could go and I was due for my COVID my second shot on Wednesday. So I was not able to go cause it was been Tuesday. And so, um, or I would have went and I have better details.
Pierson Villarrubia (43:10):
Um, I will say though, if you guys would like to come to the news aspect of Levelset we work, we’ve got our internal team of attorneys. That’s constantly, um, scouring, Hey, what is going to be changing? What’s on, what’s coming up on the horizon to where as soon as something happens, when it has to deal with lien law, it’s posted here. Um, and we’re frequently running webinars, not just this, but with construction attorneys from let’s just say individual States where like, I know Georgia changed their lien waivers in this past year. So we made sure to have one of the attorneys on that was part of the committee that had that changed, going to action. Um, so if you monitor the site from time to time, even if it’s once a month, we’re going to make sure that you’re, you’re aware of, of any changes.
Pierson Villarrubia (44:00):
Um, and then the other thing is the ask a question aspect. So I just talked about how we have those attorneys, um, that are, you know, internal looking for those changes. But if you do have a legal question, you don’t have direct access to an attorney or you have one on retainer, you don’t want to spend a ton of money asking them a simple question. Like, Hey, is the lien law change in Texas in 2021, you can submit it here and we’re going to forward those questions to local construction attorneys. They’re going to answer and get it back to you. So, um, that’s not, that’s nothing that you have to pay for that, that comes with this. So take advantage of that resource Outside of that. I’m going to leave another minute for any other questions, but I think we’re going to be good to go. So, um, Tracy, I really appreciate your time. It was fun talking with you today, cutting it up with a black belt of lean law, um, and appreciate everyone for attendance. So you will get a recording. Thanks again.