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How Restoration Contractors use Levelset to Reduce Risk During Storm Season





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Experts in this video

Michael Agnello
Michael Agnello
Hurricane season is upon us, and predicted to come sooner and stay longer. The chaos of storm recovery jobs can lead to overdue payments and little time to get all your outstanding receivables in check.Our payment expert, Michael Agnello, will be hosting this can’t-miss webinar for anyone doing work on restoration jobs this storm season.


Join this free, live webinar on July 28th at 1PM CT and learn how to:

  • Secure faster payments
  • Get paid without hassling owners & adjusters
Always control your cash flow no matter how busy you get. 

Speaker 1 (00:04):
Got about 1 0 4. We’re gonna go ahead and get started. Now I’m guessing there are a number of reasons why people are showing up today. Um, maybe you’re new to restoration and you wanna make sure that you stay ahead of your first storm season, or if you’re more of a seasoned veteran in this industry, uh, you’ve gone through storm season before, and you wanna make sure that your business is better prepared for the upcoming ones, uh, either way you’re all in the right place. And I think we can all agree that getting paid in construction is not very easy and restoration, uh, has a unique relationship with that. And, and we’re certainly gonna go in that, pull back the cover about why that is and make sure that again, your businesses are best prepared to handle that and be proactive. My goal though, is that you’ll leave this session feeling confident about the steps that your business can take to get paid on time.

Speaker 1 (01:03):
You know, restoration contractors using level set have been able to cut down on their time to payment, you know, anywhere from 90 days down to 17 days. So we know that this works and, and we’re, we’re really happy to be able to chat further and connect with this industry to get those same results for you. Some housekeeping items though, uh, we are recording this session, uh, you’ll receive a link to the recording tomorrow to rewatch it or share with your team and colleagues. Um, anyone else that you think would benefit from this. Um, and as mentioned, if you do have any questions during the presentation, go ahead and enter them into the chat box. Um, my, my co-host here Kiana said that it should be good to go. So anything that you have during the presentation, feel free to throw it in there. And if it’s relevant, we’ll stop chat.

Speaker 1 (01:49):
Make sure that that everyone’s on the same page. Of course, I know that you’re busy people, so appreciate you sitting down and chatting with us. If you can’t stay for the whole duration, uh, there are, or there will be a QR code on upcoming slides that you can scan, um, fill out your information and request a call. Um, either later today or tomorrow, I will personally be giving you guys a call so that we can chat a bit further about whatever it is you may need. Okay. So my name is Michael Agne. I’m an account executive at level set. I work with businesses like yours to get paid more quickly and, and stabilize their cash flow so that they can be successful. And I wanted to specifically do this webinar because restoration companies, they mean something different in a place like new Orleans, which, which is where I currently live.

Speaker 1 (02:39):
You know, last year, hurricane Ida hit the city and, and you know, our, our region really hard. Um, but what I thought was moving was that contractors from all over the country came rushing down here to help get things back to normal. It’s a great thing. Uh, when you feel that support, um, because your industry quite literally plays a direct role in getting people back into their homes, and yes, there there is money to be made in it. Um, but the tough part is you’re doing this really noble act, and then you’re still experiencing all these issues getting paid, uh, for a variety of reasons. So we’ll make sure that, that we address that. Um, and for those of you who may be newer to level set, I do wanna make sure that we at least give you a quick overview, um, of what we do here.

Speaker 1 (03:27):
So our goal here at level set, we were founded on the, the purpose of empowering businesses to get what they earn. You know, like I mentioned, construction restoration as a trade specifically presents a lot of challenges, payment being one of them like in no other industry, would you do work and then wait 60 to 90 days to get that paycheck? You know, I’m fortunate get paid biweekly here. Um, I know that that’s not the reality for a lot of contractors out there. And so what we do is, is protect those businesses with AR lean rights management software that you can track your, your notice deadlines, um, verify job site details overall, make your process of managing your, your payment rights easier so that your team can focus on other important areas. We also provide access to construction attorneys and other legal services, plus, you know, all sorts of resources like webinars, like blogs that can make sure that you’re staying up to date about industry best practices. All right, let’s jump into the presentation.

Speaker 1 (04:30):
We’ve got an agenda here so you can know what to expect. We’re gonna discuss the challenges that restoration contractors face, the steps that you can take with owners and adjusters to set better expectations, how you can use level set to manage those expectations and have better payment terms. And then of course, we’re gonna save room at the end for some restoration FAQs success stories. And of course a Q and a session, right? I’ve personally worked with a lot of restoration companies here at level set. And, you know, while the challenges that you face are, are unique, we’ve seen that employing a consistent strategy, uh, leads to successful outcomes. And by that, we mean that when you understand and, and try to approach it proactively these issues of, you know, communicating high job volume, slow payouts, you’re able to have a more predictable outcome.

Speaker 1 (05:37):
The, the twist though, is that during storm season, these issues, you know, they’re gonna happen, but your days and your job volume looks a bit crazier than it does in other times. So you wanna make sure that you get ahead of these curves. You get ahead of these issues before you’re spending 18 hours a day, um, going from job site to job site, staying in hotel rooms for weeks on end, not seeing your family. We wanna make sure that you guys have a process in place before those crazy times begin. Okay. So in terms of communicating with parties, what I mean is that, you know, restoration is a treat that homeowners and even some adjusters don’t fully understand and ex you know, setting expectations about what kind of work you’re doing. And, and when you expect to get paid can be a hurdle, high job volume.

Speaker 1 (06:27):
Like I just mentioned it, it’s sometimes hard to slow down and chase payment from a carrier or homeowner. You know, you don’t have the bandwidth to stop and, and call and fester people. Um, you know, you got a million more jobs lined up that need your attention, so that that’s always gonna be a hurdle and then slow payouts. You know, the net result of a lot of this stuff, uh, it kills cash flow, you know, payments from jobs that you completed six to nine days ago. Uh, they don’t feel like they’re actually helping your business grow. It’s more so patching a hole in your pocket that that’s still growing each day. OK. So in terms of, of how we’re gonna approach this, this first part of, of getting paid by adjusters and owners, we do have a five step, you know, process here. And so, um, in general, you’re relying on your property owner to pay you in turn, they’re relying on their carrier to pay their claim.

Speaker 1 (07:22):
And, and there’s certainly an urge to feel like, Hey, I gotta jump in and talk to the adjuster and help things move, move more quickly. But the, the core part of your job is building a strong relationship with the client. And it’s important to make sure that you’re avoiding mistakes that can land you in hot water. And so we wanna make sure that we have the right approach that will improve communication, build trust, help you get paid faster. So step one, which I’ve alluded to is set expectations. So in general, we see that there are three parties, sometimes more involved in a restoration project. You have the property owner, you have the adjuster, and then you have the contractor, you know, oftentimes, or, or sometimes there may be a mortgage company involved as well, but almost always there’s those three each party in that, that little triangle, there has their own rights, their own responsibilities.

Speaker 1 (08:16):
You know, you’re working for the property owner, the carrier’s working for the, the property owner, um, and, and sometimes your interests aren’t always aligned. And so in terms of setting expectations, you wanna make sure that they know what to expect when navigating this. And part of that means understanding for the homeowner understanding and the, and the adjuster understanding what can happen. If the claim is delayed, what can happen if you don’t get paid on time? Um, whether that’s the, the adjuster taking their sweet time and approving that claim, or whether it is the homeowner who’s actually been paid out and is holding onto that check a little bit, bit too long, you wanna make sure that expectations are crystal clear and that you can take next steps. All right.

Speaker 1 (09:07):
On the flip side, you also wanna make sure that the adjuster knows what to expect, just for context. All right. Step two. Yes. R RQ on step two, protecting your rights from day one. This goes hand in hand with setting expectations, you know, sending out a preliminary notice to the homeowner and adjuster is a fantastic way to make sure that your, your rights are communicated. Um, you know, and if you’re working in a state that requires prelims be sent as a prerequisite, uh, it’ll check that box too. And just so we’re all on the same page here, a preliminary notice is a document that contractors send at the beginning of a job to inform others, the homeowner, the, the insurance carrier, um, the mortgage lender about your presence and work on the job. You you’ve probably heard them referred to before, maybe as a pre lie or a notice to owner notice to furnishing.

Speaker 1 (10:02):
But what this is, I is, again, a document that puts forward your presence on the job makes you look professional. And it also, of course, makes sure that the homeowner adjuster knows that your rights are protected and you can leverage those rights if you need to. Now, I’d mentioned that some states require a preliminary, preliminary notice, and I’m sure you probably are wondering what I mean. So generally speaking, every state has, has mechanic lean laws on the books. Those are the laws that allow you as a contractor sub supplier, um, to file a lien if push comes to shove and you’re not paid, that said some states like take Florida, for example, um, generally speaking, it may be required for you to send out a preliminary notice or a notice to owner in order to preserve that, right. And that’s what I’m kind of referring to is that some of these states operate a bit differently in that in order to have this right at the end of a job, you have to, to satisfy certain paperwork at the front end, okay.

Speaker 1 (11:09):
Step three here, keeping track of your delinquent customers. So in order to make sure that your cash is in the door and you don’t have to chase down payments, try to get a better system of keeping track of your delinquent invoices. You know, typically when you guys are using QuickBooks or Sage to send out your invoices, um, you know, I’m sure you have an idea before that invoice is going out. Like who’s gonna be a problem customer, or, you know, I I’ve heard this before. Some restoration contractors know that a certain carrier is problematic. Like this specific company, um, takes longer than others to pay out. And so try to get a habit of, of making a record of that. So again, you can treat those a little bit differently as you go forward and get really busy.

Speaker 1 (11:54):
Step four here, we’re gonna use a secret weapon and it’s called a notice of intent to lean an NOI, enforcing your lean, or actually filing that lie should be a last resort. You know, liens are the nuclear option. Nobody level set included wants to file a lien. And so there is another way to make sure that these rights are working for you, you’re upfront about your intentions and that you work to avoid that. So notice of intent is that secret weapon that says, Hey, final warning here. I don’t wanna file this lien. You don’t wanna lean filed, let’s resolve this.

Speaker 1 (12:33):
Okay. And then the final step five is filed a lien, right? Ideally it’ll never come to this, but when push comes to shove, you need to be able to be ready to utilize this. You don’t want to be in that, that situation of waiting sixty, ninety, a hundred twenty days for payment, and then realize, oh, shoot, I actually missed my deadline to file a lien. And, and that’s the part where you realize getting that payment, getting that, that, you know, material or, or payroll paid for that you’ve already put outta your pocket, um, may not actually happen. And so we wanna make sure that you’re always staying on top of this and utilizing this if you absolutely need to.

Speaker 1 (13:15):
Okay. And, and just a quick caveat for those who don’t know, a lien is a massive liability for a homeowner. Um, generally speaking, it can impact their ability to, to refinance, to sell their home. Um, in rare cases, it could even lead to the home being foreclosed on in order to satisfy the debt. And so when a lien is filed or when a lean is approaching that case, you know, it, it should be fairly clear to the homeowner, the adjuster, everyone involved that, you know, it’s a lot better of an option to pay for the debt than have a lean filed.

Speaker 1 (13:54):
Okay. I, I mentioned this earlier. Um, these are all great steps to make sure that again, you’re putting forward, um, a professional process, a process that’s gonna work to communicate to, to actually set better expectations, but where does level set fit into all this? And, and what we do is every part that we’ve mentioned so far, you know, unsurprisingly, we do really, really well and we make it easy for you. So we’re gonna make sure that when you’re using us this process, it is, is ready from the jump. You know, you’re gonna be able to keep track of all your paperwork in one place, that’s with our lean rights management solution. So this is, you know, when you get on a job, we’ll make sure that we get out that preliminary notice, whether it’s required in some states or recommended, we’re gonna make sure that we send it out on time and to the right parties.

Speaker 1 (14:47):
You’re also gonna make sure that you’re always being tracked for your next step. So if you have a, a deadline to file a document coming up, our system is gonna make sure that we’re notifying you so that you get it out on time, uh, and easily just through a couple clicks. And of course, if you do need to file me again, same thing, you do it right through our system. You don’t have to go down to the courthouse or the, the recorder’s office to do it, stay at home on your phone, click a couple buttons, we’ll get it done for you.

Speaker 1 (15:19):
Of course, there is the possibility that you need a lawyer. Um, again, it could be that the lean, uh, is, is being avoided, or it could be that, you know, you have a really unique situation that needs more expert opinion. We do have attorneys that we pair you with in, in select states. And, and that is, you know, of course I think a lot of people think when it gets bad enough, I need an attorney. But you know, I’d also argue that having an attorney and what this this program does is they can do a legal health check of the business. Again, proactively before you enter a really busy period of, of your business, like storm season, have an attorney review everything, make sure you got a good contract, make sure you guys are protected and putting forward the best foot. And then you still, at least can have these people, if it gets bad enough that, you know, Hey, the homeowner is getting an attorney or, you know, the, the, the carrier is, is getting an attorney. At least you have that relationship already. Okay.

Speaker 1 (16:25):
So I wanna do a quick pause and make sure that if there are any questions so far, throw them in the chat. Um, I know that I’ve been talking for a lot, and so I wanna make sure that if there are any questions about what I’ve said so far, um, that you all can jump in, all right, what are level set customers saying? We have this fantastic customer, uh, Brian from dry patrol, uh, of central Ohio, and they’re a water damage and restoration company when they partnered with a level set a few years ago, their average time to payment was about 90 days. So they did the work. They waited 90 days to get paid. Um, when they started to implement this same system that I just went through setting expectations at the front end of a job, like really making sure that you walk your customer through what to expect in terms of a claim being paid out and your role in that, um, sending out notices, protecting their lean rights. They cut their payment down to about 17 days on average. I mean, that’s unheard of in this industry. And so for those types of results, you have to be committed to the process and, and, you know, level set is that tool that allows you to do this really easily. Um, curious though, what, what’s the longest that maybe some of you have gone without getting on a project?

Speaker 1 (18:05):
Oh, wow. Okay. We’ve got someone who writes in that six months and, uh, I’d mentioned Ida earlier and you’ve been waiting on a, a payment since Ida, so, wow. Yeah. I mean, this, this is a tough industry and, and it’s one that is a bit more challenging than just regular. Hey, maybe I’m like a residential remodeler and it’s a very straightforward, I’m working with the homeowner and, you know, they’re the one distributing the payment, but when you have, you know, an insurance company involved, it’s a lot more red tape to cut through. And so it, it makes your job more challenging, not knowing who to follow up with, not knowing if it’s been paid out and it’s the homeowner who’s holding onto the check. And so it’s really important that you involve all the parties that at the beginning of the job, you’re talking to the homeowner, you’re sending out documentation to the homeowner and adjuster saying, Hey, I’m not waiting six months for payment.

Speaker 1 (19:02):
I’m doing the job. I’m gonna get it done well. And I expect to be paid in a reasonable amount of time, whether that’s 30 days or, you know, whether that’s less, depending on what your contract states, but you have to make sure that you’re advocating for yourself. And, and the best way to do that is when you have leverage to do that, when you have the ability to say, if you don’t, you know, comply with, with the agreement that we had, you know, these are the steps I could take, right? That that’s the goal here is to make sure that, that you have leverage to fight back on some of these

Speaker 1 (19:42):
Okay. Time for some questions. So we do have one that just rolled in. We have three contracts with the GC that are paid, one paid by owner. How do we push to get paid sooner? Great question. Um, and something that I think always presents some issues, a paid one paid situation, you know, when has the homeowner actually remitted payment? What I would say to that is make sure that you’re protecting yourself via lean rights. And then whenever that payment is dispersed, you at least will have the leverage to, to get it more quickly. Cause sometimes paid when paid. And you know, I’ve seen this in my experience. You don’t know when it’s been paid. So if I’m the GC, I might be like myself, haven’t been paid yet. And I’m holding onto that check because my cash flows out of order and I can’t pay you yet.

Speaker 1 (20:35):
So I’m just gonna keep telling you that I haven’t been paid. You know, it’s an extreme example, but if you are doing your due diligence to have leverage and protect your lie rights, when that payment gets remitted, it should immediately come down to you. On the flip side, if you are approaching a deadline, like let’s say it’s been paid when paid and you’re still waiting. It’s three months. And, and the state says, Hey, if you’re not paid, this is typically when to file a lane, you know, take that next step, communicate with the property owner or whoever is actually dispersing that payment and make sure they know that you’re gonna file this document, this, this high risk legal document for them. Uh, unless payment starts coming down the chain, it’s a way to kind of grease the wheels and make sure that everyone knows, you know, you can’t wait forever. What else do we have? These are some good questions though. Okay.

Speaker 1 (21:53):
Okay. We also had another question about what happens if our lean deadline has passed and you know, that that’s a tough one, right? Keep in mind, the state has pretty specific deadlines for a reason, and you wanna make sure that as best you can you stay within those, if it goes outside of that, generally speaking, that’s where we we’d, we’d say it’s time to get an attorney involved. Um, if your lean deadline has passed, um, it, it may be time to approach it from a different angle, which could include, you know, small claims court or litigation that said, um, we always wanna make sure that we’re keeping you guys in line putting those guardrails up so that this doesn’t happen in the future. So, um, would love to chat a bit more with that individual who, who wrote that. Um, and, and we can see, you know, what went wrong in that project and how to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. And, and of course, if, if you do obviously want to continue to pursue that we can help you get paired with the, the right attorney.

Speaker 1 (22:58):
Okay. Well, I know that I’ve, uh, thrown out a lot of information here, um, and, and we’ve gone through a few questions. So if anything else, please keep them going. I’m gonna hang out here for a bit longer. Um, but if anyone has to jump, uh, that concludes kind of our presentation today. So I appreciate you all for joining and attending. Um, as mentioned, you’re gonna receive a recording of this in an email tomorrow or the following day. Um, and then if you wanna reach out directly to me that QR code bottom left here, um, you’ll put out in your name and, and contact info, and I’ll give you a call. We can certainly go through this a little bit more, talk about your business on, on a one-to-one level and, and see, it looks like to get a process in place, you know, overall message here. Time to get a process in place is before storm season. You know, that that’s when you’re gonna get super busy, you know, that the, when a hurricane hits, you guys are gonna be mobilizing, uh, and, and rushing out to the scene and making sure that people can get back to their lives. And so you don’t wanna have to be worrying about one payment will come when, when you’re doing that. So get the process in place now, so that you’re ready to go, no matter what happens.