Why It Pays to Use Software to Send Notices on Every Job

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Experts in this webinar

John Weirich
John Weirich
You don’t have to be in this business long to know what it’s like to experience chronic slow payment problems or to get burned on big jobs. Even getting burned on smaller jobs is painful because that money adds up over time.
Construction Payment Experts John Weirich and Piper Browne have spent years helping businesses like yours take control over their payments and cash flow, and stop living in fear of getting burned on jobs.
Join us on Tuesday, July 27 at 1pm CST to see first-hand how automating your notices with lien rights software will:
  • Save you time on receivables and paperwork
  • Get you paid faster across the board
  • Help you put an end to chronic payment problems once and for all

Transcript

John Weirich (01:11):
welcome. Y’all I’m excited to spend the next 28 29 minutes with everybody here today. We’re going to be talking about why it pays to use software to send the notices specifically lien notices, um, on every job. So a little bit of an introduction on who you got here from the Levelset team. Um, my name is John Weirich. I’ve been with Levelset about five years and in my current role, I work with, uh, our outside clients and our sales team to help drive new partnerships. Um, but I’m not going to be the only voice you’re hearing from today. We’ve also got Piper here. So Piper I’ll let you introduce yourself. Hello,

Piper Browne (02:38):
Greetings everyone. Welcome. My name is Piper. I have been at level-set for about two and a half years, and I’m one of our training and onboarding managers over here. So when folks decide to partner with level-set, I am one of the first people you’re going to interact with. I help get the account all set up, making sure that your business preferences are reflected in your level set account. And then I show you and your whole team, how it all works.

John Weirich (03:07):
Sweet. Thank you, Piper. Um, some of the names in our webinar list here look familiar. Um, if you’re brand new though, to level-set and kind of what we do just a little background, we are a construction software company based out of new Orleans and Austin, Texas founded by a construction attorney here. Um, and as we like to say, payment help is the name of our game. So whether it’s managing lien rights, helping companies exchange payment, um, track deadlines, we have a couple different tools that we sell to everybody from small family businesses to fortune 100 suppliers. So, um, if you’re in construction and you’re getting paid in some way, shape or form, we can probably help. Um, today though, we’re going to have a little bit more specific of a focus, and I hope that every year leaves with some new Intel, um, or some helpful tips, we’re going to specifically go over what are preliminary notices.

John Weirich (04:01):
Um, we’ll go over. Why companies are typically sending things like preliminary notices or lien notices on their jobs, and then ways that software can help put that process into place. Um, again, a highly encourage questions. So if you want me to pause and dig into something, if you have a specific example, you’d like to talk about, use the Q and a raise a hand more than happy to, uh, to dig into the details. Awesome. So what’s a pre-launch um, from a very, very high level guys, a preliminary notice is a bucket term for a document that goes out at the beginning of construction projects to make sure that the people writing checks on the job understand who needs to be paid right in different states. There are going to be different requirements. Um, Florida, for example, has a document called a notice to owner. It’s a very descriptive document that has to be sent out by subcontractors, suppliers and equipment rental companies to let the owner know I’m on the job.

John Weirich (04:59):
This is generally what I’m doing on the work on the project. And this is who brought me on to the job. Um, in most cases, that document is also going to give a company the ability to file a lien in case payment becomes a problem at the end of the project or during the project. Um, 35 states, if anybody’s wondering, have some version of a preliminary notice, that’s going to be required. If a company wants to file a lien, but what’s really important to take away. I think from, from this is that sending preliminary notices a good idea is a good idea, even when it’s not required, what we found actually working with owners, subs, GCs, everybody in the middle is that notice recipients typically like receiving these documents because it helps them understand who they’re liable to get paid. Right? There’s a lot of reasons that cashflow or projects can get bogged down by sending a document like this. We eliminate one of the easiest ones, which is, I just didn’t know they were there, or I didn’t know who to reach out to.

John Weirich (06:02):
And that gets us to sending it, I think, on every job. So the benefits as it for a company are going to be setting the right expectations with your client, let’s say a general contractor or a property owner in this case. Um, but when we send notices on a job, it also helps the company put, uh, we call it their best foot forward. Um, I know Piper, you help a lot of restoration companies with this element, have an AI, you know, like a backup team, like level-set where not only are we putting a consistent process in place to send notices and get ourselves paid fairly, but we’re doing it with a partner that takes a little bit of a burden off of what can be a manual process. Piper, I’m gonna flip it over to you here, um, to talk a little bit more about where that software element comes in. Um, let me know if you’re good to go. Yeah,

Piper Browne (06:54):
Good to go. Yeah. So, um, you know, it’s, it’s no secret that, um, lean laws complex. Um, and if it’s a new process, it’s, it can be a little intimidating and a little, a little scary. Um, and especially, uh, with a new software, two new softwares can be kind of intimidating. Um, but that’s exactly, you know, our motto at level-set is make complex things simple. We realize that this is an intimidating process. If it’s brand new, even if it’s not brand new and we are here to make it super smooth and easy, that is something that me and my team that’s our whole job is making this process. Um, not only smooth, easy, but also enjoyable. Um, and there are a couple, well there’s, there’s lots of ways that we do that. Um, but it starts with how we get the job information into level set.

Piper Browne (07:44):
That’s going to be the most important starting point. And we understand that you are likely already entering this type of information into another software. We don’t want to add work onto your plate. So we have integrations available. We’re actually able to, um, sync softwares directly to level-set so that we can pull that job information over for you. If that doesn’t align with your current software, we have other options we can import spreadsheets. We can, um, set up a customized, you know, integration. There’s all sorts of options to ensure that, you know, we’re not adding on any data entry. And so it’s all just in level set. Um, so that’s one of the beautiful parts about getting the account set up and then once all the job information and the, um, AR information, your outstanding AR is flowing into level-set consistently and automatically the rest all kind of falls into, into place.

Piper Browne (08:40):
So level set your levels. That account is going to take that the key job information. And we are going to tell you exactly what is required of you when it is required of you. And then depending on your preferences, we can even some of these notices like the preliminary notices completely, automatically, it’s completely up to what you are comfortable with. There’s a lot of levels of customization, but at the very least, we’re going to make sure that, you know, when these things are required so that you can then make informed decisions. And on top of that, once the jobs are in levels, that we’re also going to be able to alert you about payment risks. So we can let you know if other contractors are filing liens, or if some, if a company is filing for bankruptcy and then you are able to take that information and make a decision. Maybe you are going to file a lien a little earlier than you had intended, because you want to make sure that you’re protected. Um, so just all sorts of ways that we are going to start, you know, keeping you, you know, on top of everything in your level-set account, making sure that your process is really consistent and that everything is protected.

John Weirich (09:53):
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Piper. Um, I think you make a really good point about, you know, it’s important to have a process for every job, but we understand that certain customer relationships and kind of how we work with clients is important. So there is that level of customizing it and still having your hands on the way that you work with your clients. We just use a software tool to eliminate a lot of that manual overlap. Um, one thing we talk to a lot of contractors, a lot of suppliers about every day, though, even if they are interested in sending some of these lien notices is that they don’t exactly know where to send the lead notices. Right? If I rent equipment out to a large commercial project, I may know who my client is. I may know the job site address, but information like the general contractor, the property owner, the lender is all going to be kind of out of sight.

John Weirich (10:42):
And maybe even out of mind now where level-set can come in and be handy or other software companies is that we’re going to get you plugged in directly to what we call back payment chain, right? There’s a lot of reasons money slows down sometimes, and owner’s late on payments. Sometimes a GC gets on in over his head. Sometimes there’s work, you know, work controversy, but understanding all the stops along the way, when a draw is a release is going to be really important. And from a preliminary notice perspective, these types of parties like an owner, a lender, or a GC are also just going to be required people to send the document to. So knowing that ahead of time gives us a lot of good insight and it helps us meet our requirements. Um, we specifically have a scout team here at level-set and Jordan here is, uh, is probably probably my favorite story.

John Weirich (11:32):
So he is a big photographer, um, in his personal life and was actually researching a customer’s project address so that we could send, I think it was a Ford a notice the owner back to our example a moment ago. Um, and the way that he found that the, um, the owner or the lender’s information, one of the two was from a press release from the ribbon cutting ceremony when he had been flipping through, um, just doing some research there. So a lot of ways to get your hands on that information, having somebody to go track it down though, um, is usually the bigger ask when we may be a sub who only knows our GC or we’re an equipment rental company. That’s got very little insight onto the job

Speaker 2 (12:10):
Piper

John Weirich (12:13):
When it rounded out talking about our best foot forward a little bit. Yeah.

Piper Browne (12:18):
Yeah, definitely. So look at how nice they look. These preliminary notices. Um, our partners really ended up loving the way that the, the, the prelims look, um, I think a big, um, point of anxiety I hear from the customers that I work with at the beginning when this is a new process, um, in terms of sending preliminary notices is that they are worried that when they start sending them to their customers, they are going to, their customers are going to freak out a little bit. They’re going to see some kind of scary looking legal document. They’re going to think it’s a lien and then they’re never going to want to work with them again. Um, we heard that and we made this preliminary notice that you’re looking at right now. So we have this cover letter on all of our preliminary notices that is there to make sure it is clear that this is a friendly document.

Piper Browne (13:04):
It is professional. It’s got your information on there. You’re able to customize it a little bit. So you can put your logo, you can put a custom message that alerts the customer, that this is just your new process for any, and all customers. You can put whatever you’d like on there. And it really, you know, has helped with the implementation of, of new notice, um, processes that I’ve seen. Um, I think that the partners that I work with are sometimes surprised at how nice and professional they look and, um, the lack of negative responses they get from their customers. You know, it’s, it’s really smooth. Um, I was chatting with, um, a new partner last week. I’m a credit manager over at a new roofing company. And she decided to send a couple of tests, preliminary notices to the office, um, to see what the rest of the team thought. And everyone loved them. They loved the way it looks, it arrives in a level-set blue on envelope, which, you know, entice them to open it. And, um, they ended up just really loving it. And she was very excited that not only was she excited about this new process as the person who’s helping implement it, but the rest of her team is, is now on board.

John Weirich (14:18):
I think, uh, the, the, the notices being formed this way is especially helpful to show sales teams. So you mentioned anxieties about, you know, companies putting a process in place. A lot of times when we have internal, you know, upwards because, you know, and Hey, I get it, I’m in sales, right. We don’t want anybody to affect the customer relationship, but, um, letting them see that, Hey, this is just exactly simple info. That’s good for the business. It gets everybody paid quicker. Um, alleviates a lot of those. So I think I’m going to turn it over to the screen, share here to you for just a second. So we can actually take a quick look at, uh, the level set software. Um, again, if you got questions, I encourage them in the Q and a, I’m going to be turning the wheel over here at Piper for a minute. I’m happy to monitor that.

Piper Browne (15:03):
Yes, yes. I’m welcome to a level set account. This is what it looks like. And we want to take a second to show you just how easy it can be to start sending these notices out. Um, so we’ve been talking a lot about business preferences and getting those set up in your level set account. So I’m going to head right on over into this queue, this document queue section. And so this is something that we set up for each individual level set account, depending on the, you know, the partner’s business preferences. And what I mean by that is what notices do you want us to send? When do you want us to send them, um, do you want us to send them automatically, or do you want to approve them first? Um, and we’re able to build out this queue here to reflect that, um, so that you are in as much control as you’d like.

Piper Browne (15:53):
Um, so in this specific scenario, you know, this customer has decided that they, as you can see, we’ve got some preliminary notices here. They want to approve them first. They want to take a look, um, and have the final say on if they want these orders to go through. Um, and so we queue them up for, for approval. We, we make sure that they are, you know, in here well before the deadline. Um, and then we give our partners, you know, a certain amount of time to approve them from the queue, again, totally dependent on their workflow and how much time they need when they’re ready to go ahead and say, yes, on one of these notices, all they have to do is come in here, click this little down arrow and click the approve button. Before we walk through that process. You’ll notice two other options here as well.

Piper Browne (16:39):
If they need more time to think about this document, you can snooze it. So level-set will remind you, um, in however many days you need, and we won’t let you snooze it past the deadline. We want to make sure that you’re sending these before. Um, and then you can also cancel it. So, um, if you know, you’re not going to be sending this and you want to clear it out of the queue, you can cancel it out of here, but if I click approve, um, it pulls me into the steps one through four of actually approving this notice to be processed and then sent the wonderful part. One of the wonderful parts about level set is that every notice whether it’s a preliminary notice, whether it’s a lien waiver, invoice reminder, or the actual mechanics lien, they are going to follow this same one through four steps here.

Piper Browne (17:22):
So once you do one of these, it’s, you know, easy peasy, you’re gonna see a preview of the document on the right hand side. And then you’re going to see the notice details on the left. So we auto fill in whatever information we have, if there’s anything else required that is missing from this notice, we’ll ask for it here. Otherwise I can just click next. And at this step, we tell you about the required contacts who is to receive a copy of this notice, um, per whatever state, where we are in, um, their statutes. So we, we show you what those little, uh, yellow required texts, and you have a couple options. If you have this information, you can type it in. You’ll see that we also are going to start suggesting, um, contacts based on the data that we have. Um, if you’re not sure about the suggestions and you don’t know, you can just click.

Speaker 2 (18:15):
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Piper Browne (18:20):
And when we actually go ahead and order this document, um, again, that’s, you know, gonna be a signal to our research team, Hey, this is a gap, very important, required information that we need to help fill in for you. Then we’re going to go next at this step. I call this part one of the final step. It’s basically just a review page. We tell you who it’s going to and how it’s getting there. So all of these notices, they have all sorts of, um, you know, very specific requirements, including what type of mailing we use. So levels that takes care of all that for you. So you can see how it’s going to be sent. You’re going to see certified mail. In many cases you can add in email addresses at this point as well. We’re able to send these notices electronically. Um, if you would like you can add email notes and then you can also send copies to folks.

Piper Browne (19:10):
So most of my partners will use this for internal purposes. So maybe they need to send a copy to someone else on their team, their manager, so that they know it’s done, whatever it is. They can throw in some email addresses here and CC folks. And then on the final step, um, there’s usually two questions to consider here. And that is first, how fast do you need this? So standard processing at level-set is two to five days. So from the time we click create document to it, actually getting in the mail is going to be two to five days. That’s when that research is happening. When our team is verifying everything and filling in gaps, um, with your queue that we were just looking at, we have all of these timelines built in. So that standard processing should be good to go. But of course, if you’re up against a deadline or need something to go up faster, you will always have the ability to rush order one of these, which bumps processing closer to one to two days, and then choose your job research.

Piper Browne (20:06):
We have three tiers at level standard pro and ultimate. So depending on what your plan has included, you know, you’re going to see a breakdown here of what is automatically included, and then you always have the option to upgrade to our highest tier scout ultimate if that’s not already included, um, on this kind of case, by case basis. So if it is a really big job or maybe a risky customer, whatever it might be, and you just want to have that added extra peace of mind that our ultimate team has deep dove into every single detail. You can add that on case-by-case and then you’ll just go ahead and click the send document button. And that will, um, oh, it’s going to want me to pay here

John Weirich (20:50):
To give you a heads up. I didn’t put any postage in the test account. Sorry.

Piper Browne (20:54):
Yeah, that’s okay. We’re working on a test account. So when, when you’re in here and you’ll all set a camp, this will all be taken care of, of course, when the account is set up. So you’ll just click send document that creates the order and it sends it to our research team. Remember these don’t go out instantly. Our research team gets them first to verify everything fill in gaps. Um, then they create the final notice and get it in the mail. Once you approve a notice from your queue, it disappears from here, that one is taken care of. And then the only thing left for you to do potentially is resolve any alerts from our research team. So as they are reviewing, if they find any new or conflicting information that you have told us, you want to see first. And that’s part of the, the account setup that I do with all of our partners.

Piper Browne (21:42):
You know, what do you want to know about what would you rather us just update automatically? Um, if it’s one of those things you want to know about, we send you an alert over in the scout research tab here. Um, you got an alert in here. You’re also going to get an email, make sure that you’ve seen it. Um, and you can take a look at the information that we have, um, found. You’ll see, you know, in this scenario we have nine different alerts and you can just go through, hold on, let me move our faces here. They’re in my way. Um, you select the alert and then it pops up over on the right hand side. And you’re able to see what our research team, um, is, is looking for your eyes on. So in this case, they build in the property owner. We didn’t have it, and they filled it in for me.

Piper Browne (22:25):
So all I do is click submit, um, so that they go ahead and use that property owner looks like I didn’t have the surety bonding company in this notice. They find that on that for me. And so I’m going to submit that before I do submit that I did want to point out that, um, you also will always be able to see who is working on your document from our scout research team. And if you have questions, concerns, more information, you’re able to send them messages, send a message directly to that research team member to help them. They might send you questions. So you have that open dialogue, um, while this notice is, is being created. Um, and once all of the alerts are resolved, that means that as you can see, research has finished. So the team can actually create this final form and get it in the mail super easy. Um, essentially you just have to follow the green buttons out of your, out of your queue. And again, it’s going to be set up to whatever you need and what you feel comfortable with. We can make it as many clicks or as few clicks as you’d like, depending again, on your preference. You know, how much time you have, how much control you want to have there.

John Weirich (23:41):
We, um, we see a lot of companies to take the crawl, walk, run approach, right? Software for a process like this, or maybe even a lien rights process for notices is brand new. So at first we’re going to do it a little more manually and a little bit more hands on. And then as we get comfortable, as you said, there’s the option to kind of set some things and forget them so that we can focus on other tasks.

Piper Browne (24:03):
Yes. Yeah, certainly, certainly. I have a lot of folks who, um, start approving out of the queue and then they pretty quickly shoot me an email or give me a call and say, all right, flip it on auto. You can just, you guys can take care of this from now on. So awesome. Well, I’m going to transition back to our slides here.

John Weirich (24:24):
I had, I was gonna say, um, we can go with the raise of hand if anybody wants to be un-muted and ask a question. I had a couple come in via chat otherwise, so I’ll give, uh, I’ll get started on those. And again, throw a hand up if you’d like to, uh, to talk more. So somebody asks a little bit more about working with like restoration companies or businesses that are for, uh, contractors that are hired directly by owners. Um, the short version of that is that level-set absolutely helps. Um, in those instances, some restoration companies are sending preliminary notices on every job like we’ve been discussing, but even for people who serve as like a prime or a general contractor, um, level-set also helps with a lot of the waiver, uh, exchange and waiver management. So always happy to help with lien notices and protecting the business. There is a little bit that we didn’t have a chance to go through today though, which is tracking the payments that are being made on the waivers. So good question there. I saw one more. Thank you, Jim. Glad we could get you in here for, for twenty-five minutes. Um, give us a shout if you have anything more specific and there was a question, a little bit about the deadlines, um, Piper, do you want to take just how the deadlines get calculate? Or do you want me to give a rundown? How the,

Piper Browne (25:46):
Is that the question? Sorry, I’m bouncing back and forth between

John Weirich (25:49):
The, it says, it says, um, you mentioned 35 states require prelims. What are the factors that tell me if I need a prelim? So basically just what job characteristics affect the lead deadlines? Yeah.

Piper Browne (26:03):
Good question. So there are four key pieces of information we need to track these deadlines. We need to know what state the job is in the job site address. We need to know the type of job it is. So is it a commercial property? Is it a residential property? We need to know your role on the job. Are you a supplier or a subcontractor? And we need to know your customer’s role, who hired you? Are they the GC on the job sub or are they the property owner? Um, those four kind of basic pieces of information are what your account takes. And then, um, using those pieces of information, they tell you exactly what is required and when it is required. Um, and then another important factor is actually then tracking this, this requirement. And so, um, what we use to track, generally speaking, what we use to track the preliminary notice is going to be your first day on the job, your first furnishing date. So that’s either going to be your first day of labor or first day of material delivery. I kind of think of it as, you know, whatever day you started having your fingerprints on this job. You know, the, the earliest day is how we then track when this is when this is required. Um, and then for, you know, the lien itself, it’s going to be typically your last day on the job.

John Weirich (27:24):
Thank you. One thing to note too, is when, when, uh, when we talk about level-set in meeting those job backers, that’s what we need to get started, but we can even correct and find some of that Intel. We know that for like a supplier and equipment rental company, they’re oftentimes blind on whether, uh, a job site is residential or commercial. We can actually piece some of that Intel uhm, together for you guys. Or for example, I think we’re selling to the GC, but it turns out that that person’s actually a subcontractor on this project create. So all good ones. Um, well I think with that answer, um, if you want to flip over and show everybody here, how they can get in touch, um, for a little more info again, thank you guys all for being here. If it was your first time with us, I hope we see you again soon.

John Weirich (28:11):
Um, if it was your second or third time, we still hope we see it again soon. Um, and if you are looking for a recording or you had to be coworkers who maybe couldn’t make it to today’s call, we did record. So we’ll be getting that out to you guys. Um, later today, later this week, if you though have an urgent question or would like some more information about what we covered here today, I recommend checking out level set.com and specifically the contact us area. We can get you scheduled on a call with a payment expert. Talk a little bit more about how we work with businesses, just like yours and see what, if anything we can do to help you guys get paid fairly with that. Thank you guys. And we will hopefully see you next time. Thanks. Y’all have a great day.