Reducing costs and increasing productivity with lien rights management software
If you manage accounts receivable, contracts, and lien rights, you have a lot of important paperwork to track and can make or break whether or not your company gets paid. As your company takes on more jobs, how can you stay on top of these essential tasks in the most cost-effective and efficient way? Lien rights management software can help!
Register for this free webinar to learn:
- How you can create a streamlined process to manage lien rights paperwork
- How software can help AR and admin teams work more productively
- What it looks like to use software for sending notices, managing lien waivers, and tracking payments
Brandon Davenport: (01:18)
Cool. It is one-on-one. Let’s get rocking and rolling. Thank you for being here. You are here for a reason. This is Levelset reducing costs and increasing productivity with lean rights management software. So if you are a, an accounts receivable manager, a credit professional, and in-house attorney, small business owner, anything in between, I want to affirm you that you are in the right place today, and we’re super excited that you took some time out of your busy day and spend it with us. So a little bit about me and who I am. Uh, my name is Brandon Davenport. Uh, I’m a construction payment expert over here at Levelset. I’ve been here for about two years now, and I also manage a team of other construction payment experts. Uh, I’m going to talk a little bit more about myself here a little bit, but outside of Levelset and like, who am I, what do I like to do?
Brandon Davenport: (02:14)
Um, I like chili peppers and I like cooking. I’m going to use a metaphor here in a little bit to talk about that and help delineate an example for us. Um, and I like playing board games as well. A little bit about Levelset who we are. Our mission as an organization is to empower construction companies, to get what they earn. And so there are a lot of different facets that go into such a broad mission, such as that such as being able to make sure you’re sitting the appropriate paperwork, thousands of contractors and suppliers you use level said to protect what they earn and speed the time to get paid, decreasing DSO, and the process levels that users also beyond just documentation deadlines, research that goes into it. They also are using us for a variety of other different facets and tools and features such as getting alerted when payment problems arise in their projects before, during, and even after a project ends.
Brandon Davenport: (03:14)
And so what we’re going to be talking about today, we’re going to go from a to Z. Uh, we’re going to start with lien rights management basics, because again, I know there are some small business owners on our webinar today, and we are going to go into a little bit more in depth. So the credit professionals that decided to join us, thank you. We’re going to make sure that no matter who you are, when you leave today, you are going to have some information and resources available that are going to allow you to be able to go back to your company, to your friends, to your peers, and be able to have an impact on your business. So quick shout out. Uh, I do want to, cause I see the participants here, uh, some old friends of mine decided to join. Thank you. I saw that you had registered a man, Larry Simmons at creative Oak. Thank you for being here today. We also got Dorn Chavez and not Nan Robinson from true glass and glazing. Thank you for being here. And, uh, the cool thing about my job is that both of those people that I’ve just mentioned just now are companies that are in different sides of the country.
Speaker 3: (04:18)
How cool is that? So
Brandon Davenport: (04:21)
Today again, like I said, the basics, and then we’re going to get into a little,
Speaker 3: (04:24)
A bit more detail here a little bit.
Brandon Davenport: (04:27)
I do want to call out. There is an ambulance that’s going by the office right now. So you hear that. Just bear with me. It should be going by,
Speaker 3: (04:37)
Might be a firetruck. Cool. Thank you.
Brandon Davenport: (04:49)
I mean, rights management basics. What does that look like? How do we make sure that no matter what you are comfortable and confident in the different state requirements that you have as an organization, again, when we were going to talk about some challenges before and after scenarios of using software to manage this process, and then I’m going to actually get into a product demo of Levelset after that. And then we’re going to have some questions and answers towards the end. However, do not feel like you have to wait if you do have a question that comes up, I want to make this as interactive as possible. Of course. So with that, let’s go into the basics, the ABCs, the set of protecting the rights. And we break that down into a three-step process. I’m gonna use a metaphor here, right? Like I said, like chili peppers, I like cooking with them.
Brandon Davenport: (05:40)
Let’s use that framework. And that analogy to help set us up to talk about set set is an acronym it’s S E and it’s T and the acronym is a play off of the company name. Levelset the acronym is S setting expectations on a job. It’s easy paperwork. And it’s T talking it out before you get to elite Lena’s is such an inflammatory word that a lot of people try to shy away from because let’s face it. It’s a four letter word that no one likes no matter who you are in the payment chain, having a lien placed on a property or project is not a good thing. So how do we break that down? Well, again, you use a chili pepper analogy here. So everyone in the audience, something that I’d like as I go through the different steps. And I talk about how there is an escalating process before getting to a lien, I’m going to talk about escalating chili pepper.
Brandon Davenport: (06:35)
It’s using the scope of unit scale for those familiar. So if you would maybe just chat in like your favorite chili pepper along the way, just so we can see, uh, what everyone’s capsized and tolerances. So for step one, setting expectations, it’s oftentimes about that preliminary notice, the perimeter, every notice is required and just about every single state. So if you’re in California or Arizona, for example, you’re having this in that preliminary notice within the first 20 days of every single job and that’s setting expectations. That’s the jalapeno of our chili pepper analogy. It’s pretty basic. Tons of people use it worldwide and a lot of different variety and cuisines now, easy paperwork. This is really in-between. If you can see my mouse, step one and step two, it’s a part of the overall process. Those are things like lean waivers or leaner leases, depending upon what part of the country you’re in.
Brandon Davenport: (07:28)
You probably call it one of the other, the lien waivers and lien releases. You are a necessary evil. So to say, when it comes to paperwork, this is, think about like your, a habanero little less used kind of chili pepper. Again, going back to our analogy there, but nonetheless, something that helps continue the conversation with people at the top of the payment chain. And then we get to T talking it out. This just really step two. When you have to, again, organize you communication with people at the top to let them know, Hey, I still haven’t been paid. I followed every step along the way to protect my lien rights. Let’s avoid a situation where I actually file a lien. So again, this is a part of our habanero analogy there, which leads us into actually filing a lien. When you actually have to file a lien, no one wins.
Brandon Davenport: (08:24)
I was familiar with the nuances of chili peppers. This is when we get into like ghost peppers, scorpions, those kinds of peppers that really like no one likes at the end of the day. I mean, they don’t taste that great. And they’re so hot that they’re banned actually, and a lot of different dishes that you can get at restaurants. So when now that we have a framework in mind for how to actually execute on your lien rights, let’s go into a little bit more detail and talking about some of the right documents is one thing, but it looks like I’m getting, Oh yeah, I’ve got a message there from Cameron representing Texas, your jalapeno all the way. I love it. Cam, thanks for sharing. Um, when we get into talking about some of the challenges with these documents, it can get incredibly granular. And so someone that comes to mind really easily for me is actually a friend of mine and a customer, uh, Don Babby, uh, she works for an equipment supplier in Texas.
Brandon Davenport: (09:28)
She’s the CFO of a company there. And some of the challenges that she faced were about being able to make sure that she was sending the correct notice at the correct time and finding the correct parties as well, that were involved. So in Texas, you have to send multiple notices on every single job. It could have been more challenging and it’s always on the 15th, my home state of Tennessee, same thing, same thing with Louisiana, multiple notices on every single job. And then for her, for Don, it was also about tracking down the correct document to then send it afterwards. She was doing all this manually with someone in her, on her team, woman named Nancy that was tracking these via spreadsheets and then actually physically mailing every single document to go out to the correct parties, which in Texas was the general contractor and the property owner.
Brandon Davenport: (10:21)
But also on top of that, when you think about someone that’s a supplier and take a commercial project, for example, where there are multiple layers of people between her and the actual money, naturally getting party information at the top can be pretty difficult. You know, having to make a call to your customer, to ask for property owner information or general contractor information can sometimes be an inflammatory conversation and something not easy to be able to make. So having the peace of mind as well, to be able to know that you have the information that I need in order to protect my lien rights, let’s just go ahead and move on and focus on the relationship instead.
Brandon Davenport: (11:03)
So with that in mind, I’m going to use a before and after scenario to help set us up, to be able to go into the actual product itself. It looks like you’ve got another chat going when we, Oh, it looks like I got a question here. Okay, cool. So I’ve got a question and it says, can you talk more about the job research? Uh, we don’t like to cause issues with our customers. And I’m curious about how your gets the job site and the property information for sure. Let me talk about that a little bit more. And what I’ll do is I’ll use an example here to help delineate this. So our scout research team over here at Levelset at least is largely in part a team of humans that are going through combing through the large databases that we have and use in order to verify this information.
Brandon Davenport: (11:55)
So people just like you, 30 plus researchers and data professionals that are going in filling in gaps in what you do and what you don’t have on a project and going above and beyond to make sure that they are going to find the correct information. So our team will actually go in and use Google maps, even in some instances as well. Our team will take the time to make sure that no matter what your state requirements are, which is oftentimes property ownership, legal property description, lender, surety, general contractor, you’re going to have what you need in order to stay current.
Speaker 4: (12:33)
Brandon Davenport: (12:33)
Again, going a little bit further on your question there, when we talk about our data resources, what we have available, what we pull from a lot of different resources. We use County records from all across the country that we’re pulling in on a daily, weekly or monthly level dependent upon the County. And then we do have a couple of other partners to help fill in like title information, especially for residential properties, where that can be
Speaker 4: (12:58)
Brandon Davenport: (13:01)
That’s a great question, by the way. And if you have more questions specific like this, again, feel free to chat them in and more than happy to talk about it. We don’t want to open that kind of question up in this kind of form. No sweat. My contact information is going to be available at the end of the webinar. So we can talk about it a little bit more and more like one-on-one. Uh, my email is Brandon at Levelset dot com, by the way.
Speaker 4: (13:26)
Brandon Davenport: (13:27)
Before using software and after using software, a gentleman that I work with, uh, Louie Trejo, uh, he works for a, an electric subcontractor in California. Lily was in a situation where they were sending 1400 preliminary notices over the course of a year and spinning up about 40 people hours every single month, managing the different processes that go into place. And so when we think about Louie and everything that goes into place in order to protect himself, especially with the business that’s growing now, we’re in a situation where, how do we scale that and how do we elevate our employees internally so that they can take on new tasks for the organization. So CSI, they’re going growing really fast. What does the company look like now after using WebAssign? Well, they have more oversight over all their jobs. They know that now every single job is protected, actually increasing their preliminary notice amount from 1400 to even beyond that they have automated processes in place.
Brandon Davenport: (14:33)
So that again, those employees can go take on new jobs or new tasks within the organization, such as vetting new relationships, having more in-depth accounting work and financial forecasting. And now they’re spending less time having to have those tough conversations. Like I mentioned earlier, where you’re calling up a customer, trying to get information about who works there, the property owner and the lender, especially in a state like California and Louie, as the director of his organization, he works directly between accounts receivable and the sales organization, uh, quasi, uh, collections or [inaudible] credit. And so for him to be able to have the oversight that he needs to be able to go to his boss, which is the CFO of the company, and be able to have competence that, Hey, like we have everything buttoned up. We’re good to go. It takes the stress off his life allows for him to spend more times with his two kids, um, be able to spend more time with this church community as well. So what I’m going to do now is I’m going to transition to our product demonstration while I’m, uh, pulling that up. Um, what other questions do we have? This will take me 30 seconds or so it looks like I got one coming in. Give me one moment. I’m going to go to the new screen and then I’m going to answer it. So bear with me.
Brandon Davenport: (16:07)
Brandon Davenport: (16:09)
Can I get a thumbs up from somebody in the audience that has switched the screen correctly? Levelset dashboard.
Brandon Davenport: (16:14)
Brandon Davenport: (16:19)
Awesome. Okay. Let me pull up the question and then we’ll go through the product itself. What the Arctic freeze that happened in Texas this last month, how would that potentially compromise my lien and more notice deadlines? Another great question. Thanks for asking it. When we think about the Arctic freeze and what it did to specifically Texas, and a lot of middle of Erica, it caused a lot of project cancellations, determinations, and suspensions. So in most cases, when that happens, because you work in a state such as Texas, and there is such a large gap in between the invoice date and the time that you actually have to send your notice and lean deadline, it’s classified slightly more as a reactive state as its counterpart California. So with that in mind, oftentimes that’s not going to help extend a notice, certainly deadline, which puts even more onus on the individual to empower themselves, to take care of what they need to within their organization to protect themselves.
Brandon Davenport: (17:42)
So I say that because it’s not monolithic, there are instances where if you were unlike truly to get to the post office to deliver these, which if I recall correctly, the Arctic freeze happened just after the 15th, I could be wrong there. Um, so some clarification there would be helpful, but if it was just after, no, it wouldn’t necessarily cop or put you in a situation where it would be extended. Great question now, but what had happened by base beforehand? Oftentimes yes, a court would rule in your favor and you would be putting it into a position where that notice that might, could be extended to help you out.
Brandon Davenport: (18:22)
Great question, by the way, I love it. I love the specificity. Cool. So as you can see here, this is levels of product, and I’m going to call out a few things that have been in the jump out to you, the new insights banner at the top of your page, what this is doing is it’s giving you real-time feedback of the projects that you’re working on and potential issues that might come up. So we were talking about payment alerting. We were talking about contractor profiles, payment profiles. What this is doing is giving you updates of people that are in your network, that you work with, that are useful for you to be able to go back and present the team such as an investment group, having their payment grade, being downgraded from a D to an F, or being able to get a better sense of when a lien actually gets filed on your project.
Brandon Davenport: (19:22)
How does that compromise your lien rights? Or what situation would that put you in in order to protect yourself? So, as an example, if you are an electric subcontractors, such as Louie at CSI, and you are working on a project where a concrete subcontractor, who was more of a phase, one has done everything in their power to protect themselves. And now it’s having to file a lien on the property, making the GC, the property owner aware and the lender shirt. What that, what does that do for you as the electric subcontractor? Well, it puts you in a situation where funds are now starting to freeze up. They have a dispute, they have to work out within the payment chain specifically what that concrete subcontractor. So that’s gonna put you into a position where the probability that you will have to exercise your own lien rights has increased dramatically.
Brandon Davenport: (20:19)
So as you can see here, here’s our insights page. And you’re going to get alerts such as this contractors that have sent a preliminary notices, contractors that have gotten paid on projects as well. And now we’re in a situation where we have autonomy of what’s going on in our project. If a contractor that has gotten paid, for example, now we know we’re in a situation where if our customer’s getting paid, how that’s going to help us for customers getting paid from their customer. The probability of us getting paid in full now is almost at a hundred percent. This is what I was talking about earlier, when I wanted to touch upon a little bit about payment predictability. So now that you have a scope of understanding what’s going on around you in your payment universe, what’s focused in on you let’s focus in on what it takes to be able to protect your business with your own rules.
Brandon Davenport: (21:21)
So payment insights and alerting is one aspect of getting paid fairly. You now have understanding of who to work with, but it directly ties into our theme from today as well. Being able to cut costs and increase productivity within your business. If you’re not having to figure out who pays fairly, for example, when you’re searching another contractor or a property owner developer to work with, Hey, that reduces surgeon costs something that I learned in my time when I was studying economics at Brown is any brand that is having to reduce arching costs is actually eliminating unnecessary, overhead and time spinning it on working with that organization. So that’s one aspect. I’m going to go into some of the specifics. Now, now that I’m back on the Mon page with tracking your deadlines, most of our customers going back to like Don or Louie, for example, this is the first thing that they click into them having a good understanding of what’s going on and all their projects, what deadlines are most pertinent and what to do next in order to take action for the company.
Brandon Davenport: (22:36)
What we do is we actually chronologically order all the different deadlines so that no matter what, you’re going to have the peace of mind to know that your notice or lien that you need to file in order to protect your business or the entire set framework S E and T, that we talked about is always in a situation where these lien rights are compliant. And your notice left rights are compliant, putting you into a position where you now have leverage. So new insights. Again, you’ll see the insights page at the top. Let’s take a closer look at all the different projects. You see payment rights, you’ll see lien alerts to see upcoming deadlines that are happening for the organization. And again, as I mentioned, chronological, ordering your projects. So you can see what’s coming up down the pipe and what you’d need to actually be taken action upon when we dig a little bit further into a project. So if, as an example, because I was talking about an equipment organization earlier, let’s click into this Omaha nomadic equipment company and dig a little bit more.
Brandon Davenport: (23:52)
What you’ll see is that was the macro view of understanding all your different lead deadlines so that you’re not having to count this on a spreadsheet like so many people do, or with some type of other software that is able to track some of these deadlines as well. Now we get into the micro view of what’s going on in this individual project and what can I do in order to make sure that I’m protecting myself? So a question that I get, oftentimes when I’m talking to construction companies is what do I need to give you in order for all this to be tracked? There’s so much information here. Uh, there’s a lot that’s going on, especially with how we highlight specific deadlines. And I want to put people’s questions. They’re at ease. It’s actually quite simple from a project research standpoint. If you give me the address, if you give me your role on the job, GC sub supplier, et cetera, and you give me the project type commercial, residential, federal state County, that’s all we need from a research standpoint.
Brandon Davenport: (24:59)
And the automation goes into effect again, going back to increasing productivity. Now, when it comes to the deadlines, this is where we need a couple of other different dates. So another question I get, what are the dates right? The day that you first started the job, the day that you end the job. And if you’re in a state that requires multiple monthly notices, again like Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, then you give me the date that you invoice. That’s all we need. And that’s it. And so a question that I then also get pretty often is, well, like how do I get that information over to you? We can talk about that here in a little bit. So from here, what is the most pertinent information? Anything I’d read? Well, we know that we need to file a mechanics lien today. For example, we’re owed $5,000 in this particular project, but what I want to also do is just show you and highlight how easy it is to send a preliminary notice.
Brandon Davenport: (25:58)
So in a state like Nebraska, pick that intentionally being the heart of the state or the country, rather the preliminary notice is actually quite easy and quite simple. Again, if you give us dates, would we put a nice cover letter on our preliminary notices? We can, because again, we go back to our chili pepper analogy there it’s about escalating the situation. So the preliminary notices at the beginning, it’s our jalapeno. It’s very friendly. And so we put a friendly cover letter on it and only the required information, natural stakeholders, legal property description. Again, it’s friendly. If we go back to that cover letter, Hey, here’s who we are. We’re excited to be doing work on your job. Thank you for the opportunity.
Brandon Davenport: (26:52)
Go certified mail. I have the option to email it as well, standard rush. And then we create the document takes about 20 seconds to send this if you wanted to do it manually. But the other question that I get as well, especially with the larger customers that we have, you know, when we go back to talking about CSI doing 1400 over the course of year, um, that’s no small order or small task, or even some of our larger customers as well, equipment rental companies that have tens of thousands of projects. How can we automate this? So you’re not even having to log in. Well, this is where we go to the hue. The documents queue is, is kind of like magic. And that’s why I intentionally put one of our core values over here at Levelset wow. With magic right there behind me, because now we’re putting you into a position where all you have to do, if you want is logging to Levelset go to your queue and either send, say yes or no on sending the document. If you want to even more automated than that, you don’t even have to log in at all analogy that I sometimes use is, you know, Levelsets kind of like the wind. You can feel it, you know, it’s there, but you can’t necessarily see it. That’s the metaphor for our automation and how everything is going to ensure that you stay protected. Going back to our productivity question that we had there, it looks like while that’s loading, I did get another question. Let me pop in.
Brandon Davenport: (28:32)
Brandon Davenport: (28:36)
Okay. Great question. So yeah, this is actually tying in directly to what I was going to talk about. If we want to have Levelset, automate our notices, do we still get to review them before they’re sent, this is exactly what we’re talking about right here. So great question. This is our documents, Cuba. What you’ll see here is all the documents that are coming up. So if you want it to log in and basically have the power to say yes or no on sending this particular document, you’re going to have that opportunity right here. All you have to do is then click onto your monthly notice, say yes, and then you’re done wow with magic.
Brandon Davenport: (29:18)
Now we’ve talked a lot about the micro level after talking about the macro level. And again, I want to be brief with this product demo. There are a ton of other features, as you can see on the left-hand side of the screen that involve like document organization, all the different companies that you work with cash center, getting legal advice from lawyers over here at Levelset as well, but let’s go on and on and on. Uh, if you do want to learn more, uh, again, you can email me at Brandon at Levelset dot com. Uh, you also can actually request a more thorough demo if that’s what you want to do to learn a little bit more about Levelset. But for now that wasn’t the scope of being able to decrease cost and increase productivity. What I’m going to do now is I am going to open it up for a few more questions.
Brandon Davenport: (30:18)
We can go from there.
Brandon Davenport: (30:23)
Cool. Looks like we had one coming already.
Brandon Davenport: (30:28)
Awesome. So my team mostly uses spreadsheets and I’m not sure they’d be eager to start using a completely different system. How does Levelset help with training? Uh, this is a great question. So when we think about a partnership, it’s more than just giving a software license. So Levelset is a cloud-based system. You have the autonomy that you want, and for those that desire full autonomy, it’s there and available for you. But we want to make sure that everyone feels like they have someone that’s in their corner. So we have a training and onboarding team. So everyone that signs up and joins a partnership with us, they have a training and onboarding manager. That’s going to get them fully acclimated to the system, uh, within the first month. So when we think about a spreadsheet and using a completely different system, that actually goes into a whole nother topic of, you know, I use a certain accounting system.
Brandon Davenport: (31:26)
How does this work? How does it integrate with bubbles set? Right. So to your question there, cam like, I appreciate that. Like that’s awesome. Spreadsheets is just one way to be able to get your data into Levelset. You can actually spoke, send those over to Levelset mail at Levelset dot com and we can upload for you. There is a spreadsheet integration system that we have in place where we can build a bridge to your spreadsheets, or when you say spreadsheets there, um, which goes into my other point. Are you, are you talking a little bit more about accounting systems or truly like Excel files? Just want to make sure I’m clear enough on it. Okay. Yeah. So with Excel, yes. Like that’s cool. We can build a bridge, have those automatically upload into Levelset again with just some of those key elements that we need for the research and deadline tracking portion. Our systems are good to go from there.
Brandon Davenport: (32:28)
Brandon Davenport: (32:32)
What other questions do we have? Oh, it looks like we got
Brandon Davenport: (32:34)
Another one. How
Brandon Davenport: (32:37)
Do you verify question again? How do you verify your sources or the GCs that are on your platform? Well, this is a good question because it goes back into the slides that I was showing earlier about Levelset research. So we take different resources to be able to complete a picture of what’s going on with the GC. So think about it as like the Yelp for general contractor payment profiles, but more data-driven and less qualitative. So we actually do take kind of reporter data from thousands of different counties across the us. We’re pulling that in, on either a daily, a weekly or a monthly cadence. So we always know how many situations GCs are getting themselves into where they’re not paying their vendors fairly. So that’s one aspect. We also anonymize user data to be able to create a fuller picture of what’s going on with Levelset users. And really the benefit is to the user to be able to have more information about who they’re working with it in a day. And then the third primary source that we use as well is third parties. Um, think about, uh, data trees, uh, being able to have appropriate title information, especially for those that are doing residential work, uh, where title swamps happen quite frequently. Uh, that’s another primary source that we use.
Brandon Davenport: (34:17)
Brandon Davenport: (34:19)
Cool. Um, let’s do, we’re trying to get one more question last call for questions, and then, uh, we’ll wrap up for the day. Um, again, my email is Brandon at Levelset dot com. As you can see here on my screen, if you want to go ahead and request a more thorough demo it’s Levelset dot com backslash request dash demo. If you want to have a more thorough conversation with myself or another payment expert over here at level seven. Yeah. And, um, again, looks like we don’t have any more questions. Um, so we can go ahead and wrap up for today. Um, just remember that all the resources that you see and that are available, that we talked about today, such as some of the payment profiles, uh, such as the ability to log on and understand your deadlines. Our credit manager Academy go to Levelset dot com slash CMA, all this information. That’s the free information that I’m talking about outside of the actual software that we do sell as a service to customers. Uh, so again, take that to your company. Take that to your friends, peers, and, and show them a little bit more about what you learn today. Uh, again, it’s free and if you want to chat with me or someone else on my team happy to do so, it’s been a pleasure today. Thank you for your time.
Brandon Davenport: (35:43)