Free Webinar: Simplify Your Lien Rights Management Process with Software
In this webinar you’ll learn:
- The basics of protecting lien rights
- How to create a streamlined process for collecting payments
- What it looks like to use software for tracking deadlines, sending notices, and managing all your lien rights tasks
Michael Kungl: (00:03)
This is simplifying your lien rights with process management software. We’re going, my name is Michael [inaudible]. I’m a strategic account executive here at level-set and I’ve been working for almost six years here, helping contractors and suppliers of all different shapes and sizes who are looking to, uh, focus on what we are going to be talking about today, which is using software to make lien rights easier. Now, some of you may not know who level set is. So to give you a little background, construction is one of the slowest paying industries that exist in the world. And the construction payment process is a very fragile ecosystem. There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot of paperwork and it leads to a lot of stress. And so level set as a company believes that construction payments should be fair, simple, and transparent. And so we do this in a lot of ways. You can either check out our free educational resources on the website. You can check out our contractor profiles to learn more about the companies that you’re working with and their payment behaviors. And then you can also use our lien rights management software, which will be the focus of the conversation today.
Michael Kungl: (01:19)
Now, just in terms of the agenda, we’ve gotten a lot of interest in the session. I really appreciate it. That does mean though that we have a wide spectrum of folks. So there are some very, uh, experienced credit professionals who know lien rights, like the back of their hand. And then there are folks who are like me on my first day at level-set and may not even know if they’re pronouncing the word lien correctly. So just to make sure that everybody’s on the same page, what we’ll be doing at the start, it’s going into lien rights management, what does that mean? What should I expect that to do for me? And then what are the challenges that come along with this process? Right? And so we’ll dive a little bit into what makes this so frustrating and stressful. Then we’ll talk a little bit about how software can help address some of these challenges.
Michael Kungl: (02:05)
And then we’ll transition into a product demo of how level-set can help make it easy for you as well too. Now I do want to give a warning ahead of time level sets a very flexible software. And by that, I mean, depending on your role and the need that you have, there might be a different use case for how you use it than what we cover today. So I highly encourage anybody just going back here, if you have specific questions or if there are specific use cases that you’d like to learn a little bit more about, feel free to email me it’s Michael at level-set, I’m happy to present any other information or provide you with any relevant resources depending on the need. And then just to wrap it up, we will have a question and answer session at the end. I’d encourage you throughout the presentation.
Michael Kungl: (02:51)
If you do have any questions, feel free to submit them in the question box and I’ll try to get to as many as possible. And then I will have my contact up or contact information up at the end. If you do have any further questions, you’d like to email me afterwards. So with that, we’re going to go ahead and get started. So what do we mean when we talk about lean rights? Right? And so we think about lien rights, a big misconception is that someone not familiar with it may automatically assume that with lien being in the name, filing a lien must be the only part of being a lean process. But that’s not the case. As you can see here, we have a three-step process. And it’s really driven by saying that we have here at level-set, which is that 100% of people hate mechanics liens, right?
Michael Kungl: (03:39)
Elaine itself is a claim on the actual property that makes the property owner or bonding company, whatever it might be responsible for ensuring that everyone is paid fairly on the project. Now, the challenge is that there’s a lot of different variations of what processes need to be followed based on the state. So to make it really easy, we’re just boiling it down into a three-step process, right? So when we talk about the lien rights process, it all starts at the beginning of the project. In fact, this is a requirement in most States, it’s, what’s called a preliminary notice. And the preliminary notice is purpose is number one, not only to establish your right to file a mechanic’s lien, but if you think about it, when you’re taking part on a project, you’ll know who your customer is, but you may not know who else is involved on the project.
Michael Kungl: (04:33)
You may not know who the owner is. You may not know if there’s a lender or if there’s another contractor that your customer is working for. What that also means is that they have no clue that you’re on the project and no one starts a project saying, I can’t wait to file a lien on the job. The same goes for the property owner. They’re not saying I can’t wait for somebody to file a lien on me. Everybody’s looking forward to a successful project. The purpose of that preliminary notice then is to make yourself known on the job so that now the property owner or the general contractor, or whoever has a financial interest in the job, can make sure that they’re aware of who you are. And now they’re tracking to make sure that you’re getting paid timely too. So it really is a great step to start off correctly on the project.
Michael Kungl: (05:20)
Now, inevitably though payment issues do arise. And so rather than going straight to the mechanics, lien that third and final step, another useful topic is the notice of intent to lien the notice of intent. And you can almost think of it as an olive branch, where you’re not going straight to the nuclear option and putting a hold on the title. Instead, what you’re telling is the customer and any other stakeholders on the job that you haven’t been paid. And you’re looking to make amends before you do have to take that final action. Now, if you do reach that point, the lien itself is relatively, uh, stressful document. It impacts the project in a variety of ways. It can slow down the flow of funds on the job. It can disrupt the project. And so the success that we’ve seen with a lot of our customers is by using more proactive techniques like sending these notices really helps to drive better outcomes on the project rather than needing to file mechanics liens.
Michael Kungl: (06:25)
And here’s a great example. So Joan is a customer of ours, been working with us for a few years. Her team typically took what we considered a reactive process when it came to collecting. And what that means is that it is very time consuming to chase after your money. It is slow to get paid, and ultimately it’s just a damaging relationship with your customers when you’re constantly calling them trying to collect. And so what Joan did that I think is really representative of how the best level set customers use the lean process is that they really treated this like a process and less as a penalty. And what I mean by that is that it’s a very easy way to think of lean rights as only using it for new customers or for customers with poor credit history. And while you certainly want to use lien rights to protect against those, it doesn’t really do great justice to the construction payment problem itself as a whole.
Michael Kungl: (07:23)
And so by being able to use the notices as a part of a standard business practice, it not only helps to position yourself at the front of the payment line, but it also helps to get your customers paid faster too. So it’s a win-win situation here when you are actively protecting lien rights and not just using it on those problem projects that you may or may not be able to forecast. And so you can see that Joan in particular was able to see a lot of great results by adopting that there’s a catch though, right? And so I’d mentioned this earlier, lien rights are different in every single state and on different types of projects, right? And so depending on your business, you might be working in multiple States. You might be working in one state, but managing a bunch of different projects. And every single project is unique when it comes to how you need to go ahead and protect yourself on the job.
Michael Kungl: (08:20)
Right? And so that means that your team might be responsible for sending multiple notices on a project. If you’re in Texas or Louisiana or Tennessee and familiar with lien rights, I think, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Um, but then you’re also responsible for keeping up with every single deadline. Then that’s on that job and on all of your projects there, right? It can become very manual and time consuming. And it really expects you to be an expert in lean law. When the ultimate goal is we want you to be an expert in construction and helping your company to continue to grow and take on new projects. Another big challenge in the industry is project visibility. Like I’d mentioned earlier, you’ll know who your customer is on the job, but it’s very difficult to find who else is on the job with you, right?
Michael Kungl: (09:09)
And so your sales team or your accounting team may have to rely on, uh, you know, talking to the customer, searching up internet databases to find that information it’s very time consuming. It seems like everybody’s trying to guard this information to the best of their ability. And the reason that’s a problem is because of lien rights are very picky. And so if you were required to send a notice to a specific contact on a project, but you have no idea who that is and you fail to send a required document to that party, it can impact your ability to file a lien later on. Right? So it’s important to make sure that you’re crossing all your T’s dotting your I’s and having that good project information at your fingertips. And the final standpoint here, especially if you’re doing this manually, it can be very hard to keep up with all the different forms, right?
Michael Kungl: (10:02)
And so I’m sure as you’re familiar stuff gets lost, people are out of the office and being able to stay consistent with a manual process can always be a drag on a team. But the good news, and what we’re gonna be focusing on today is that there’s a lot of advantages where software can take away many of these pain points, right? And so this is whether or not you plan to use level-set some of the best practices that software can help you implement are some of the following points here. So the first is that paperwork doesn’t need to be time-consuming right, rather than asking your team to fill out a job, she mail it, track the envelopes, keep that stored somewhere. You know, software’s able to replicate all of that with a few clicks of a button, right? Significantly reduces the amount of time that you’ll be needing to spend focusing on filling out forms or updating deadlines.
Michael Kungl: (10:58)
Um, and that leads me to my next point, is that the software itself, most softwares that are out there are able to think about those lien law requirements, apply them to your projects for you and automatically keep up with the deadlines so that your team doesn’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks or feeling like they need to use a calendar system to keep up with everything. And then finally, it’s important just to make sure that we keep a consistent process and place of resource for your team. So software can help avoid the situations where you take a project in a new state, or it’s a new type of project. And you’re not really sure what to do. So traditionally you may need to reach out to an attorney to ask for advice, or you have to spend hours on the state lien law website, reading through it, trying to figure out what to do.
Michael Kungl: (11:49)
Software can make that go away instantaneously, by being able to provide your team with the resources they need to be successful and feel like they are experts at what they’re doing. Now, I say all this, because I’ve got an awesome customer story for you. Uh, and I was very fortunate. I was able to work with Brent, but Brent is a credit manager for a Dallas based supplier. Uh, and before working with level-set, he had a great process for managing lien rights, uh, that he was working in multiple States. He was able to keep up with all the notice volume. But what you’ll see here is that it’s still very time consuming. And so when I see a review like this from Brent, this is to me, it gives me goosebumps. And it makes me excited to come to work here, but it’s really hints at some of the bigger picture stuff here where brand was able to remove a lot of his workload. And as you can see here, he was able to go home at five o’clock instead of three o’clock in the morning. And so we’re software can really make a difference. Is that instead of asking you to do a lot of the manual work, where it drags on and on and on, we want to help take that off your plate so that you can either go home earlier, or you can focus on some of the more important activities of running the business there.
Michael Kungl: (13:05)
All right. So I’m going to go ahead now. And we’re going to switch over into a short product demo. It’s not going to be a full-scale demo, like I had mentioned, and we’re going to try and hit at some of the major basic points, if there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see though, later on, feel free to email me or submit a question and or comment or question in the chat box. And so I’m going to go ahead and pull up a level set accounts. Let me go full screen. All right. So to start level sets a cloud-based system, so there’s no software to install. Uh, it’s really easy to set up, really easy to use, and we try to design it with your team in mind. And by that I say, the idea is we want to make it so that it’s very easy for them to get in, do what they need to do and move on with their day.
Michael Kungl: (13:56)
So you’ll see, there’s a couple of things I want to point out first, you’ll see here tracking all of the deadlines. Like we had mentioned, the level set system is going to look at all of your project information and determine exactly what’s coming up on your plate for you to worry about or take advantage of, right. We do also send weekly emails. So if you have to worry about an employee being out of the office and not being able to pay attention one day, no problem. There’s a lot of fail safes in here. Um, but what I’m going to pull up right now is a standard project that I’ve got set up in California. So one of the big questions that I always get when somebody is first looking at level set is, well, what information do you need from us? Right. And you may not have a lot of project information and that’s okay.
Michael Kungl: (14:46)
Right. The beauty of the level set system here is that it’s trying to take as much as a little information, excuse me. As you have to be able to determine exactly what your required actions are, right? So for us, the most important piece of information is just going to be where’s the job site address, like our address located, what is your role on the project? You’ll see down here. And then what type of project is this with that information, then we create this milestones page that allows us to say, this is exactly what you need to do on the project, depending on where the job stands. Right? So going back to that three-step process, for example, here, you can see that this project in California, we’re being prompted by the system. We want to go ahead and send a preliminary notice based on a certain point, which at any point we can go ahead and approve.
Michael Kungl: (15:45)
We can see that there’s the notice of intent to lien, which in California is optional. So if we do choose to go ahead and send it, and then we also have our lean deadline and calculated right away, right? And so as we start to approach these milestone dates, then level set will start to queue up and suggest to you to take on that next action here. Now, another really cool thing that I want to point out. That’s pretty unique to level-set is you’ll see here on the right side of the screen, this payment problem monitor. So the payment problem monitor does two things. The first is it’s grading you saying, are you following the correct actions on this project where your payment has been protected? Right? So have you sent out your required preliminary notices? Have you missed any deadlines so far and it’s giving you that assurance that you’re following the right actions on the project.
Michael Kungl: (16:40)
Now, the other section here that is really important is have there been any other payment problems identified on this particular project? Now, the reason this is important is because if let’s say waiting Turner, our customer has hired another subcontractor and that subcontractor hasn’t paid its material supplier, and Elaine’s filed well waiting. Turner’s now involved in a situation where they need to resolve that lien claim. And depending on, you know, the flow of funds on the project that has an, uh, uh, a chance to impact your ability to get paid. So when you’re able to see and level set, which project you’re on, or starting to have notices of intent to lien or mechanics lien filed, that’s a really good indication for your team to start shifting towards a proactive collective or a collection process with the customer, making sure that you’re in communication with them and staying clear of any possible payment issues that you may not otherwise have been aware of.
Michael Kungl: (17:45)
Now, we’re going to take a pause here and for some of our larger customers, uh, I’m sure you’re seeing, sitting here thinking to yourself, Hey Michael, this is great. We think it’s awesome that you’re able to, you know, set up the project, but we don’t have time to log into every single project and keep up with the deadlines or what our next actions are. And so where our particularly our distributor and rental companies really love about level-set is what we call the queue. And so the queue is a way for us to take your own rules and allow level set, to give you notification of what you need to take action on. And then what level set should do automatically for you. So you’re in complete control of the queue. And all it is designed to do is to Wade through all the noise and all the projects and give you exactly what’s most important for you to make a decision on.
Michael Kungl: (18:41)
So whether that be a mechanics lien that you need to have filed or some other document, uh, it’s very flexible based on how you’d like to use it now with the queue, let’s say you do go ahead and approve a document project visibility. If you remember, it was one of the big challenges that we talked about previously and making sure that you have the right contact information is critical. So I’m going to go back here to this, uh, California project and when an order is placed through level-set, it goes through what we call our scout team. You can think of the scout team as a bunch of private investigators who are solely focused on verifying job information and correcting anything that you may not have, or you may have incorrect. And so, for example, here on this project in California, Julie and Leah had both gone ahead and verified for us property owner information and legal property information that we weren’t aware of.
Michael Kungl: (19:44)
Right? So that scout team is designed to replace your team feeling like they need to call around the project, go on to County, assessor websites, or whole permits. We’ll do all of that work for you. And then from there, we’ll go ahead and handle all the mailing. And so after everything has been mailed out, you’ll have copies of everything documented in one place in the cloud for you, so that it’s very easy to access the information. And you always feel like you’re well aware of what level sets doing to help protect your lien rights on the project.
Michael Kungl: (20:15)
Okay. All right.
Michael Kungl: (20:18)
I want to be respectful of the Q and a time we’ve got about 10 minutes left here. Um, so I think we have a couple of questions. I think we’ll go ahead and get started on that one for the time being, um, I do also want to pull up
Michael Kungl: (20:34)
Michael Kungl: (20:34)
Final slide. We’ll do some questions, but here’s my email in case anybody needs it after
Michael Kungl: (20:47)
Marissa, if you’re able
Michael Kungl: (20:48)
To help me out the chat box, isn’t popping up for me with the question
Michael Kungl: (20:53)
Michael Kungl: (21:12)
Uh, it looks like someone has said that they need to file a couple of mechanics liens, um, on behalf of a homeowners association. So, uh, a little bit of context with a lien law, for example, we’re specifically focusing on construction. So if you have installed, uh, materials or equipment at a location, if you’ve run into Quip and, or use some type of material that was incorporated into a property, this will be for construction work. So HOA liens would not necessarily be applicable, but I do think that’s a great opportunity for us to leans are very confusing. And so when we think about the lien rights process, there’s going to be a lot of corner cases where your team may not always be aware of, you know, what exactly they need to do. And so another thing that we offer as part of the level set system is what we call our expert center.
Michael Kungl: (22:17)
So if your team has a particular question where they want to get a little bit more specific advice than the legal information, that’s on the website, they just want to make sure that they’re talking to an attorney that’s licensed in the state. Uh, you have access to not only the level-set legal team, but also to any of the experts in our network. And so you’re able to submit a question for free within your account, and then you’re able to go ahead and they typically respond within about an hour or so. So you can have a, you know, for example, Reece Henderson, it’s another folk that is part of our expert center, able to log in and answer any questions. So if you’re curious, you know, for example, an HOA lien versus a construction lien, then we can absolutely provide you with the resources to help out there too.
Michael Kungl: (23:08)
Michael Kungl: (23:09)
All right. Um, so we do have a question too. Can you talk a little bit about some of the big concerns people have about using software if they’ve never used software for this before? Um, I think that’s a great question because it’s a lot of the fear of the unknown, particularly if you’re accustomed to handling lien rights in house, uh, it’s a very sensitive customer relationship topic, right? Filing a lien is a big deal. And it’s important that your team is uses the liens themselves at discretionary. And so anytime somebody starts with a software, there’s always that concern of feeling like you’re losing control. And what I’ll say to that is at the end of the day level-set is, and I’ve said this a few times, it’s very flexible. And so if you want to make sure that you’re still in control, but you want to make sure that you’re at least taking a lot of the manual drudgery out of the process, then we’re happy to do that for you.
Michael Kungl: (24:13)
And so some of the things that we talked about, whether that be the queue or ordering documents, uh, we listened to what your preferences are and then we can build around that. And so if that is a concern of yours, then, you know, I encourage you to think about folks like Brent at Amera pipe, where that was something that he had done beforehand, the value isn’t necessarily taking over this for you. What it’s allowing you to do is to remove the parts that really aren’t that fun and that hold you back from doing what’s more important for your job.
Michael Kungl: (24:54)
Michael Kungl: (25:00)
All right. Another question, what integrations do you have available? And that’s a great question. So depending on your accounting software level sets very friendly with a lot of different systems. We do have direct integrations with QuickBooks, online, QuickBooks, desktop pro core and red team. Besides those though, we also have the ability to connect to any other existing here, PC systems. So whether you’re on a system like Sage, JD Edwards, Microsoft dynamics, we all have customers who choose to integrate. And the benefit of an integration is a few different reasons. The first is that it can completely remove the ability or the responsibility for your team to have to worry about data entry, right? So it chops off all that double data entry just takes additional time and it allows your system to just pass that information over to level set so that we can then take action on it.
Michael Kungl: (25:59)
Where that’s also really helpful is particularly if you’re a distributor where you may not know when your last furnishing date is on the project, you know, customer’s not always going to tell you you’re finishing the job as you continue to invoice that customer for that particular project level-set is also able to use your invoice dates to determine when you have finally finished invoicing on the project. So that rather than asking you to log in and keep all of your deadlines up to date, the system will go ahead and do that automatically for you too. So regardless of which software system it is that you can use, uh, being able to integrate provides a lot of benefits when it comes to keeping up with lien rights and addressing some of the challenges talked about earlier.
Michael Kungl: (26:47)
Michael Kungl: (26:48)
Is there any training to help my team get started with this? The answer is yes. So we like to say that level sets, not a group where we’re just going to hand you the keys to the car and let you drive off. We’re going to make sure that there are folks in that car with you helping you get out of the lot. And so whenever you work with level set, you’ll be assigned to at least two, if not more people, uh, the first will just be a standing your standard account manager, who will be your main point of contact with the company. And their role is to be that strategic consultant for you with figuring out the best way to roll out the lien rights process and continuing to give you coaching and feedback on where you can get better with how you’re using the system.
Michael Kungl: (27:34)
We’ll also assign you an onboarding manager whose responsibility is to help your team feel as comfortable as possible with the system. The good news is that it’s really easy. So it’s pretty common for us. People are up and running within if not a day, a few days. So it’s not a lot of work when it comes to training, but you are definitely going to have the support that’s available. If, if you need, if you have any other questions, again, my email isMichael@levelset.com. Feel free to call into our support line or online chat if you need any additional help, but we appreciate the interest and I will say it. And we’re looking forward to helping you all make construction payment easy and fair again. Thank you very much.
You might also like:
Ask a follow-up question
Aviso de Intención de Gravamen (NOI) – Formulario Gratis
Note: This is a generic Notice of Intent to Lien (NOI) form in Spanish. For...
COVID-19 Notice of Project Impact & Delays – Template
Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, being proactive is the best way to protect yourself on...
Demand Letter Template – Final Notice Before IRS Reporting
A demand letter is a warning about the course of action you will take if...
Prompt Payment Demand Letter Template
This prompt payment demand letter can be used with the Federal Prompt Payment Act or...