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How to Simplify Your Lien Rights Management Process with Software

Project Type


Experts in this video

Amanda Alexander
Amanda Alexander

You might already know about the power of protecting your lien rights to get paid. But what do you know about the power of using software to help you efficiently protect those lien rights?

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 task


Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to today’s webinar. We’re so happy to have y’all join us as we talk about what it looks like to simplify your process for protecting lie rights, using software. I have great news. If you’ve been thinking about using software to handle your accounts receivable, to manage your preliminary notices and lie rights, or if you’re just playing curious about what you can do to get paid faster, you’re definitely in the right place. We’re recording this live session and we’ll share the recording with you tomorrow. If you have any questions, while I’m speaking, go ahead and enter them in chat box. On the right hand side of your screen, you guys should be pros right now with your pet answers. So we’ll get to those questions at the end of the presentation. So let’s jump in.

Speaker 1 (00:55):
My name is Amanda and I’m a payment expert here at level set. I work with businesses like yours to get paid faster and avoid payment problems. I hope companies take a deep look at their current payment process and discuss how they could further safeguard themselves from payment issues while saving them time, using level set software in case this is your first interaction with level set. I’ll give you a brief overview of who are and what we do basically level set exists to help subcontractors and suppliers protect their lie rights and collect payment. We all know that the construction industry presents all sorts of challenges when it comes to getting paid to solve those challenges. We have all kinds of resources from profiles, outlining contractors, payment histories to educational guides. And of course our cloud-based software, which we’ll touch on today.

Speaker 1 (01:55):
So for today’s agenda first to make sure we’re all on the same page, we’ll walk through what it means to protect your lie rights and why this may must be a priority. If you want to get paid on time for your work, then we’ll jump into what lean rights management software is and what it looks like for you to use software, to track your notice deadlines, research, job information, and ensure your customers pay you on time. We’ll also take a look at how you can automate important steps and actions in the collections process to save time and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. At the very end, we should have about 10 to 15 minutes for questions. So definitely keep ’em coming.

Speaker 1 (02:42):
The process for collecting payments can look different depending on what state you’re located in, what your job role is or what industry you’re in. But the basics of protecting your payments are the same across the board. If you haven’t been paid on a project where you’ve supplied labor and materials, you can usually file a mechanics lane or bond claim on public jobs in order to secure payment. However, in order to file a valid claim of lien, there are typically some steps that you need to take before. A payment is late to protect your or legal right to file a lie.

Speaker 1 (03:22):
Now, again, this looks different in different states or depending on your role on the project, but the basics are at the beginning of the job, communicate with a GC and the property owner that you’re on the job by sending something called a preliminary notice. This might have a different name depending on what state you’re in. Next, if a payment is passed due, send a notice of intent to lean as a warning. This really operates as a warning shot to get the GC and property owner to start taking your payment. Seriously. Finally, if no communication or progress is made on payment file a mechanic, explain as a last resort to protect your payment. In between these steps, you can send things like friendly payment reminders to encourage your customers to make payment.

Speaker 1 (04:13):
I also want to make a point to say that if you’re not required to sending preliminary notices to protect your lien rights, sending those notices helps speed up payments for your customers because they take your payments a lot more seriously. I know several businesses who started sending these notices voluntarily it cut down their DSO dramatically, and it got their customers to start paying them much faster. For example, we have a, a customer in Florida who does window and door installations on condos homes and commercial buildings. According to Florida lean law, they only had to send notices if they were the sub on the project, but they started noticing that they had slow payment issues. Also when they were the GC, their accounting person decided to send prelims at the start of every job, even if they weren’t required to do so. And it took their payment cycle from 60 days down to about two weeks, simply because those formal notices made it easier for customers to pay and cleared up a lot of confusion. I bring this up because sending notices on every job is definitely something to consider if you’re not already doing so.

Speaker 1 (05:29):
So let’s talk about some of the challenges associated with collecting payment and protecting your lean rights. Because if you know all of the steps and you have a process in place for AR, you’re probably dealing some processes that are inefficient and just downright stressful for one sending preliminary notices on every job is insanely time consuming, partially because notices are dependent on deadlines and tracking deadlines across different jobs at different locations takes a ton of time. And a lot of energy, another time consuming process is hunting down job details. So you can fill in your notices and make sure that they are being sent to the right people. Not only does this take a lot of time, but sometimes it can feel almost impossible to know whether or not you have the right property owner information or other job details. I tell people all the time that relying on a job sheet is a super risky move.

Speaker 1 (06:34):
I personally talk to people day and a and day out that received incorrect project information on a job sheet, and it impacted negatively everyone down the payment chain. A third challenge is keeping your notices and documents consistent. This might seem like a small thing, but if you send your paperwork same way every time, it makes it much easier for your customers to pay you. Also having formalized documents means your business looks more professional, which often results in customers prioritizing paying you. I can’t stress this enough. Sending notices helps your customer take you more seriously. And your payment on top of those three challenges, printing and filling out documents, mailing, or scanning paperwork and filing liens at the county recorder’s office can take hours out of your week. I hear that the post office is a major time constraint for most contractors. These are just a few are the pain points when it comes to managing your lie rights. I’m sure that each of you can think of other difficulties that you’re dealing with personally. We’d love to hear about ’em please put ’em in the chat about, you know, what’s your least favorite part when covering your lean rights.

Speaker 1 (07:57):
Now, I wouldn’t take time talking about the stressful side of collecting payments and protecting lane rights. If I wasn’t gonna follow up with some solutions, all of the challenges we talked about on the previous side can be solved or at least lessened with software software might sound like just another annoying thing to figure out, but it comes down to taking a manual process, like sending a notice and then using technology to complete that same process with less effort, with lean rights management software, all of the processes you use to collect payment and protect your lean rights, become faster and easier saving you time, effort, and ultimately money. And this day and age construction companies are having to do a lot more with a lot less having a software tool to help speed up the process is a lifesaver. You can send your notice with just a few clicks rather than printing and mailing.

Speaker 1 (09:02):
You’ll get alerts when notice deadlines are coming up. So you won’t have to manually keep up with these notice deadlines just to stay compliant. I hear about crazy outlook calendars and Gmail calendar alerts. You also have a clean database that you can access at any time for a quick review of what you’ve done to protect payments, what actions you still need to take, or an overview of outstanding payments. And so much more. This point alone I’ll tell ya is really critical for a lot of companies, especially on small teams. If someone’s out of the office, especially in this day and age with COVID, it helps be a centralized communication tool for the rest of the company to make sure things are being protected and not slipping through the cracks. You also have an access to an official template, which keeps your notice payment reminders, waivers, and other paperwork, consistent and easy for your customers to understand. And also you can take steps to secure payment when problems arise. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of things.

Speaker 1 (10:12):
It’s one thing for me to tell you all the great things that you can achieve at software, but now let me show you what it looks like practically to use software, to simplify your lean rights process. So right now, what I’ll do is go over to the level set platform. This is what it looks like when you log into level set. So in a second, I’m gonna go ahead, then show you what it looks like to send out a notice and how easy it is to protect your lane rights. But I’d like to highlight just really quickly of some of the other things that we do as well, where you can look up a contractor like our contractor profiles, which is kind of like Yelp for contractors to see someone’s payment rating. And for, you know, a lot of contractors, it’s a great way to help vet people that are outside of your network.

Speaker 1 (10:59):
When you’re looking at taking on a bid, you can also ask our attorney network and our expert center, best practices and questions. And you can even see over on the, the left hand side here, we offer things like materials financing, which is huge for, you know, sub tiers in suppliers because you know, you guys are really the ones that are, are funding, a large portion of the project. So definitely reach out if that’s something that’s interested of, you know, learning more about on this project on this project about level set rather. But what I’m gonna do is pull up a project profile.

Speaker 1 (11:43):
I have extremely unique project naming capabilities, as you guys can see Amanda’s Florida material supplier, but what I wanna show you here is just like on this project, it’s telling it’s already, Hey, your payment’s not protected. Why is this the case? Well, you can look down below that. We said that this project started on the 12th and, and the state of Florida, you have 45 days to send out something called a notice to owner. That’s what they call their preliminary notice in Florida. So levels that say, Hey, we need to send out a, a notice in order to protect our lie rights. So we alert you to, to what next step you need to take to make sure you’re protecting yourself. So we’ll simply press on create a notice.

Speaker 1 (12:35):
We have our dates here, but if you needed to modify, you can. And then we were hired by the subcontractor. In this particular instance, we’re not super sure about the property owner information, if there was a lender or owner D or general contractor. So level set, once we have that information on the project address and who your hiring party was, what the state is, we know what you need to do to be compliant, but we also will help you find and fill in those missing blanks. And then verify the information that you do. Give us. We have something called our scout research team, and there are researchers that specifically will help make sure that your documents are being sent the right way.

Speaker 1 (13:21):
So we’ll send this notice through certified mail, which is mandated to all the stakeholders involved. If you needed to send a email copy, you can, but I’d like to highlight too, if you guys can see, I’m not sure how small this is on your screen, but the language is super friendly from any notice that level sets send out when it comes to a preliminary notice, it’s meant to be a communication tool. It’s like, Hey, thanks for your business. We’re looking forward to working with you. We just want fair communication around work, progress, quality, and payment. And so it really is just to set the right expectation from the let other folks you’re know you’re you’re on the job. And that way, the first time you’re talking to someone above you on the payment chain, isn’t like, Hey, you guys owe this money what’s going on.

Speaker 1 (14:06):
So we’ll hit create a document here. And just like that we’ve protected our lean rights set the right expectation, and really started improving our are chances of making sure that we’re getting paid on time and getting paid faster. Another great thing about, you know, using software to send these notices out is the fact that you have a lot of the project information and the particular notice information within level set and what a lot of our customer really like is that you can see, you know, what your mail information would be your certified mail information when they received it. If they communicated it would be here. I’m gonna go ahead and cancel this order, but just to make sure and reiterate, like you can always access any of the documents that you’ve ever sent on a project and level set, which is really nice to keeping everything nice.

Speaker 1 (15:04):
And PIY, I hear about from manual processes where there’s lots of folders on desks and it, it gets really hard to keep up with everything, especially if you’re a busy office, but even more so as I mentioned, you know, earlier a lot of these companies that I talk to day in and day out, they’re really downsized a lot of their staff. And so a lot of people are wearing more hats and it comes down to, you know, saving some time, making sure it’s done the right way. So you can tackle the other parts of your day. You can even communicate with our Scott research team about anything that they’ve found. Even if it’s opposing to what you guys have entered, they’ll show you exactly. You know, what we found so you can make a sound decision. Now I’d also like to highlight, don’t just tell you like, Hey, this is the first step, you know, throughout the project, we’re monitoring it and saying, Hey, project still hasn’t been paid.

Speaker 1 (15:59):
It may be appropriate to send out a notice of intent to lean. Then we’re tracking your lean deadline saying, Hey, we should file a claim of lean and continuing to track that. Now I’d like to also, you know, reiterate the fact that we can automate these things by sending out your preliminary notice, or even setting your payment reminders to go out, whatever your net terms are to automate those things, to save your team time and you know, really make sure that you guys are doing things the same way on every project to get more of predictable results. The last thing that I would like to point out here is really how we can help track timelines and your deadlines here. And this may seem something like it’s insignificant, but it, it’s pretty huge, especially if you’re working in multiple states, but, and truly if you have multiple projects going on, there’s different deadlines all the time.

Speaker 1 (16:56):
So once the project is in level set, we’re telling you what the next deadline is. If there’s another deadline coming up, what your leaner bond claim deadline is. And what’s really, really cool is something called our job radar that is allowing you to know, like once that project’s in level set, we’re monitor, monitoring the job. Like if anything else has happened on the project to indicate slow payment, like another sub or a vendor has filed a notice of intent a lie. If there’s been a bankruptcy, we let you know there’s indications of slow payment. So you can start taking action because you wanna be first or second in line for payment, not 10th or 11th. So that’s really critical as well. For states like you know, California, Arizona, I believe Texas as well. We’re monitoring for things like notices com of completion, because that does also change your lead deadline.

Speaker 1 (17:54):
So we’re always happy to, to dive into this and tailor on a one on one, but as an overview, this is, you know, how software is able to help by, you know, saving you time, really customizing to your workflows, your business in helping you achieve your goals. So, you know, the next thing that I would like to do here is really just highlight some folks that, you know, have partnered with level set. And we work with thousands of contractors to simplify the lean rights management process. And Kimberly at chap plumbing is a great example of a success story. Her company decided to partner with level set in the fall of 2020, and almost immediately improve their cash flow. Once they regularly started protecting their lane rights and using software to do so. Another really good example is Chelsea at belows plum heating and air they’re located in California. So Chelsea’s always understood the importance of protecting lie rights. It’s a requirement there for subtiers, but it wasn’t until she started using level set to streamline the process, that they were able to avoid mistakes that led to losing not only their lean rights, but revenue to. So I promised you guys some time toward the end here to, to talk about any questions that you may have. And so I’ll shoot it back over to, to my friend, Caroline, to talk about some of these questions here.

Speaker 2 (19:29):
Great. Thank you so much, Amanda. We have a lot of really awesome questions coming in hot. I tried to respond to as many of you as possible just to let you know that we would cover them in the Q and a. So without further due, I’m just gonna start if you guys have any other questions, go ahead and pop them in the Q and a box. It’s near the chat, but it’s not the chat, but you could also put them in the chat. So I’ll just go ahead and ask. So from Amanda, not you Amanda, the host, but a different Amanda. Hmm. Do you have to submit a separate preliminary notice for each month or can months be combined in one month or one I’m sorry. Correction. Do you have to submit a separate notice of intent for each month or can months be combined into one notice?

Speaker 1 (20:22):
Hmm, that’s a really good question, Amanda. And I would like to preface saying, like, of course there’s in another Amanda in this meeting, cuz there’s usually three of us in every room, but I, I will say that the pin not to be deflected, but it depends on what state you’re in Amanda. It sounds like you may be in Texas with the way that that’s phrased. If so they have some tricky things called monthly notices, which do have to be filed for each particular month where work was performed and unpaid at a certain timeline, not to confuse the rest of the class. But typically I notice of intent is suffice over like what’s, you know, been not paid. So, you know, usually someone would be sending that depending on the 45, 60 days out of not being paid. And one warning shot usually starts getting that communication train back on track.

Speaker 2 (21:16):
Cool. Thank you. Another one from Amanda, just to follow up also do you have to send a specific form for intent to lean for retainage? And do you have to send the retainage notice of the beginning of the project in order be able to file lean on retainage?

Speaker 1 (21:32):
Yes. So you are in Texas the answer. Yes. Yes.

Speaker 1 (21:38):
Yeah, so definitely, you know, sending that multi notice at the beginning of the project is a great move. Not only to protect your retainage, but also to set the right expectation from the beginning of the, a project. So that’s always something really, really well. Advised the other thing, Amanda, I would also say we didn’t talk about this in the, the overview that I had. I’m, I’m happy to always walk you through like a demo or, or a colleague of mine, but we have something called the, the monthly notice control, which for a text company is really important because those monthly notices have to go out at particular times. It’s one of the hardest states in the union when it comes to lane rights and we have, you know, systems in place specifically for folks like yourself to make sure that that’s easy and maintain the appropriate way.

Speaker 2 (22:26):
Great. Thank you. We actually have probably five to six questions related to integrations with QuickBooks. One question about Sage 100 foundation software. So can you touch on does level set software speak to QuickBooks? <Affirmative> and I’ll, I probably will have some follows.

Speaker 1 (22:53):
Yeah. So the majority of the people that I talk to day in and day I’ll use QuickBooks for their accounting software and is usually doing that for their invoicing. We do a direct integration with both online and also desktop. We no longer do an integration with Sage. We don’t do an integration with foundation, but there’s a workaround. So we can do something called our, our custom spreadsheet imports, which basically not to get everyone confused, but we can essentially create an integration for you guys. So you’re not having to manually input that data. So we got you covered.

Speaker 2 (23:29):
Great. Thank you. And then another more specific oh, sorry. One more of Vista integration.

Speaker 1 (23:37):
No, I’m sorry. So just to, to sum up who we integrate with QuickBooks PROCO and red team are, are direct integrations.

Speaker 2 (23:48):
Okay. And real quick, can you touch on how the QuickBooks interface, especially how it relates to California filing requirements?

Speaker 1 (24:03):
What do you mean by interface?

Speaker 2 (24:06):

Speaker 1 (24:06):
Guess so the information would come from QuickBooks directly into level set. It’s a one way integration. So the information just comes to level set like your project information when the project started the amount and those kind of things. And so what’s really helpful with the QuickBooks integration is same with any of the other integrations or even the, the custom spreadsheet imports is that we know when the project started, how much is owed and even like progress payments and those kind of change orders and stuff are communicated throughout. And so we know when, you know, your timeline shot clock is going when it comes to your lane rights.

Speaker 2 (24:42):
Awesome. And then, Ooh, I like this one does level set, integrate with Procore or joist for estimates.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
We do direct integration with Procore. Most people that are using something like Procore financials will integrate with either with Procore or pro core financials. A lot of times what I find with people that are not using Procore financials, you may still be using QuickBooks as well. So you get to, to pick one or the other, but we got you covered either way, Joyce. Like I said before, it’s only the trifecta there QuickBooks Procore and red team, but again, we can figure out a way, so you’re not manually and putting that information as well.

Speaker 2 (25:30):
And then another follow up question related to QuickBooks. Do you need to be an admin to send info to from QuickBooks to level set?

Speaker 1 (25:37):
No. So basically what we’ll do is our, our training and onboarding team. I I’d like to mention that I, I didn’t during the demo, we don’t, I just make you guys figure this stuff out. Like we, you know, find out what’s gonna fit your business, tailor the plan and the software to you. We schedule a training and onboarding and and doing so we, we walk you through the integration and help you set up projects and, and even send out a couple of notices on that. You know, on that training call. And then you also have an account manager typically someone kind of like me, I know you guys are gonna be bummed. It’s not me, but you know, they are going to be, you know, talking to you about your goals and those kind of things. So if you ever have a problem with figuring something out, there’s always someone there to support you.

Speaker 2 (26:28):
Okay. I think that is all we have on QuickBooks or integration related questions. I’m gonna scroll back up to make sure I’m not missing anyone. Okay. Natalie asked since there are times that we receive incorrect information by chance, does level set, verify the information submitted? I, I think that she’s talking about OB obviously project information.

Speaker 1 (26:55):
Oh yeah, absolutely. Natalie. So, like I said before, like once you put that project information in, we’ll take the information that you have and fill in the blanks for anything that you’re missing. But the most important part is that our research team is verifying the information that you put in. Because like I said, at the beginning of the webinar, like job sheet information, not that anyone is trying to be malicious to you, some cases sure. But you know, for the most part typos or our misinformation just rolls downhill really easily. And so we know how important and quite frankly, how critical it is that this information is correct. And we have a team dedicated to making sure your notices go out the correct way with the correct information.

Speaker 2 (27:41):
Okay, great. Thank you. And then I have another one I noticed on the so many great questions. Thank you guys so much. I just wanted to stop and express gratitude for that. I noticed on the presentation, a pay app tab, will this track pay a AI apps per job?

Speaker 1 (28:02):
No, it will not track your AIA. So AIA is a patented thing. It will not be like, like it doesn’t integrate or come over. Usually that’s coming from like your GC where you’re submitting like your AIA pay app sometimes through like PROCO text, whatever they’re using. And so you can certainly use level set to send waivers. Most of the time, anything coming above you from the payment chain is dictated by the GC. But if you need waivers for your vendors, of course you could use level set to do so. But you can, the pay apps that you saw are like for small GCs and even sometimes subs will create their own pay apps to make sure that, you know, they have some kind of paperwork there, which you can create your own template as well.

Speaker 2 (28:53):
Okay, great. So another great question from Amanda, the other Amanda, <laugh> we are a GC and have so many subs that don’t what they’re doing. It’s starting to confuse us even because it is so complicated. Yeah. We hear that a lot. Yes. would totally be interested in a one on one, if you have a tool that helps GCs track what they’re receiving each month, is that something you have, or is it mostly,

Speaker 1 (29:27):
Yeah, no Amanda, we should say for sure. So we can also for the GC side and the reason why we kind of preface this at the beginning of the meeting is a lot of the people that are in the room are mostly like subs and vendors. But we absolutely can help GCs to track track and manage your waiver process. And so your account’s payable for sure. And you know, a lot of times when I’m talking to GCs, it’s really hard because there’s so many moving parts, not everyone submits their paperwork on time. And a lot of the team is focused right before hounding, you know, subcontractors and sub tiers on the project to get those those waivers in on time. And so, you know, we definitely can help there with software even helping do things like automated reminders and those kind of things. So I think it’ll be a good conversation and, and a happy to be having that with you.

Speaker 2 (30:23):
Awesome. and then, okay, Terry asked, is there a monthly plan or is it per lean?

Speaker 1 (30:32):
That’s a really great question. So really level sets pricing model is tailored to the particular business that we’re talking to. And so we usually go through like a, a discovery call to find out what’s going on with the business how many projects you’re on, what your needs are and what you’re experiencing with payment. And so we take that to, you know, tailor a plan to fit your needs. We do have a multitude of different pricing options, but most contractors I, that we work with or on a subscription one because everything that we showed today those are all things that are offered in our, our paid accounts. In making sure that, you know, we’re not only finding the research, tracking your deadlines and helping you from start to finish on a project. And it’s usually cheaper honestly than per document. You get a lot more value and you save money too, but I’m happy to have a conversation to, you know, find whatever your budget is and, you know, make it fit you guys.

Speaker 2 (31:37):
Great. Thanks. A couple people just letting me know that they attended late and wondering just like how they can get the whole thing. We are gonna be sending you, everybody the recording tomorrow morning, once it’s available, so you can share it or just watch it yourself if you missed at any part at any point. And if I missed your question go ahead and email Amanda directly. It’s Amanda dot Alexander level.com. And with that, I’m just gonna pass it back to Amanda to close it out.

Speaker 1 (32:17):
Yeah. I really appreciate everyone for attending today’s webinar. It’s been really fun. Glad we got to kick it with our question of the day at the beginning. It’s been a roller coaster here and you guys had amazing questions. Like Caroline said, feel free to reach out to me personally@amandaalexanderatlevel.com. And as I mentioned before, you’ll receive a recording of the webinar tomorrow, like Caroline said as well also today’s presentation was a, a general overview of what it looks like to use software to protect lean rights. But if you’d like to get a consultation to see what it would look like to use level set and your business us with your unique needs, we’re happy to provide a customized demo. Someone like myself would be, you know, guiding you through the asking you questions and just having a really honest conversation about how we could help or, or what your business needs. So visit the website listed here or feel free to reach out. Thanks again, everybody and have a great week.