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How to Streamline Your Lien Rights Process



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Experts in this video

John Weirich
John Weirich

You might already know that the most powerful way to get paid in construction is to protect your lien rights on all of your jobs. But, you might not have the right solutions on hand to protect your lien rights in a way that is always accurate and efficient. Register for this webinar to learn what it looks like to streamline your lien rights process and get paid faster in the process.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Basic steps to take to protect your lien rights
  • Ways to create a streamlined process for protecting & collecting payments
  • How to use software to track deadlines, send notices & manage lien rights tasks


John Weirich (00:13):
Hello everybody. How about for you guys so far? Um, welcome to our webinar here at Levelset on streamlining your lien rights process. I’m going to give people a couple of minutes to stumbling here late, because if they’re like me, they may just be a minute or two late to some things. If you guys don’t mind doing me a favor, now those of you who have logged in already, I want to make sure that my might and audio are working correctly and that you all can find the Q and a function because we’re going to be hopefully using that throughout. Um, let’s see. Why don’t we do home towns. If you can hear me all right. And don’t mind thrown in the Q and a section just on how it’s working. We’ll drop some hometowns there and we’ll get ourselves started. And just a sec.

John Weirich (01:04):
Let’s see. Are we getting there? We get, I’m seeing some come through hometown. I’m kind of favorite town, Clermont, Florida, Oakland, Texas. Perfect. Thank you guys. Um, like I said, we’ll be taking questions throughout. So if you see something that catches your interest, if we cover something that you want some details on, please feel free across your zoom bar there. And Kim found the raise her hand option already. That’s a great option as well. Um, we’ll be collecting those questions in the Q and a section and the, uh, the chat is open as well. So thank you guys. Welcome everybody. I am going to go ahead and get us started. Um, again, welcome. We are running a webinar here today on how to stream a light streamline your lien rights process. So whether you are in the construction industry and you’re brand new to lien rights, or you’re a seasoned vet, and you’re looking at taking an in-house process to the next level, we’re going to go over some best practices, some customer stories here, and a little bit about what Levelset does we will be recording this.

John Weirich (02:08):
So if you miss anything, keep an eye out in your email. Um, and for anybody who might’ve had a colleague who signed up and wasn’t able to attend, we’ll get that out to them as well. So a quick introduction on who I am, my name’s John Weirich. Um, again, thank you all for being here. I’ve been with Levelset for five years. I love last week, actually. And I work with our sales team here to help them form partnerships with small to medium size all the way up to enterprise construction, contractors and suppliers out there. Um, if you’ve never spoken to Levelset before you never been to the website or heard of us, just a little bit of background on who we are. We are a software company out of new Orleans and Austin. And our entire goal is to make payment in this construction industry to got a little bit less of a headache.

John Weirich (02:52):
So we work with thousands of contractors around the country, handling things like lien rights, um, exchanging payment, exchanging lien, waivers, little bit of everything here. Um, but again, thanks for being here today. This is your first time. Um, we hope we hope you like what you see. Let’s talk for just a minute about today’s agenda. Like I said, whether you’re new to lien rights, or this is something you’ve been doing in a credit role for a very long time, hoping to, uh, to cover something new and helpful here, we’re going to be going over some basics to start, we’ll get into some of the challenges that companies normally have around lien rights and using them. We’ll talk about how those companies tend to simplify that process. And then we’ll take a look at the Levelset system. As I said at the beginning, I am encouraging questions throughout, but we will leave some time at the very end here for anything that does come up.

John Weirich (03:42):
If you’ve got some questions or some follow up. So let’s get started. Um, very high level 1 0 1 lien rights are a, a concept that exists in the U S actually specifically to help construction companies manage risk, manage credit, and manage AR. They allow people to secure their business and secure their revenue. But there’s a couple really good steps to take on any project to give a construction company the best likelihood of use in their lien rights. So here’s the three easy steps that we like to talk about. The first one is make sure that people know you’re on the job, right? It’s hard for money to change hands, or it’s hard for money to get paid out fairly. If a property owner, a lender or a GC is unaware of who’s on the project. When we talk about state requirements, that’s usually done with what’s called a preliminary notice or for our Florida float folks, a notice to owner, that’s going to be sent out at the beginning of the job, excuse me.

John Weirich (04:40):
It’s going to be sent out to the people making payment most often, so that GC and that property owner, and this is something that’s best practice across the country. Um, let’s say that we get going on a project though, and money’s not exactly being paid out in the timely fashion we were hoping for, or we’re told that money’s not going to be paid out for one reason or another. There’s a great second step to escalate. Here are these lien rights, and that is what’s called a notice of intent to lien. So notice of intent to liens are required in about 10 states at some level in Texas, they call these, uh, most closely monthly notices. So non-residential second monthly notices or third month notices. If you’re familiar there, these are documents that are designed to let people know we’re done waiting, right? You can think of them as a warning shot or maybe a, a final opportunity for payment to come out.

John Weirich (05:31):
And just like the preliminary notice guys, this should go to everybody above us on the payment chain. So if I’m a supplier, I’d want to send that out to my subcontractor, the GC and the owner from a sub, I’m going to make sure that both my GC, the owner, or a lender receives that notice of intent to lien, the more people we can make aware of the problem, the better chance we have a problem getting resolved. Finally, that last resort, when it comes to lien rights is filing an actual mechanics lien. Um, we like to think of this as a worst case outcome for everybody, right? 0% of people start a construction project and think can’t wait to file a lien on this. What we find time and time again, they’ll work with companies is that the more often they take advantage of steps, one and two, the less often they’re going to have projects that result in a lien needed to be filed.

John Weirich (06:17):
So speaking to some of those success stories wanted to introduce everybody here to Joan Elmore. Um, Joan here works for a window and door, um, supplier and installer out of Florida. And they do a lot of work, of course, with GCs. They’re also doing a lot of business for awhile with property owners and according to Florida law, that means Joan didn’t need to send a notice to owner to protect their businesses, lien rights. And so for a very long time, they weren’t sending in TAs. And what they found is that when they worked with property owners, they were running into a lot of the same headaches, right? So these may be familiar to some of our audience here today, right? But slow payment happens to all of us. Sometimes customers act confused or are confused about what the expectations are for payment. And it means that construction companies top to bottom spend too much time.

John Weirich (07:03):
Jason, after money now with Levelset, Jim was able to actually start sending notices on all of her projects, right? She broadened the scope of when they use those documents and you can see the results for her here that was able to bring their payment cycle down to 14 days. Um, when working with owners, they have better customer relationships because their customers felt like the expectations and the process was clearly communicated. And it was able to cut more than an hour a week out of their collections efforts there. So preliminary notices, notices of intent to lien. Um, they’re required in some fashion in just about every state, but even when they’re not are a great way of, like I said, communicating with your customers and speeding up that time to payment, which is key for all of us. Let’s talk about why it’s so hard though, right?

John Weirich (07:47):
Why are there companies out there like Levelset to help with this, this little process? Um, we see three big headaches when it comes to an in-house company, um, trying to handle lien rights by themselves, or maybe a growing business, approaching a new lien rights process. Um, and you can see them right in front of here in front of you a year. So sending notices across a lot of jobs can be a time consuming process. These are statutory documents. They’re not exactly quick emails to fire out. And so for a growing business or a business, like a supplier who might have a lot of different projects, it can be a hard task to just keep up with when and what to do much. That’s having the time to do it. When we do have the time though, a lot of times it’s difficult to figure out who a notice needs to go out to.

John Weirich (08:32):
This is where our scout research team and some of the Levelset data comes into play. We’ll take a look at that here in a minute, but, um, if you’re a supplier out there and you work with, uh, an equipment rental company, maybe oftentimes we just know the person we’re giving materials to or releasing equipment to, right. We may not know the property owner on the job, even the GC on the project, they didn’t want who our customer is. And a good lean rights process is going to get all that information on the front end so that we can send required or best practice documents. And finally keeping documents consistent. Um, Texas shout out to songwriter. Cindy’s just signed a new lien law last week. It doesn’t go into effect until 2022. So don’t panic, but it’s a great example of how changing laws and changing rules from state to state can make it really hard to make sure that we were doing the right thing time and time. Again, I don’t make it easier.

John Weirich (09:28):
Easiest way to streamline this process is to use a system like Levelset to have a tool, to have a process or a company that you’re working with to make sure that these things are done correctly, right? As an office manager, a credit professional, and AR specialist, or even a business owner in this industry, you’re oftentimes being asked to wear a lot of hats. We’re doing sales, project management, payroll collections, scheduling you name it. Um, people just like you use a tool like Levelset because it gives them the most efficient and most accurate way of, uh, tackling this problem here. Um, there’s some big highlights we’ll cover in just a moment, but being able to send notices with a few clicks instead of a few hours, always known what your expectations and statutory deadlines are, and being able to find paperwork or escalate collections when it matters is a key element of doing this, uh, doing this the, the best practice way.

John Weirich (10:20):
So let’s jump in here really quick. We’re going to take a look at the Levelset system to see some of this in action, but I’m going to take a moment to check our Q and a here. I mean, our chat married, Marie, can you hear us okay. I hope you got connected here. No questions yet again, I’m encouraging them. If we’ve covered anything that caught your attention, didn’t make sense, throw it on. And our Q and a section, otherwise let’s take a look at how companies are using Levelset or systems like Levelset here to, uh, to streamline this process. So you’re looking at the homepage here for a Levelset customer. We want to make it as simple as possible to jump in here, get your job done and get out because we know that that to-do list is not getting any shorter. Um, and so there’s some shortcuts that we set up right here, um, when it comes to a good, consistent lien rights management process, though, we tend to find that there are a couple of things to keep up with.

John Weirich (11:13):
Like we said, the deadlines that we have upcoming, the documents that we’re sending, who we’re working with, and then of course, an understanding of a specific project or some project details. So let’s take a look at how you would do that here in Levelset. Um, I know we had some California’s in Texas and some Florida, um, attendees here. So this should all look, hopefully a little bit familiar to you guys using a system like Levelset though, all of the state to state and deadlines, the requirements and confusion about what document needs to go out when is going to be eliminated. Our system takes care of calculating all of that for you, based on where you’re working, your role on the job and essentially the type of project. So you can see here, we’ve got a very good, easy view of the projects we need to manage here.

John Weirich (12:02):
We’re going to be shown, which of those are fully protected, which means we’ve got our lien rights in place. We’ll also see any jobs that are at risk or jobs that we’re missing some information on, but we also know that this view may not give us the full spectrum of everything we need to do need to know. So let’s take a look at this second one here. This is a example of a Florida project, but any job in the Levelset system is going to give this same, um, same kind of experience where we’re able to zoom in and take a closer look at what’s going on on the project and what actions we might need to take to secure the company’s lien rights or revenues. So take a look here. We’ve got a project where we were acting as a supplier to a sub on a commercial project and Florida.

John Weirich (12:48):
We mentioned a requirement for that earlier, but most folks in Florida who aren’t in contract with the property owner need to send a notice to owner when they start a job so that they have lien rights. And you can see exactly what it looks like to check on one of those notices here and the system. So we have got a quick copy of the document that will be sent out up and down the payments, or excuse me, up the payment chain to the recipients, like the subcontractor who hired us, the GC owner designee, which is a little Florida unique element. And then the property owner, which is almost always going to be a required recipient here. Um, I’m gonna back up here to our project page for just a moment and show you again, an example of being able to understand some upcoming deadlines or requirements without them being a, um, a fire that pops up.

John Weirich (13:36):
You can see here just based on what we know about the project, the Levelset system is going to inform us of what our lean deadline might be here. And when we can take some other appropriate actions to escalate things like a notice of intent to lien or filing that exact, uh, or excuse me, that worst case mechanic’s lien here. Um, we were looking at our notice here a moment ago, though. We talked about figuring out who we work with. I, I referenced our scout team a little bit earlier, and I want to click now over to where they live in the system, if you will. So from a very high level, our scout team is a group of about 40, 45 employees here in the U S now that do research and document preparation for our customers, right? So when subcontractor tells us, they need to notice the owner to go out and Florida, we take it for mayor and we make sure that it’s going out to the right people in the right places.

John Weirich (14:31):
Our users just have visibility there as needed. So we can take a quick look here at an example of a, uh, a document they are informing us of, Hey, you didn’t provide the, the, uh, the notice to owner on your preliminary notice here, excuse me, you didn’t provide the property owner’s name on your preliminary notice here. You also didn’t notice who the shirt of your bonding company was. We found that you’re working on this public job for the Dallas school district, and it seems like they’re financing things with this surety or bonding company. Again, it’s oftentimes not enough to send the notices or try to send the notices. And these states, if they don’t get out to all the right parties, like a surety, like an owner, like an owner designee, it’s sometimes make the, makes the rest of the effort, um, worthless, right? It can actually eliminate lien rights.

John Weirich (15:20):
So it’s important to get these documents out. It’s just as important to make sure that they’re going to the right people in the right places. And that’s where our scout team here comes in handy. Finally, anytime we talk about streamlining a lien rights process, for those of us in the house who have maybe been doing this a little bit longer and want to see about, um, automating or cutting out some repeat tasks that we know can happen with a large-scale notice or lean policy Levelset has what we call the queue here. So a lot of companies we work with, they make it a good habit to send preliminary notices on every job, over a thousand dollars or every residential job, three set companies don’t need to log in and repeatedly, repeatedly ordered that same document for the same types of projects. We can put some rules in here based on our customers, so that your actions like sending a prelim on jobs over a thousand dollars or sending a notice of intent to lead.

John Weirich (16:17):
Anytime an invoice gets to 75 days can happen in a little bit more of a hands free way. We know that you guys are busy. Like we said, the to-do list doesn’t get any shorter anywhere we can help to streamline. This is something that Levelset is interested in hearing about. So speaking of hearing from you guys are hearing from our customers, um, that is most of what we wanted to cover here in terms of one-on-ones, uh, of lien rights and how to streamline some of those processes using a software. Like Levelset, I promised to leave some time for questions. I’m gonna check the chat here. Um, and if anybody wants to, for something in the Q and a raise your hand, anything like that, more than happening, if there’s some things on the fly as well, I see, looks like we’re good on the Q and a, um, one that did pop up in my chat, it looks like is how exactly our scout team is finding some of that information.

John Weirich (17:21):
Um, very high level, our scout team is looking through five or six different databases. Um, if we were to get hypothetically 100 main street in downtown Dallas, we’re going to run that through our internal system to make sure we don’t already have customers working there. I mean, information we need, then we’re going to check a couple of different paid, um, data sources and some different partners in the construction industry, like Dodge data, um, and a couple others that are helping understand who is working, where, and who needs to receive these documents in terms of the required recipients. That’s usually going to be based off of the lien law. So our scout teams not decide who these things go to. They’re just finding all those necessary pieces, but good question. So something else come up here and then add chat a couple of thank you’s. Thank you guys for being here. Glad it was helpful. Um, Caroline, was there anything else on your end? Otherwise, I’ve got one final question that we can run through again, and we will get a, get our folks out of here a little bit extra time.

Speaker 2 (18:27):
Oh yeah. Someone chatted me. Um, if I use a new notice service in Florida, what’s the difference between that and level? Great

John Weirich (18:36):
Question. Um, so one thing we like to always be clear of is that set, um, is a little bit more than just a notice company. We also work across the country on every type of project in every state. Um, so a lot of times companies that might specialize in, uh, like notice the owners in Florida or 20 day pre leans in California, they’re really, really good at that document and that quick specialty. Um, but it’s not always the full solution and the full help that customers need for things like how to escalate a payment problem, or how to understand when payment is going to be a problem, or is a problem on a job, which is a big element of work. And we’re going to Levelset. But if anybody’s interested in cover that more detail, um, I should’ve mentioned earlier, feel free to jump on Levelset dot com.

John Weirich (19:22):
There’s probably half a dozen different ways you can request them info or request a call and get somebody in touch to, to answer some more specific questions. So I did not see anything else pop up here in our chat window. Um, so I’ll go ahead and put a bow on this. Thank you to everybody who did make it. Um, like I said, if you popped in a few minutes late, if you had some audio problems, we will be sending out a recording of this. So check the email that you registered with and feel free to forward along to anybody else that you’ve made. Think, um, this would be helpful for if you’ve got additional questions. If you want to see some of the different resources that Levelset provides, other than just lien notices, things like credit reports, payment, history, um, job monitoring, please jump on Levelset dot com request some info. We’re more than happy to, uh, set up a quick call and see what we can do to help. But other than that, hope to see the next webinar. And thank you guys all for being here.