How to Streamline Your Texas Monthly Notice Process So You Always Get Paid
Protecting your lien rights as a subcontractor or supplier in Texas is no joke. Between multiple monthly notice deadlines and confusing lien rights requirements, it’s no wonder that slow payment is the norm in this industry.
But, things are changing!
In this webinar we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make sure your payments are protected on every job and how you can use lien rights software to make the process super easy so you never miss a Texas monthly notice deadline.
Hear from payment expert John Weirich and Wendy Hilton, the Contract Administrator at Concrete Related Products, as they share what it looks like to protect your payments on Texas jobs…the easy way.
- How to make sure you get paid on jobs in Texas
- How you can use software to streamline the monthly notice and lien rights management process
- Examples of how businesses in Texas have eliminated payment problems (and how you can, too!)
John Weirich: (00:27)
Thank you for being here. My name is John [inaudible]. I’m the sales enablement manager here at level set. If you’re here today, I’m going to assume it’s for one of two reasons you have either had some recent headaches with construction payment in Texas and are looking for a way to manage lien rights, or you’ve been doing the, uh, the lovely song and dance, trying to manage Texas monthly notices and all the complications that come with them and house. Um, today we are going to cover not just the basics of what Texas monthly notices are, but how companies, just like you guys are partnered with level set to make this process less of a headache. And speaking to some of those people here, we’ve actually got a guest that I wanted to introduce on named Wendy Helton. Wendy is actually a Levelset customer. She works for a, for a company here out of Texas that has been working with us for a little while to manage a monthly notice process. When do you mind taking just a minute here to tell us about yourself and, uh, and who you’re working with?
Wendy Hilton: (03:10)
Yeah, absolutely. So I work for a company called concrete related products here in Cleveland, Texas. We are a rebar supplier, so we work for subs. Uh, we have been with Levelset now for one year and, uh, just basically we got our payments down from 108 days to 50. It’s pretty awesome.
John Weirich: (03:33)
Love to hear it. Thank you, Wendy. Awesome. One other note, before we get going, guys, we will be recording this session here today and you will get a, a recording of this. So if you’ve got anybody who in the office, who’s also going to want to attend, or if we say anything that you’re wanting to go back over here, everybody will have access to this live webinar. So let’s talk a little bit really quick about who we are at Levelset excuse me, in case this is your first interaction with Levelset. We are a company founded by a construction attorney, headquartered out of new Orleans with offices in Austin as well. And, uh, our entire business is designed to help companies like Wendy’s and companies like yours to get paid more, fairly and more efficiently on their jobs. We help people do that with everything from payment profiles, for general contractors in the industry to our cloud-based software that helps companies manage lien rights and ensure fair payment.
John Weirich: (04:27)
We’ll cover that here in a little bit of detail down the road. But before we do that, let’s take a look at the agenda here. So you all came to hear about the joys of Texas lien law. We’re going to cover those first by going over the monthly notice requirements. After that, we’ll talk about a little bit of a best practice on speeding up payment. In addition to covering lien rights and taxes, talk about how companies can use devices like Levelset or services like Levelset to streamline that process. And we will have a quick Q and a with Wendy here, uh, at the end reminder for anybody that didn’t hear me the first time through. If you have questions yourself, while we’re going through today’s webinar, please use the Q and a function at the bottom of your screen. Um, my colleague Cameron is going to be keeping her eye on that. So if you want to ask more about something, we got a place for you.
John Weirich: (05:16)
Perfect. Let’s get started with the Texas monthly notice requirements here. Um, as many of you guys are aware, the lien notices and lien rights in Texas are specifically complicated for a couple of reasons. Okay. Monthly notices are a document though overall that are required for subcontractors and suppliers to send, to reflect that they are unpaid on a job and that they’re interested in securing their lien rights. In case of further nonpayment, a really easy example of this guys is that if I send an invoice for work, I did in January and the state of Texas, I’m going to have to make sure later that year to send a monthly notice if I ever want to file a lien for that unpaid work now where Texas gets especially complicated is that they like to make that deadline requirement based on a few different characteristics, like the type of work that we’re doing.
John Weirich: (06:15)
And in addition to that, they’re making, uh, excuse me, Texas makes companies send monthly notices sometimes more than once per project. Now back to the project type difference. What we mean there is that a company who is supplying materials to a commercial project or residential project where they supply labor or supply materials over the same time period, will have completely different requirements for when their monthly notices are due and potentially even who they have to send the monthly notices to. You can see here in front of you, the notices are usually going to go to a general contractor and a property owner, but if somebody were selling supplies to a sub, maybe renting equipment, it would be best practice to also make sure to loop in that sub contractor, that general contractor and that property owner, um, and months where the 15th falls on a holiday or a weekend, Texas doesn’t do us any favors and give us more time to protect our lien rights. This month, actually February, 2021 is a great example for companies that need to protect lien rights. This month, those notices are due on the third. I can do a math here quickly, 12th this Friday, because the 15th is president’s day, which is a day that the post offices aren’t open. And so everybody’s got to make sure to get their notices here, done extra early in February of this year.
Speaker 2: (07:40)
John Weirich: (07:46)
Taking additional steps, uh, after a monthly notice and the state of Texas one really helpful document that companies can also use. It’s called a notice of intent to lien. Um, for any of you who are unfamiliar with a notice of intent to lien, does is it sends essentially a warning shot to any other participants on a party to let them know that a company is looking at filing a lien and it’s serious about getting payment. For example, if a company in Texas were to send a monthly notice and not receive an answer before filing a lien, the next month, many of them would want to send a notice of intent again, to just let people know that you were looking into the final lien process, that warning shot doesn’t get an answer. Of course, best practice after sending our monthly notices is to ensure that we file a lien on time.
John Weirich: (08:35)
Now in Texas, just like the monthly notices differ in their timeline, our lien deadlines can differ as well, depending on whether or not we’re doing a public job, a commercial job or a residential project for many people like Wendy, that means tracking different deadlines and project, um, project specific on spreadsheets or in accounting softwares, or even on an outlook calendar. I, what we’re going to take a look at here in a moment though, folks is how a company like that can manage those deadlines and manage those requirements a little bit more cleanly here, uh, using a tool like level set before we do that. Wendy, I know that one, uh, one thing that level set really likes to help you out with is finding project information for your monthly notices, uh, things like who the owner might be or a specific job related info. Can you give me any recent examples where you’ve been able to work with our, uh, our scout research team for something like that?
Wendy Hilton: (09:33)
Yeah, absolutely. So to me the most, um, beneficial part of the scout research, they are always able to find addresses when I can’t. Um, I know it sounds weird, but sometimes we get awarded a project and we don’t get an address where to ship it to. Um, but I have to put it in my system and get it all set up and they’re always there before I can get the information telling me, Hey, this is the address we found. Do you agree or not agree? It at least gives me a starting point. So majorly helpful. So majorly helpful. I’ve also noticed a lot of our, uh, information sheets, the customer’s conveniently leave off bond information and, um, owner information and they always find it.
John Weirich: (10:21)
I’m sure it’s always an innocent mistake, right? Yeah. Just a little bit, just a little bit of oversight. Exactly. Thank you. And that brings up some good points here. Um, in addition everybody to these Texas monthly notices needing to meet a certain deadline, um, just like any other lien related documents, I’ll go back a slide here for this. Um, it’s important that these documents always go out to the right people with the right information, Texas doesn’t give any, uh, any participation trophies when it comes to making a good effort at sending these documents. And so being able to use that scout team like Wendy said, and the research Levelset provides makes it a lot easier to ensure that we’re sending this paperwork to the right people in the right places. So I appreciate that. Let’s take a look here quickly then at how to streamline this process. Um, I’m going to jump if you will bear with me for just a moment into our system here and we will be right back at it. Here we go. When you, can you give me a thumbs up once you guys can see my screen again?
Wendy Hilton: (11:24)
I don’t know how to do the thumbs up, so there you go.
John Weirich: (11:26)
Oh, no, you can. There we go. That’s exactly what I meant. Thank you. Thank you. Well, uh, for everybody else, that’s here, uh, welcome to the level set system. I know Wendy’s had a chance to see this before. Like I said, guys, in addition to, um, publishing a lot of free webinars like this and resources around construction payment, what level set does is offers a tool to make this process as efficient as possible. I want to take you guys, um, very quickly to what a project and level setting looks like. And we can see some of the deadlines are put right in front of you to make this less of a, less of a mystery. So I ended up project here, um, before we all jumped on the web here together. And all I did was set up a job where I was a subcontractor on a residential project in Austin.
John Weirich: (12:11)
Um, once you’ll see here on a project in level set is an immediate notification of actions to take, to protect my business. Okay. And so at the start of a job like this, that means a few different things. Uh, the first one is a notice to protect against retainage and make sure that we’re asking for key information, like if there’s a lender or a potential bond on the project, but more importantly, it’s also going to let us know that that January invoice we’re waiting on is coming up when it’s required monthly notice deadline, you can see that, uh, from, excuse me, the December, the December invoice, you can see that right here from our 2020 invoicing information that we put into the system, because I’m unpaid on work. I did in December, Texas says I got to send my monthly notice by February 12th, or I may not be able to file a lien for that amount of money.
John Weirich: (13:01)
I here’s, what level set makes it really easy. All Wendy or anybody else has to do is click this button and follow a few more prompts to make sure that they’re meeting this requirement and securing the lien rights they need for the business. I’m going to jump ahead here and show you an example of that research. This is a project that the level set system is identified as owned by 1303 properties based out of Austin, Texas. So before Wendy or myself have even had to order the document, I’ve got a clue of who the owner is that I’m going to be sending this document to. I can click right through here to make sure it looks good. And now I’ve secured $11,000 worth of lien rights for my sub contracting business in Texas. Um, Wendy, I know, like I said, you’ve had a chance to walk through this a few times. Is there anything I left out that you specifically look for when you’re ordering a notice or that you’d like to highlight?
Wendy Hilton: (13:55)
Um, well, one thing I will say is, um, just cause it’s in your queue or on your dashboard, um, Levelset always goes off of what’s in QuickBooks, but if the document was created, say two days before the customer actually paid, you may have to go in there and remove that notice. And if you get click happy, you can just click right through those and send it anyway. But the good thing about that, even if you make a mistake, they have a retraction button and a, you can always send a retraction and with the little notes and why you made the mistake Levelset is very forgiving and it doesn’t let you make many mistakes.
John Weirich: (14:36)
That’s a, uh, that’s a great reminder. Yeah, you can see right here, let’s say a check comes in the door on Thursday afternoon and we need to remove this lien. Notice this monthly notice we can come in here and cancel that order, um, because we want to be careful in the customer relationship, for example, right? No point in sending a lien notice when we already have a chat, one other area I did want to want to show everybody here that makes this even more efficient is our monthly notice queue as Wendy called it just a moment ago. Uh, we know that for a large, uh, larger contract or largest supplier who might have multiple jobs, nobody wants to go have to jump from project to project or QuickBooks job, QuickBooks job to see what’s required of me right now. So using this queue function, a company, uh Wendy’s or anybody else in Texas can actually log in leading up to the 15th of each month and just have an exact notification of the documents that they need to send in this calendar month to ensure they’re protecting their lien rights and secure that revenue.
John Weirich: (15:36)
So when do you, uh, you mentioned it yourself here, ability to come in here and just say, yep, we want to approve this document, or maybe we’ve received payment. No need to go ahead and fire this off and we would cancel an order there. So, um, thank you. Yeah, Wendy, that’s a, that’s a good jump or excuse me, that’s a good reference here. I want to pop back into our, um, our project for just a moment though, and mentioned something in Texas that is specifically valuable. Um, I mentioned earlier that level set is founded by a construction attorney and it is our goal to make sure that access to resources that internally can provide or accessible as possible in Texas. That actually means is that you guys can consult construction attorneys, three level set and receive discounts on litigation or legal matters that you have to take up, uh, with a construction attorney. So you can see we’ve got, uh, the ability to start a conversation right here from a project. Um, and depending on your, your, your level set account, you also, like I said, can have an assigned attorney just to help you navigate some of the more complicated questions or issues that you might run into outside of the system here. So again, a lot of different ways we can,
Wendy Hilton: (16:45)
I, I just used this for the first time, the other day, matter of fact, um, because we had a project outside of Texas and I wasn’t sure what the rights were, what my lien rights were for that state. Um, so I went in and asked, uh, the question within 10 minutes, I had a reply and within 30 minutes it was all fixed. I understood everything there was that I needed to know and how to stay protected. So that is very hard.
John Weirich: (17:15)
Hey, I’ve got a question for you now that we’re firing them back and forth. Wendy, do you ever use the, um, the monitor, this project, email function is, are you familiar with this so that if a deadline’s coming up, you can get an extra email or if somebody else has to send a monthly notice or deal with slow payment, you can get a heads up about it.
Wendy Hilton: (17:34)
Yes. Those act like whenever we very first set this up, I didn’t realize that I clicked those, but I do get, yeah.
John Weirich: (17:42)
Yep. That was a, that was one. I know people like here, you know, when monthly notices go out on a project in Texas, it usually that there could be trouble right around the corner. And so, yeah, you can subscribe here to know if somebody else is dealing with slow payment or nonpayment on a project where you’re also working. So appreciate it, Wendy. Let’s, uh, let’s jump back in for just a moment. We have got, excuse me, we’ve got some Q and a time for windy here. Um, when you, we talked about a couple of different ways that that level set has helped out connecting with QuickBooks, taking a research arm off your plate, making sure that these deadlines are understandable, but, um, you mentioned something when we were talking earlier about just kind of the adjustment period that you personally had when you, you know, started handling monthly notices and partner with Levelset. Could you fill, uh, fill the rest of the group in here on some of that?
Wendy Hilton: (18:33)
Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so I had been with my company about five years and I worked in estimating, so I had zero AR experience. Uh, but then we lost our AR lady. So I quickly had to learn. Um, but while I was posting payments and doing just the basic AR stuff, I didn’t know, lean notices, weren’t going out and art, nothing was protected. Um, I happen, I knew that they needed to be going out, but I had no idea how to do it. No idea where to even start where to get the paper for it. I can pretty much just mail it. That’s about it. So, um, Jim would, Levelset had happened to have called a time or two. And finally I just was like, you know what, tell me, tell me why I need this. And he was like late notices, perked my ears up. Um, so we got, I think, uh, I think we started out with just a trial to see what they did and they run over four projects for me and showed me exactly how it would work and, um, exactly what, how simple it would be. Um, which is good because we didn’t have anybody doing AR for three whole months. So no, none of our stuff was protected. We went from 108 days, average days to pay, uh, to now we’re at 50 and our goal was 60. So
John Weirich: (19:58)
Overachievement is always nice. That’s, uh, that’s really helpful. You, you mentioned that you, I guess use QuickBooks now or have been using QuickBooks in the past. Do you mind telling me though? I know some people get a little concerned with trying to bring a new software into the office. How was that maybe adoption period for you and your team getting up and running from your internal process to using a tool like level set?
Wendy Hilton: (20:21)
Well, Levelset kind of does everything for you. All I have to do is know how to run my QuickBooks. Um, as long as everything is up to date and current in QuickBooks, Levelset kind of pulls everything over for you adds it to, um, your queue, I guess, if you will and start saying, Hey, we need this information and this information. Um, so really it’s, it’s hands-off, you don’t have to do anything as long as your QuickBooks is up to date and running and accurate. You don’t have to know another software.
John Weirich: (20:59)
That’s awesome. And maybe for, uh, for some of the newer folks here in the room, if you were to give a word of advice to windy of the past, to somebody who was juggling monthly notices without using a tool like level set, what would you, what would you give as a tip or a trick to make that a little less of a daunting task?
Wendy Hilton: (21:19)
Well, I really didn’t know how simple it really was going to be. Um, I thought, okay, I’m going to have to go in here and I’m gonna have to read every single amount I have to read through all this and make sure everything is in there that I need to be in there. Uh, but day one, just in my tutorials with Jim at level set, literally as long as the information is in QuickBooks, it’s as simple as he was doing. You click a button, approve, read, make sure your numbers match. Yep. Good. It it’s. It does it for you. Let someone else do the work. Why not?
John Weirich: (21:58)
There you go. Awesome. Well, thank you any, uh, what do you, I appreciate your input and all the, uh, the questions and responses here so far. I wanted to open up, uh, to the audience for some of the time we have left, though. If you’ve got questions about level set, questions about Texas monthly notices, um, or lien law, please feel free to use the chat, the Q and a function here that we talked about. Um, welcome to direct questions towards me or towards Wendy. Um, thank you guys again, again for being here so far, I’m going to take a look over at the chat function. Cameron, I think you’ve been keeping an eye on it and anything that’s come through here so far.
John Weirich: (22:36)
It’s like no questions. Anyone would like to raise their hand. We can turn on your mic and let you ask a question. If you’d rather do that than talking Tim, Tim’s had his hand up for a moment and I wasn’t sure if it was just stuck there if he had an urgent question, but yeah, anybody’s welcome to, uh, to raise a hand here. We can take you off mute and let you chime in there. All right. Um, in that case, I’m going to go ahead and get this wrapped up. Um, again, thank you to everybody who did come through. Um, we are going to be distributing a recording of this. If you have questions, if you have some invoices from, Oh, there we go. Now we got a question. Let’s see what it is. Latasha wants to know something I’m going to, I’m going to finish that thought real quick. We’ll talk to them. We’ll come to your question, but if you’ve got any December, January, uh, or excuse me, November, December, January, invoices, and questions about this, week’s upcoming monthly notice deadline. Please feel free to jump on the website. There’s a get a call option. Um, if you do, and there’s also the expert center that Wendy mentioned. If you’ve got some more specific legal questions here, Latasha, you like me to take you off mute and you can maybe, uh, jump in with your question. Not have to worry about typing it.
John Weirich: (24:01)
Let’s see when I lost her. Oh, what’s the price. That’s a really easy one. Thank you, Latasha. So their price depends a little bit Olin. What exactly you guys need? We work with mom and pop shops and we work with fortune 100 suppliers and equipment rental companies in Texas. Um, great example of something. We can get you on the phone with to talk a little bit more Latasha, but for most companies, about 95% of the companies that work with Levelset, they’re spending anywhere between four and $10,000 a year to cover as many, as many projects, as many of their lien, right? Excuse me, lien notices as they need to. Every year.
Wendy Hilton: (24:46)
I want to add to that too. We were about 7,000, I think, a year, roughly. Um, and it was a hard sell at first to my boss, cause we’re a very small company. Um, there’s 13 of us here. Uh, but if you need the help, I would highly, highly recommend talking to your boss and that the money really is the best money. I think we’ve spent as a company. Um, it really does save us. You have three Latasha. I got you.
John Weirich: (25:22)
Yeah, no, no. Well, and I was going to say, regardless of the size of the business, you know, jump on our website, we’ve got a lot of free resources, guide books, um, deadline tracking charts that you can, you know, you can print off and help yourself out with. So if you’re not in a position to need the, uh, you know, need the full suite, we want to make sure that you guys are still set up for success. Um, so reach out more than happy to get you guys some resources or, or any other, just information that we’ve got here to help, help with the process. Latasha. Awesome. Well, again, going to get a recording to everybody. If you’ve got urgent questions, please jump on Levelset.com and reach out here. We’d be more than happy to help Wendy. Thank you so much for co-piloting this with me. Um, good luck with the rest of your week and the rest of March in general. And, uh, again, thank you. Y’all have a good rest of Tuesday.
Wendy Hilton: (26:11)
Thank you. Have a good day.