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Still Using “Angry Phone Calls” or “Prayer” to Get Paid? See the Top 11 Wrong Ways to Manage Lien Rights.

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We talk to construction industry professionals every single day here at zlien, and one of the first questions we ask them is, “how are you managing your lien rights now?”

Below, we’ve listed the top 11 responses that we’ve heard over the years. Some of these answers made us laugh out loud, while others left us speechless. But one thing that all of these answers had in common is that in each case, there’s a better way to get it done.

Please read on to see our list.

Our Top 11 Responses to the Question:
“How Are You Handling Lien Rights Now?”


“Firm handshake”

~ Georgia-based residential contractor / subcontractor, with projects in 4 southeastern states

A wing and a prayer – or in the case of this residential contractor, a “firm handshake” – isn’t going to cut it when trying to protect your lien rights.



~ Environmental remediation contractor in Washington

It’s hard to find humor in lien rights management, but this Washington-based contractor had a very dry and hilarious way with words that cracked us up at zlien headquarters.


“Angry phone calls”

~ Plumbing subcontractor in Oregon

It’s easy to understand the frustration when a customer is slow-paying on a project, or even worse, not making payments at all. While it would be nice if a payment issue could be resolved over the phone, we all know that a call is rarely enough, no matter how angry your tone of voice. Lien rights are exactly that – a right, granted by law, and available to the construction industry. Angry phone calls aren’t the answer, but exercising your legal rights often is.



~ Electrical subcontractor

We hope this electrical subcontractor was joking, but all kidding aside, “threats” are no way to resolve a payment issue on a construction project. Instead, try a Notice of Intent to Lien (NOI), which is similar to a threat letter, but much more effective. An NOI informs the recipient of the sender’s intention to file a lien if payment is not made promptly. More than a “toothless” demand letter, an NOI is a powerful document that really works.


“Our best guess”

~ Paving and concrete subcontractor, East Coast.

This somewhat tongue-in-cheek response truly captured a paving subcontractor’s lien rights process before he began using zlien. Managing lien rights can be challenging enough for companies that do all of their work in a single state. But for companies that operate in multiple states, keeping track of all the different requirements and deadlines can be next to impossible. zlien is a true 50-state solution that works for any project stakeholder that wants to manage their lien rights on any type of project. Take the guesswork out of your lien rights management. It’s too important to be left to chance.


“We just moved offices, and now the post office is really far away”

~ California-based concrete subcontractor

What can we say – folks in the construction industry are just naturally funny! This concrete subcontractor’s office in southern California had been located directly next door to the post office. The manual lien rights process they used before they started using zlien was very time-consuming, but at least they only had to walk next door to send out their notices and waivers. When they relocated to a different part of town, that longer trip to the post office was enough to derail their lien rights management. Handling the entire process online with zlien makes it easy to protect all your projects and send all your notices & waivers quickly and efficiently, eliminating trips to the post office to send notices and waivers. Just think of all the more productive, valuable things you can do with all the time you’ll save!


“Sent it to collections”

~ Midwestern demolition subcontractor

What do you do when you have a customer that won’t pay? The answer in most industries is, of course, “send it to collections.” But if you take that route, you’re likely to only get pennies on the dollar (or worse), and there’s no telling how long the process will take. Fortunately, that’s not the case for the construction industry, which is lucky enough to have a lien right protections. However, not enough construction companies take advantage of this powerful, legal right that’s available to them. The construction business is challenging enough without having to deal with payment issues. Protect your payments by exercising your rights!


“Sent it to an attorney”

~ Excavation subcontractor in Florida

Because lien rights are legal protections created  by state law, there’s a fairly common misperception in the industry that the only way to manage lien rights is to call an attorney. This is not the case. The zlien platform can handle any project, anywhere, with 100% legal compliance. Perhaps even more importantly, our monthly subscription fees are considerably less expensive than a typical attorney’s fees. Lawyers do have important roles to play in the construction industry, but lien rights management isn’t one of them, thanks to zlien.


“We used another lien rights provider”

Simply put, zlien is the best-in-class solution provider for lien rights management in the construction industry. When we show our platform to a company that has been using another lien and notice provider, we win them over because our platform is more powerful, less expensive, and an all-around better product. And if you have just 10 or 15 minutes, we’d love to show you ourselves.



Many of our customers that fall into the “in-house category” simply realize that lien rights management is better left to the experts like zlien, and they could be doing far more valuable work with all of the time spent trying to navigate complex lien laws. For companies lucky enough to be growing, it often doesn’t take long for the increased project volume to overwhelm the manual lien rights process that had been in place. Not only that, but companies that are growing will often end up working on projects with new customers and partners they’ve never worked with before. This creates a situation that is inherently riskier, since the payment history or financial stability of these new parties might not be fully known. Effective lien rights management is one of the best ways that companies can be more confident to work with potentially risky customers.

…and the #1 response

“I wasn’t”

Every day we talk to construction companies that don’t manage lien rights at all. Some of these companies just didn’t know that lien rights protections exist. Other companies may have known about lien rights, but weren’t managing theirs because they were overwhelmed by the complexity of the lien rights process. The fact of the matter is, lien rights are very complex, and so it’s easy to understand how people might be mistaken about whether their company has lien rights, or how to leverage those rights. If you’re one of these people, check out our encyclopedic collection of free resources on the zlien website.

We also speak to companies that see the value of lien rights, but are wary of sending notices for fear of damaging customer relationships. We tell them that notices are actually sent for the benefit of the recipient! Sending notices is a proactive way to let the recipients know that you’re participating on the project and is much more of a good-will gesture than an adversarial one.

At the end of the day, many of our customers find us because they’re having a payment problem on a project right now. While we can often help solve that immediate problem, the real value zlien provides is preventing those payment problems from occurring in the first place, and not to come in after the fact to try to help clean up a mess that’s already been made. Lien rights management isn’t just about filing liens. It’s about securing your payments, eliminating risk, and getting paid.

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Still Using "Angry Phone Calls" or "Prayer" to Get Paid? See the Top 11 Wrong Ways to Manage Lien Rights.
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Still Using "Angry Phone Calls" or "Prayer" to Get Paid? See the Top 11 Wrong Ways to Manage Lien Rights.
When you ask construction companies how they are managing their lien rights now you get a lot of interesting answers | The top 11 responses we have heard
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Last Updated on Nov 27, 2017
Published on Nov 24, 2017


Peter is zlien's Content Manager. He works to create useful content that makes the mechanics lien and construction payment process simple, easy, and fair for everyone in the construction industry.

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