• Articles
• Company Liens
• Job Completions
• Bulletin
• 2017 Contractors Lien Review

• Preliminary 20-Day Notice
• Notice of Completion Tracked for 1 Month
• Intent to Lien
• Intent to Stop
• Mechanics Lien
• Release Mechanics Lien
• Stop Notice
• Release Stop Notice
• Collection Letters


Research // Articles
Get paid, every time.

A step-by-step guide to guarantee fast and easy payment while greatly enhancing your client relationships.

Brought to you by:
California Subcontractors Association

Article index:

  • Best practices – How to get paid quickly and consistently
  • ResearchYou are only as strong as your information
  • Bidding Crucial preparation
  • Awarded bidcongratulations, now read the fine print
  • Standard practice essential steps
  • Problems and their resolutionsConsistency is key
  • NetCSA Get paid, every time
  • Additional resources
    Best practices – how to get paid quickly and consistently:

    For nearly 20 years the California Subcontractors Association has protected the rights of hundreds of subcontractors. The definitive source in California’s subcontractor industry, CSA provides the most current and up to date contractor credit worthiness database available. With industry proven best practices thousands of clients have benefited for our services.

    Research – You are only as strong as your information:

    First and foremost, research the general contractor and owner. The most important step in any process is to know exactly what you are getting into. Checking the lien history of a potential client reveals a tremendous amount of information that pertains directly to you.

    Does a potential client have a track record of slow or withheld payment?
    With the quick glance of a NetCSA lien-reporting graph you can quickly determine how to structure the payment requirements of your bid or even choose to avoid a troubled project all together.

    Having this kind of client visibility is priceless in the industry. It will keep you making informed decisions and bidding properly on projects that will pay.

    Remember, you are only as strong as your information.

    Bidding – Crucial preparation:

    After you have gathered all the available information regarding your next project you must properly prepare your bid. It is essential to distinguish yourself from your competition both in terms of reliability and professionalism.

    Foremost, always put your bid in writing and be explicit with your language. This is the foundation for which all legal protection is based and must be crystal clear in scope.

    Always use risk pricing and include an itemized figure for the cost of slow payment to the bottom of each bid. This step alone has a dramatic effect on how your bid is viewed and both demonstrate your professionalism and contingency planning.

    Awarded bid – congratulations, now read the fine print:

    An unlikely source of great legal pain as an improperly drawn up contract. Make sure you read the proposed contract completely. If any areas are ambiguous or unclear to you, ask for further clarification. It is completely your right (and should be your practice) to actively make changes to unfair, misrepresented, or unclear contracts. If the contract does not make every aspect of the job crystal clear, it is not serving its purpose. Make changes, add addendums, and refine the language until it properly depicts the project at hand. Do not sign an unfair or incomplete contract.

    Commit to putting every communication in writing. In addition to exemplifying your desires to maintain a truly professional relationship this step will demonstrate your emphasis on clarity. This will eliminate any confusion down the road, which could potentially cause delayed or withheld payment.

    Immediately setup a contract file.

    Standard practice – essential steps:

    As a part of your standard practice, determine and issue a Preliminary 20-Day Notice as soon as possible. Contractors determine the billing ‘priority’ of sub’s very early on- it is essential to let them know your intentions if you are not paid promptly.

    Monitor every job for Notice Of Completion’s. A notice of completion will drastically limit your ability to effect a mechanics lien and eliminates your ability to protect your investment. If you are awaiting a lagging payment and are alerted to a Notice Of Completion it is highly advisable to take action immediately.

    Always make sure to get your billing out on time. In addition to aiding your rock solid consistency, this will eliminate any possibility of blame for a lagging payment being attributed to you.

    Always include a conditional release of the work with your bill.

    Call within 3 days to make sure the bill has indeed been received, is correct, and has been approved. If there are any errors, inconsistencies, or misunderstandings with your invoice, deal with it immediately. Once all corrections have been rectified, issue the corrected invoice and re do the release immediately.

    Problems and their resolutions – Consistency is key:

    With any client interaction you have to be consistent in your terms and escalation procedures. Many subcontractors often falsely fear a resulting stigma by using their state mandated lien rights.

    Statistically, subcontractors that adhere to this process as they’re standardized billing method and actively protect their ‘right to get paid’ get paid more often and in shorter intervals than subs that do not.

    If you encounter any unreasonable payment delays always make sure to first closely review your contract for payment terms.

    Notify, in writing, the contractor of the unpaid bill in accordance of your contract as soon as possible.

    Continue to monitor for a Notice Of Completion to guarantee your lien rights.

    Select a proven and effective collection letter. Clearly state your intentions to record a Mechanics Lien and/or Stop Notice to insure your payment. Send the letter as soon as possible, and always demand a return receipt.

    If your lien period is about to expire, or a notice of completion has been filed, and you have not been paid in full, immediately record a Mechanics Lien and / or a Stop Notice.

    NetCSA – Get paid, every time:

    In 1986, the California Subcontractors Association stated its mission:
    "To assist contractors in collecting the money rightfully theirs for work done."

    Over the years we have succeeded by providing personalized customer service, lien-law education, document preparation, attorney support, and up-to-date research.

    Located in Santa Clara at the hub of the busy Bay Area construction region, CSA has collected valuable information and operates a database with 15 years of data on Mechanic's Liens in the Bay Area.

    We are continually searching for new and innovative services to provide contractors through CSA. We are only as strong as the sum of our members and actively seek your input. If you have any ideas or would like to see services available, please contact us directly.

    Additional resources:

  • For a more in depth look at NetCSA’s services, click here.
  • View a few of our selected testimonials, click here.
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ), click here.
  • Additional help pages are available, click here.