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
– 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
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
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
– 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
– 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.
For a more in depth look at NetCSA’s
services, click here.
View a few of our selected testimonials,