I’ve run into a number of contractors and especially subcontractors who are very focused on their construction projects but fail to collect their bills.
This is important, that is if you like to make money for the work you’ve performed.
Some key things to keep in mind on every project. This will help me collect for you and also keep your attorney fees reduced.
1) Send an Purchase Order to the property owner on every job before you start working. Ideally you’d get them to sign the p.o. and send it back. Keep a record of this P.O.
2) Date you first performed work or delivered materials to the property—keep a record of this in your file on this construction project/contractor/owner
3) Date you last performed work or delivered materials to the property—again keep this in the file
4) How much you are owed?
5) Tickle on your calendar 30 days after you last worked on the premises. If not paid, send 2nd Notice Invoice. Mark that on the invoice. Call the owner/contractor.
6) By the time you’ve hit the 90 day mark on the last date you performed services/delivered material, it’s time to bring an attorney to collect.
7) RULE: Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers have 120 days from the date they last perform service / materials to file a claim of lien in the County where the property is located. This attaches your claim to the property. General rule: contractor can’t sell the house without paying your claim. *different rules apply when contractor is doing construction for a different property owner.
8) RULE: Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers have 180 days from the date they last perform service / materials to file a lawsuit to maintain the claim of lien and it’s attachment to the property. You’ve got to take the claim and lawsuit to judgment.
Stay on the collection side of the case. Nice guys get left holding the bag. Squeaky wheels get paid. When you start hearing stories that don’t add up, don’t wait, go ahead and hire an attorney to get the claim of lien & collection lawsuit moving.
*Laws change. This is discussing North Carolina laws in effect as of 2/14/12. This is only discussing property where you contracted directly with the owner.