When it comes to sending preliminary notices, outsourcing the work is the smart choice for your company. This post explains why.
Every Second And Dime You Spend On Software Is A Waste
Software is out. It’s gone. It’s dead. There’s a good reason for that, too, and I think our caption to the above photograph really sums it up.
You’re in the construction business, not the computer and software business. Software must be updated, it costs money, it takes infrastructure and tech support, it requires training, it crashes, it contains so many features that it’s hard to keep tract, it’s built for a general need and not your specific need, and the list goes on and on and on…
I was inspired to write this post in late June, when a competitor offering preliminary notice service (Tradition Software) published an update on its blog:
PreLien2Lien v. 16.07.01 will be available for download from this website on Friday, June 29th. This new version will do a find/replace to update the CALIFORNIA notices for the software. TRADITION SOFTWARE’s Customer Service Department will be calling customers who have custom templates for CALIFORINA to help install any templates that need chanages for the new laws. [misspelling in the original ]
Who wants to take time, energy and expertise to update all of their computers with this software update? What is it, version 16.07.01. Geesh. How many versions are there?
I wonder if they update their software every time there is a new California case update – which happens often.
Do you know how much folks spend on this software for the pleasure of doing these manual updates? A lot (up to $700 per user), and there’s an annual subscription fee as well (up to $300 per year).
Software Leaves You To Do Everything – And There Is A Lot To Do
Let me give you a list of things your staff must do when sending every single notice:
- Determine if the project is a state, federal, commercial or residential project
- Find the property owner (the actual one)
- Find the lender (in many states, see a how-to find the lender here)
- Fill out the form or input the data into software (check out how many ridiculous fields there are when inputting your data into Tradition Notice’s PreLien2Lien software)
- Print the forms, envelopes, envelope labels
- Apply postage to your envelopes, and prepare certified mail slips
- Prepare a declaration of delivery and sign it
- Save everything someplace
- Track the mailings, and if any come back, re-mail it by doing #s 4-8 again
Forgetting or doing any one of these things wrong could be fatal to your mechanics lien rights.
Outsourcing Your Notices Is Cheaper Than Sending Them Yourself
I know it feels like you’re saving money by sending preliminary notices in-house, but you are absolutely not. Absolutely not.
Let’s think about the true costs of sending preliminary notices yourself.
The Costs In Money
First consider the real nuts and bolts spending. Since California is a big state and has a common preliminary notice framework, we’ll consider this state for cost estimating.
- Postage for 3 Mailings, Certified Mail (owner, lender, prime): $18
- Envelopes, Labels, Paper, Ink: $0.70
- Labor Paid To Your Employee, based on 15 minutes per project and a $45,000/yr salary: $5.63
- The Software cost, as determined by dividing the number of projects you send notices out on each year by the cost paid for the software and support each year (Example of 240 projects per year and $1000 per year: $4.17)
Total in Money: $27.87 per project.
By the way, Zlien sends and manages your preliminary notices for $27 per project. Depending on your volume, it can be as little as $21 per project.
The Negative Costs To Your Company
The cost in money is high, but you’re going to be floored when you think about all the costs in time and productivity for your staff.
The employees completing and sending these forms, and researching each project’s property owner and lender, could be doing better things with their time. Things that make you money. Talking with clients, checking on projects, responding to emails that could get a punch list item done before the end of the today instead of tomorrow. The list, as you know, goes on and on.
How much money are you losing by taking that precious time and spending it on sending your own preliminary notices, at the above build-in expenses?
You’re Going To Mess Up. Really.
If you’ve sent preliminary notices on your own for years and never ran into a problem, you’re lulling yourself into a false sense of security. That’s because I guarantee you’ve made fatal mistakes on your preliminary notices at some point, but just don’t realize it because you got lucky, and the project was paid.
Those sending their own preliminary notices make mistakes all the time. It’s expected and understandable. It’s not your job. It’s not your top priority.
Consider this recent article I’ve written about a mistake almost everyone makes when sending preliminary notices. This is just one of many.
When you use a service to send your preliminary notices, you’re getting a company completely focused on making sure your notices are right, every time.
Plus, Outsourcing Interfaces Can Be Beautiful
Last, but certainly not least, you can have access to a beautiful preliminary notice management interface when you outsource with Zlien. Your interface need not be clunky, non-functional, or a host of other things.
You should be able to login to your account, look up a project, see everything sent for that project, see mail records for all notices delivered, see what your next lien deadline is…and here is the best part: press a button and have someone do everything for you to protect, preserve and perfect your mechanics lien rights.
Isn’t it time your company get smart about lien compliance. Zlien is a better experience that do-it-yourself preliminary notice delivery, with or without software. It’s cheaper, it’s more professional and reliable, and it’s the right way to do business.