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Preliminary Notice Services

Secure Every Project. Never Go Unpaid.

  • Are you waiting too long for payments?
  • Feel like your invoices aren’t being prioritized?
  • Pay-when-paid and Pay-if-paid clauses suffocating your cash flow?
  • Growing uncollectable debt cluttering your A/R Aging Report?

Getting paid in the construction industry is tough, and so the question for contractors and suppliers is simple: How to break through the mess and get your invoices paid?

The answer lies in simply implementing a preliminary notice policy. Sending preliminary notices is very common in the construction industry, and these notices have the effect of prioritizing your invoices above others, getting your company paid faster and more often. They are also called Notices to Owner or NTOs.

zlien’s technology can enable your company to send the right notice document at the perfect time on every project. We send thousands of notice documents every month for contractors and suppliers across the country, empowering them to get what they earn on every project.

Story About How zlien’s Preliminary Notice Technology Made A Difference


9Wood Thrives During Economic Downturn, Eliminating Write Offs and Selling on Credit to More Customers

All our big accounts receivables problems are from before we started using  zlien . We wish we would have started sooner.

9Wood is an engineered-to-order manufacturer of wood ceilings, producing 100% custom products to a customer’s specifications. And when the wood ceiling product is produced, it is shipped to locations all across the United States.

9Wood relies on  zlien  to manage and protect their lien rights across North America. They have an adopted lien policy separating their customers into risk categories, and use zlien’s technology to calculate all preliminary notices and lien compliance requirements. They deliver required preliminary notices as they become due, and insert all accounts into a “payment funnel” that pushes accounts towards a lien claim as its remains unpaid. Here are some results:

  • Since adoption, revenue increased over 26% during the recession years
  • Completely eliminated (<0.001%) write offs
  • At least 70x ROI
  • Confidence for sales teams to sign contracts with unfamiliar or traditionally risky customers

zlien’s technology not only mitigates unpaid and default receivables, but it also empowers companies to go out and accept more business. As 9Wood CEO Charley Courey explains, “We have a lot more options now if we want to work with someone who has risky credit or can’t pay the deposit up front. We have used our lien and bond claim rights many times in these situations successfully.”

Download Preliminary Notices Best Practices Guide

Preliminary Notices Are The Difference Between Getting Paid, And Not

Getting paid in the construction industry is complicated and riddled with risk. Property developers, lenders, and general contractors are all leveraging everything they have to shift the financial risk of a project onto you, and additionally, payment flow abuses against subcontractors and suppliers are commonplace. Don’t just take it from us, ENR highlighted the problem of payment flow abuses in the industry, and consensus at the CFMA is that financial risk is getting pushed down the contracting chain.

What can you do?

Preliminary Notices Will Not Scare Your Customer

If you secure your debts, you’ll always get paid. Really, it’s that simple.

Many companies unreasonably fear sending a preliminary notice. As explored in this article, Preliminary Notices Will Not Scare Your Customer, there is no basis for the fear.

These documents are commonplace in the industry, and they are not adversarial filings. In fact, the preliminary notice or notice to owner document is designed to protect the property owner against liens.  You’ll likely have more developers and general contractors be thankful that you sent the preliminary notice than will be upset over the same.

Developers and General Contractors Track and Prioritize Those Who Send Notice

One reason developers and general contractors may be thankful about receiving preliminary notice is that they go through great efforts to track those who do and do not send notice on a construction project. In fact, software (like Textura) is designed precisely to assist in this effort.

Why do developers and general contractors track who is and is not sending preliminary notices?  The answer is that they are managing their lien exposure, and therefore, will prioritize the invoices and payment applications from those subcontractors and suppliers who sent preliminary notice over those who did not. Get your invoices on the prioritized list.

Customers Don’t Pay You Because Your Invoices or Payment Apps Aren’t Prioritized

Everytime research is conducted on unpaid and aging receivables, the answer is always the same: invoices and payment applications with the highest priorities get paid. The trick to collecting your money faster and more frequently is to make sure your invoices are prioritized.

Savvy companies in the construction industry always send preliminary notices, because they realize that these notices prioritize their invoices above others who do not send notice.

The Results Are Clear: Notices Prioritize Every Account, Getting You Paid Every Time.

The result of sending preliminary notice is clear. In the construction industry, sending a preliminary notice substantially speeds up payment on the account and substantially decreases the chance an account will go into default. This is because preliminary notices are a common industry device that has the effect of prioritizing some contractors’ and suppliers’ invoices above others.

There’s nothing to be afraid of with preliminary notices. Join the ranks of those who secure every project, and therefore, always get paid.

The  zlien  Difference When Managing Preliminary Notices


Do you have control over your preliminary notice processes?  Sending preliminary notices is more involved then simply generating and mailing a form. Companies need to get the exact right document sent at the exact right time, and then have confidence that the preliminary notice documents are prepared, delivered, and tracked properly. Ask yourself the following:

  • Are you changing your preliminary notice form based on state, project type, and your role on the project?
  • How are you deciding who should received your notice, and how?  Do you know?
  • If you later need to prove that preliminary notice was delivered, will you have all the mailing information and an affidavit of delivery?
  • If a mailed notice is returned to your office, how will you handle the return?

zlien has created patent-pending proprietary technology to manage every aspect of mechanics lien and bond claim compliance, and especially the critical preliminary notice component. The revolutionary preliminary notice ordering system is smart, guiding you through all of the nuances about the project’s preliminary notice requirements to ensure you are getting the right thing ordered and delivered at the right time. After you order it, zlien makes the preliminary notice process even easier by doing all the grunt work in getting your preliminary notice sent and tracked.

And you can trust zlien . We handle preliminary notices for thousands in the construction industry everyday. Plus, our systems are second to none in the industry, relying on our proprietary software that understands legal nuances in the preliminary notice laws so you don’t have to, ensuring your preliminary notices are delivered fast and correctly.

Plus, the strong  zlien  brand gets attached to every one of your preliminary notices, further prioritizing your account above all others.

smart-outsourcing-preliminary-noticeIt’s Smart To Outsource Your Preliminary Notice Work

It’s not worth it for your company to handle its own preliminary notice work. We wrote a White Paper about this titled: 4 Reasons Why It’s Smart To Outsource Your Preliminary Notice Work. Here is a summary of some of those reasons.

1) Preliminary Notices Are Complex and You Can (Will) Make Mistakes

Sending a preliminary notice seems simple, but there are tons of places for error. zlien’s service is great because it uses proprietary software to handle the nuances within each state’s preliminary notice requirements.

2) You’re Wasting Time If You Send Your Own Preliminary Notices

Sending a preliminary notice takes time, regardless of how good your company has gotten at sending preliminary notices. Filling in the blanks, fumbling around with clunky software, folding letters, licking envelope, labeling addresses, buying stamps, tracking the certified mailing, etc. etc. Why do it?

Your company is wasting its time if it’s tinkering with preliminary notices. Let a company that focuses on preliminary notices focus on your notices.

3) Professional Quality Control

When you outsource your preliminary notice work to zlien , you’re getting professional quality control of your notices and the project data. zlien  checks your project data to confirm the address, the project’s property owner and more.

4) It Makes Financial Sense

If you look at your bottom line, it costs you a lot of money to send your own preliminary notices in supplies, postage and labor. That’s not even counting the “negative time” your company is losing, which is the time your employees could be committing to more profitable work. It makes financial sense to let zlien  send your preliminary notices.