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What is a Visibility Doc and Why Should I Send One?

Send Visibility Docs


Getting paid in the construction industry is tough, and so the question for contractors and suppliers is simple: How to break through the noise and get your invoices paid? Visibility documents are step one to getting paid in the construction industry.

Visibility Docs go by a lot of names in different states (Preliminary Notice, Notice to Owner, or Notice of Furnishing, to name a few). These friendly notices are sent by construction project participants at the start of construction or supply work to provide other parties notice that they are working on the project.

Most states require subcontractors and suppliers to provide the notice to key project stakeholders like the property owner, the general contractor, and the construction lender. The notice does not create any mechanics lien or bond claim rights, however, it’s possible for a party to lose their lien and security rights if a required notice is not sent. The notices must typically be sent by certified mail, certified mail return receipt requested, or by registered mail. You can learn more in this article: What is a pre lien notice?

Sending preliminary notices is common in the construction industry. Other project participants, such as property developers, lenders, and general contractors, look forward to receiving preliminary notices from subcontractors and suppliers because they provide more visibility as to who is contributing to the job. In fact, zlien research reveals that more than 83% of notice recipients find the documents helpful, or just part of every day business.

Since preliminary notices are helpful and promote better project transparency, they have the effect of prioritizing a contractor or supplier’s invoice above others who have not sent the notice, and thus get companies paid more often and more quickly. Preliminary notices are sent at the start of a construction project before any payment disputes arise, and usually before any payments are due.


Helpful Hint: If you send a preliminary notice through zlien at the start of every job, our Scout research will help you identify the property owner, GC, lender, and other project stakeholders. It’s good to know this information at the outset of the project, so you’re aware of who you’re working with and who to contact if payment issues arise down the road. Learn more about our Scout Research.