We aren’t the biggest construction law firm in the DFW area, but it is funny how in our practice we get to see some industry trends developing first hand and probably even before most analysts do. I’ve always told clients to keep up with their receivables in order to preserve their lien rights. I’ve even gone as far as saying hey…if you don’t want to worry about deadlines just give me a monthly spreadsheet with your receivables and I can tell you which ones you have to worry about. Usually I’m coming at it from the point of view of lien deadlines, but more and more I have another point of view.
Being an Attorney for many clients in the construction industry I get a broader industry perspective than the lone sole contractor, sub-contractor or supplier. For instance, I usually know if residential construction projects are having more payment problems than commercial projects or vice versa. I know what bond companies are easy to work with and which are not.
So the other day I was talking to a client about one matter when he just mentioned that he ‘may’ have another one for me. I inquired more about it and when he was done, I told him that his ‘may’ was actually a ‘sure thing’. His potential matter related to a specific General Contractor building an anchor store in Houston. He was ‘promised’ that he would get paid and to just give it a month (which would have put him past his lien deadline). What he didn’t know is the previous week I had filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a property in Dallas that the same General Contractor had built for the same retail chain. So the odds that he would give up his lien rights and not get paid were actually pretty high.
So, yes, people can try and do liens themselves or use a online service to preserve their rights, but they give up something important (beyond probably not doing it right). When you go to a law firm, experienced in the area of construction litigation and commercial collections, you have the added benefit of a wealth of knowledge regarding the financial viability of particular projects and General Contractors, Builders, Subcontractors and Suppliers in and around the DFW area and even in some cases, throughout the State of Texas. Many times, we know who is paying, who is not, what jobs are having funding problems, which parties are known to be “slow pays,” “no pays,” or even continuously in litigation. To most clients, this information is almost invaluable and is a benefit you can get from your law firm without having to spend any additional money.