Preliminary Notices & Mechanic’s Liens Guide

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Many contractors have problems and get confused when it comes time to deal with clients or property owners that won’t pay up. Unfortunately, this leads to many of them ending up not getting paid when they don’t know all of the rules and laws that are in place to help them, just as they are in order to help the property owner. If you’re ever in a bind like this, you’ll want to have a mechanic’s lien in place, but first, you have to file a preliminary notice. These terms often get confused though on the contractor’s end, and it’s perfectly understandable. We’re going to explain them in a nutshell in this guide for you.

What is a Preliminary Notice?

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This question gets asked a lot, and it’s pretty simple. A preliminary notice is a notice that you give the property owner as a contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier when it comes to a job getting ready to start. You want to file this (and in almost every state in America, you legally have to file one of these first and deliver it) as soon as you start working on a project for the property owner.
With that said, a preliminary notice is a way to let the property owner know that you’re intending to file a lien at the end of the project if there is any early termination on their end, or at the end of the project so they have to pay. It’s not a threat, it’s more of a promise that if you don’t get your money when you’re supposed to, you’re going to get it legally.

How a Mechanic’s Lien is Different

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The mechanic’s lien itself is a document that states all of the labor, material, and other items that you may have supplied to the contractor in order to get paid the money you told them you were going to ensure payment for. You can think of this document as the final piece that provides the evidence necessary to force an unwilling or non-paying client to actually pay for your services.

Can I File One Before the Other?

You can never file a notice after you file a mechanic’s lien. If you do this, you’ll lose your right to actually file a claim altogether, and you may end up facing even more legal issues, such as the charge that you’re fraudulently filing your mechanic’s lien. To avoid this, you have to file the preliminary notice before (hence the word “preliminary”). But fortunately, if you’re ever confused, there are companies that can help with this!


BICA has been in service for years, operating to help you ensure that your mechanic’s lien can be filed. They offer everything from the financial and proper consultation, all the way down to the paperwork, and even doing the hard work to secure your money so contractors all over the nation can get the money that they deserve for their hard work. Having secured billions of dollars for contractors in America, they’re a national gem that a lot of contractors don’t know about.