A Case Study Q&A with:
CreditHawk Systems, LLC, and Spectra Contract Flooring Inc.; a Division of Shaw, Inc.; a Berkshire Hathaway Company
CreditHawk Systems and its subsidiary LienSafe, LLC, issue state-required preliminary construction notices on behalf of Shaw Industries' Spectra Contract Flooring Services subsidiary, the largest commercial flooring contractor in the U.S., under a Master License Agreement with CreditHawk Systems providing for unlimited issue of required notices by eight of Spectra's 26 U.S. locations. CreditHawk digitally gathers the required data on Spectra projects from Shaw's internal databases with full encryptions and security safeguards, then formats and authorizes issuing state-specific notices to the Spectra projects' property owners, contractors and sureties firms. CreditHawk monitors and tracks the delivery of the notices, and issues weekly management reports, which include "skipped" required notices, which Spectra identifies through CreditHawk management reports as notices they do not wish to send.
Bonny Russell is Operations Leader for Spectra Contract Flooring. She is based in Orlando, Fla., and has been filing preliminary construction notices weekly through CreditHawk since she took that position in 2015. In November, 2020, Ms. Russell agreed to be interviewed about her experiences with CreditHawk.
CreditHawk. Describe how you work with CreditHawk-that is, how you interact with the system and the company.
Russell. At the start of our relationship I walked them through what we needed, where it made sense to be sending required notices. They were able to link their website to our project database. They get a file dump of all our active jobs on a nightly basis, load the data onto the website and develop the list of project jobs I should be sending notices on. All I have to do is login and click a button to see the list. I simply give my approvals and CreditHawk takes it from there. If there's ever an issue, the communication has been fantastic. We've never had a construction notice that didn't get sent.
CreditHawk. What was sending notices like before CreditHawk?
Rusell. I can't speak to how Spectra handled construction liens before I came, but before coming here I worked in a company that filed notices by hand. That would be daunting for a company and location our size. We send notices on every project of
$5,000 or more of flooring products for which there is an active or scheduled work order. I send out between 13 and 20 notices a week, so I can't imagine writing them out by hand, mailing them, and then having to keep track of who got what and when.
CreditHawk. What would you say is the biggest benefit you've enjoyed by using CreditHawk to file your construction notices?
Russell. I'd have to go through our computer system, through 600 to 800 active jobs, to determine what jobs to send notices on. It would be immensely time consuming. Now I just review the list of projects that fit our parameters that CreditHawk compiles and sends me, then click on the ones that are to go out. It takes me less than an hour.
The lists I get are spot on. Not only would looking through our entire database for jobs I need to send notices on take much longer, but projects could easily slip through the cracks.
CreditHawk allows us to be more diligent about sending out our required notices. It has helped us get out a lot more notices. I know we weren't that diligent about sending notices before we engaged CreditHawk.
CreditHawk. Do the notices help with receivables?
Russell. We get paid rather quickly. If I ever need to follow up with a lien filing, I can review the preliminary notices that were sent on that job and get all the information to file the lien correctly. All the information I need is there in the CreditHawksystem. By filing the preliminary notices and having all the tracking information at hand, we have been able to avoid somelien litigation and collect what is due.
Many building owners don't understand how the notice and lien processes work. Some have asked why we send a preliminary notice if they 're not overdue with a payment, but because we are diligent and send them out on every project that fits our parameters they now know that it is our standard practice.
CreditHawk. Have you had specific needs or requests that CreditHawk was able to address?
Russell. Initially our lists didn't include the work order dates, so CreditHawk altered the software to include scheduled dates. We're currently working with CreditHawk and LienSafe on an upgrade that will enable us to file a lien through the system digitally directly with the court-another part of the process that will be automated.
Another issue was that each state has different preliminary notice requirements and CreditHawk maintains an updated database of state-by-state requirements for what has to be included in the notices and how you have to keep up with notices in order to beable to file a lien. For example, we do some business in Texas and there you have to file an amended notice every month to keep it active. CreditHawk does that automatically simply by marking the project as Texas. They're doing the legwork, just keeping me informed and looking to me for reviews and approvals.
CreditHawk. Overall, how would you rate your experience with CreditHawk?
Russell. It has worked out perfectly from the start. I think it's fantastic. I send work orders out at beginning of a week, then respond to updates in the job narrative telling me what additional data might be needed, then they send the required notices and we're done. And everything we do is maintained within the system. It's all there under that job and job project narrative; it's all very well organized.
The system is easy to use. It is very personalized and I enjoy using it. I appreciate that when there are questions or concerns they've been responsive. Their customer service is, in a word, fantastic.