How to file a lien


Good afternoon,

I’m in need of some advice. A client is claiming he has not received payment from his insurance and therefore stating he cannot pay us yet. I confirmed with the insurance that the payment has been issued. In December 2017, I informed my client that we were going to pause work while supplement request was approved and client agreed. Later I find out client is hiring someone else to finish the remaining work behind my back (less than 10% of the job remained). I talk to my client and he says he cannot wait and is going to do the repairs himself. I do not object to that and explain to him that he’ll need to pay for the work that was done and he agrees. I did work that was required to do the repairs they requested and things they had forgotten but was a given that they had to be done (I know, big mistake to have done the work before getting approved on paper and not just over the phone but I’ve learned my lesson on that) but I know the work was approved on the supplement he’s received. Now I know that he has the money but is claiming he doesn’t. I’m pretty sure he suddenly saw himself with his home pretty much restored and then a $20,000 check so it became easy to ignore me and try to keep the money. I need to file a lien. I’ve never had to file a lien and would appreciate if anyone would share their experience on filing a lien and a breakdown of what needs to be done. I know I have a time limit so I want to make sure I follow proper procedure. Last day worked was the last week of December 2017.

Also, the insurance will not help in any way of providing any info (from the very beginning) even though they’ve had proper documentation from my client authorizing me to talk to them. I mentioned to them the issue and their response was “you figure that out with your client”. Probably a common response.

Thanks in advance!


There are specific laws to each state. It may be that the time period since you performed the work is past the time when you can still file a lien. You may need to file a civil case.

My best recommendation is to find a good attorney and use their service. If you are in this business long, this won’t be the last time you need them.


For $2000…You need to learn… and an education costs money
Consider what you’ve learned as paid for, and move on 'cos I doubt that what you are owed is going to be worth the time and effort.
Your experience with the legal profession is not going to be satisfying because nothing is going to reward you for the unpleasant experience
Open an escrow account at your bank and have future clients pay into that account, incrementally, and before you do the work. The client signs off on every stage.

You do better work if you don’t have to worry about being paid…and you can tell your clients the same thing. The good ones will understand…the others you don’t need


Its actually $20,000 and that’s a very expensive lesson but thanks, I like the idea of the escrow account and will look into it.


Thanks! Will have to find a good attorney and get this taken care of as soon as possible.


Just go back and rip out the materials he didn’t pay for…he’ll come across with the money real quick as he’s not going to call the law because they don’t like getting involved in civil disputes and take a dim view of non payers.
On another note…you nevva nevva evva do a job without forward progress payments
good luck


I work in the Midwest so you will have to check local laws and time frames. If you are the GC or Prime contractor you typically have 120 days past your last work day onsite. My advice/opinion put an invoice together, state the work price, adjustment to let him finish it (if you both agreed to him finishing). The claim amount agreed should be your invoice amount for work completed. List what was complete and what was not. Send in the mail normal, follow up with certified return receipt a day or two later. Keep your confirmation of receipt. Find a lawyer to send a payment request, notice within 20 days, documentation is key. Follow up with the home owner before the attorney letter, be professional. If nothing after 15 days post attorney, file a lien, you will need all documents. We are a construction management company and collected on a few thousand claims. This should help, one more thing you and the home owner call together for funds status. We have used this process many times. Fyi, Most court clerks can help with the lien process, attorney may charge $250, it may work 50/50. Just my opinion… good luck, don’t wait to long.


I am in a similar situation


What did you do? Were you able to resolve it and get paid?


I am in the final stages, I have gotten some payment, I am finishing all final inspections tomorrow, with paperwork to present the last payment, minus the supplement.
If I do not get payment then I am contacting my lawyer, I have been told to have the send a letter of demand, it will protect me in the end.


Hey Roofinginsouthtexas,

We actually escrow all of our home improvement projects if you are interested in chatting more. We also offer home improvement financing.



I am interested in talking to you more in depth on how you set that up and how you offer financing,