Late-paying or worse, non-paying, clients is arguably one of the most frustrating aspects of being a general contractor in South Florida. You go out there and do everything in your power to meet the terms of your contract on time and on budget, and the client simply goes dark and doesn’t pay.
Chasing down late payments is a waste of your business’ resources, yet it is unfortunately the reality many GCs here in Miami face. Industry-wide, contractors are stuck collecting payments on overdue invoices weeks and months after work has been completed.
There’s no denying it’s a problem, but it’s not one you should have to deal with. Here are some ways you can push back when a Florida construction client doesn’t pay for your work.
● Start with a friendly follow-up – Before jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst-case scenario, try engaging with the client in a friendlier manner. Remind them about the invoice before and after the due date has passed and pick up the phone when necessary. It’s also good practice to keep records of your correspondence in case you need them later in court.
● Pursue more stringent measures – If you’re still met with the silent treatment after attempting friendlier approaches, you may need to send a formal request drafted by a Miami construction attorney. A written demand letter should get their attention and signal to them that your next step will be to file a mechanic’s lien.
● File a mechanic’s lien - The state of Florida has laws in place to govern this exact problem, and it’s within a contractor’s right to file a mechanic’s lien if they do not get paid for their services. Fla. Stat. § 713.001 et. seq. is known as the “Construction Lien Law.” For contractors to pursue one against a client, they must file a Florida mechanic’s lien no later than 90 days from the earlier of either (1) the last date the claimant furnished labor or materials to the project; or (2) the termination of the original (prime) contract.
If you’re struggling with non-paying clients, it’s best to act sooner rather than later. Contact us at Quintana Law, PA to consult with a Miami construction attorney. We can advise you of your best options and ensure you get the money you deserve on overdue payments. Get in touch to schedule a free consultation.