Why You Always Need Signed Delivery Tickets
“That material was not delivered here” is the most common defense to a Material Supplier lien. What process can you have in place to have the best defense possible if this happens to you? The best strategy to have in place with each transaction is to collect evidence that your material was delivered or used at the project every time you supply material. In our fourth and final installment of our C.Y.A. for Material Suppliers series, we will break down the importance of a signed delivery ticket and the best way to go about adding this into your daily routine.
Why You Need Proof of Delivery
All 50 states deal with the issue of delivery/incorporation of their materials. Finding a way to prove your materials were delivered to and/or were incorporated into the project is key to covering your ass. Some states require delivery, while others require actual incorporation to have a valid lien, which can be an issue for Material Suppliers. It is impossible to know what materials make it to a project if you do not ask and follow up – which can be a lengthy process.
Texas, for example, requires proof of delivery. This means either a signed delivery ticket or actual delivery of the material. If someone chooses the signed delivery ticket route, this means that someone will come to pick up the material from the supplier, sign for it, and state which site it’s going to, and then they are responsible to deliver it to the project site. The other way to have physical proof is if the Material Supplier delivers the ordered materials to the project site. Upon delivery, the Material Supplier should also sign that the material was delivered. Remember: the more you can verify that the material was delivered, and used at the correct project site, the better rights you will have!
Having signed delivery tickets is the key to success, an easier life, and a simplified daily routine. When a customer picks up material, have them sign a delivery ticket that clearly states the project for which the material was provided. If you deliver the material to the project, make sure you have someone at the project site sign your delivery ticket and get tracking devices for all your delivery trucks so you can keep reports of all the deliveries. This creates excellent evidence to have on hand to prove delivery and/or incorporation.
This issue of delivery and/or incorporation of materials is the biggest one Material Suppliers face when proving a valid lien. Cover all your bases, and make sure to collect and keep all evidence that will help prove that your material was delivered and/or incorporated. Another reliable source of evidence is documenting any material that had to be specially fabricated for that specific project—for example, a custom-made window or door, paint, or a specially made finish.
The Cromeens Law Firm is here to protect you and your business.
Cover all your bases. We understand the rules for liens in all 50 states and will tell you what your state requires at no charge. Work with us to equip yourself with the ability to properly evaluate your risks and collect what you are owed to run a successful supply company.
Get the Proof and CYA
If someone is claiming that your material was not used at their project, the first thing you need to do is go to the project site and investigate. If it is evident that your material did not make it to that project, you need to drop your lien claim. If you know your material was used onsite and have proof (i.e., you see the packaging your materials come in all over the ground, etc.), take pictures of anything that will prove that your materials were delivered and used at the project.
Note: if you cannot take photos of the site from a sidewalk or street, you need to ask permission before entering the project.
If the Owner and/or General Contractor, who is making a claim, really believe your material did not make it to the project, they should not have an issue with you inspecting the site. If they do not let you examine the site, put something in writing saying that you have requested an opportunity to inspect and determine if your materials are at the project. Document everything and always have it in writing. If that request gets denied, you will have additional written proof to add to your claim and move forward with the lien process.
Preparing for unknown circumstances in your business is key to covering all your bases. Delivery issues with your materials can happen at any time. Ensuring you have proper evidence will help prove your material was delivered and/or used at each project. Some states require just delivery of the material to the project, while other states require that materials be incorporated into the project. Do you want to know which one your state requires? Give us a call at The Cromeens Law Firm.
We understand the rules for liens in all 50 states and will tell you what your state requires at no charge. We hope you enjoyed our series for Material Suppliers. It is crucial to understand and protect your business and collect what you are owed to run a successful supply company. We are here to help you build a better material supply business. Team up with our friendly construction attorneys and lien department, and never go unpaid again!