It’s no secret that managing applications for payment is one of the most complex and frustrating processes contractors face. While data shows the construction industry has been slow to innovate and add technology-based solutions, we believe this that’s changing. Manual, paper-based processes create bottlenecks in your workflow, and bottlenecks cost time and money. In today’s competitive general contractor landscape, we can’t afford to be lose time and money over subcontractor pay apps.
We have 5 recommendations for what general contractors can do today to reduce headaches around processing payment applications.
1. Schedule a Meeting with your Accounts Payable Team
Sit down with the team that manages incoming applications for payment for your company.
For many Accounts Payable teams, processing pay apps is a manual process that takes hours each week. Sure, the process might work just fine, but ask your team if they spend their time chasing down missing or expired lien waivers, letting subs know they can’t bill against unapproved change orders, or recalculating retention that has been figured wrong.
The back-and-forth communication that your team conducts for each pay app is one of the biggest reasons for bottlenecks. If you’re at all unsure about what’s slowing you down with pay app processing, start by asking your team.
2. Review your Lien Waiver Process
Lien waivers are often another cause for payment processing slowdown. While the bulk of the work on these compliance documents rests with the subcontractor, you can help improve the process.
Answer these questions:
- Are you providing up-to-date waivers for your subs to use?
- Is it clear when waivers must be submitted?
- Do you have a submission system in place, or are waivers coming in several different ways?
- Do you send automated emails to remind subcontractors to submit their lien waivers?
Streamlininghow you provide and receive lien waivers can significantly reduce the amount of time subs (and your Accounts team!) have to spend on them.
3. Communicate with your Supply Chain
We know it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day of keeping all your jobs running smoothly, but open communication is paramount to a successful supply chain. Connecting with your subs is a good way to identify pain points that could be easily smoothed out, while also identifying key ways to keep owners happy along the way.
A general contractor is often the “middle man” between the owner and the subs on a project explains Alicia Barbas, Accounting Manager at T. Morrissey Corporation. General contractors have to be sure there’s appropriate visibility for the owner to see progress and payment information on the project. And, they have to create transparency for the sub so they understand the contract and project details. For T. Morrissey, pay app software helps provide an organized overview of necessary information both up and down the supply chain.
4. Consider Electronic Payments
Paperless invoices are the future, but it’s taking the construction industry some time to catch up. Electronic invoice processing is a way to save time and increase visibility across your supply chain. Not to mention the added level of security with a trackable electronic payment versus a physical check.
Electronic payment significantly speeds up the processing needed for each invoice, which helps get payments out the door and keeps projects running on time. This process also ensures that the exchange of a lien release and electronic payment happen simultaneously in order to reduce liability risk.
5. Explore Subcontractor Payment Management
Gain control and remove your headaches with a payment application system.
GCPay reduces the time you spend on pay app and lien waiver management in half. GCPay has direct ERP integrations with the known construction systems which eliminates the need for manual data entry as contract data is shared automatically. Real-time contract and project data is available for GCs and subcontractors to stay on top of their projects and keep things running smoothly.