Steven A. LaVelle, M.A. & Diane Dennis – Get Paid! How CONTRACTORS get the MONEY they EARN

Air Date: 9-13-2013| Episode: 297

Steven LaVelle is a consultant and marketer for restoration companies….

Full Description:

Steven LaVelle is a consultant and marketer for restoration companies. He co-authored “Insider Secrets for a Successful Restoration Business” and wrote the books, “197 Ways to Persuade Adjusters (and Others) to Give you the Job,” and “The Restoration Book” which has strategies and tactics to get more restoration jobs.”

His new book, “Get Paid!” has 30 of the leading names in restoration — including Cliff Zlotnik (the Z-man himself) writing the foreword — telling how to get paid even when the insurance companies, mortgage companies and homeowners are holding your money back.”

When Steven was writing “Get Paid!” he gathered some of the superstars of restoration and the three top magazines in the restoration field — from the RIA, Cleanfax and R & R, pulled stories from their vaults for the book. But then Steven reached outside the traditional restoration field and found authors like Diane Dennis. Diane has several websites where she gives away massive amounts of free information to help contractors and sub-contractors get paid. She has had over 100,000 orders for her contractors forms available at


Z-Man’s Blog:

Getting Paid, the Compendium

There aren’t many more important topics than money, collecting the money owed to you for the good work you’ve done. Steven Lavelle has a knack of obtaining, compiling, organizing, publishing and marketing valuable information.

According to Steven, what differentiates insurance repair from other types of contracting is the added complexity of payment most often originating from a 3rd party an insurance companies claim department along with claims adjusters. Horror stories from insurance repair contractors about payment problems inspired Steven to publish a debt collection book focused on insurance repair.

For additional perspective and input Steven searched outside the insurance repair field and found contributors such as Diane Dennis, who makes a business out of providing business forms for contractors. Steven invited Diane to join him on today’s interview.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

Steven Lavelle:
• Diversity. When compiling the information for the book Steven sought input from insurance repair industry superstars, notables and pioneers. He persuaded magazines and trade journals to open their archives. He solicited counsel from attorneys with specific industry knowledge, experience and expertise. He sought input from knowledgeable experts from outside the industry.
• He asked an insurance industry hired gun whose job it is to pick apart contractors to open his playbook and reveal the tough questions he asks so you can avoid falling prey.
• The important strategy of being honest, on time and under budget on high deductible self insured CAT losses.

Diane Dennis:
• “Never, ever, ever sign a contract without reading it, understanding it, being comfortable with it and making sure that it parallels your bid. Don’t hesitate to ask the customer to change and/or remove clauses that you are uncomfortable with. The worst thing that can happen is that they say NO and then you’ll have to decide whether you want to accept the project under those conditions.”
• Understand the regulatory timing and nuances of filing a lien. “Is it too late to file a lien”, “can I include interest”, “can the deadline be extended”?
• You must know what services are lienable and which are not. According to Diane’s California based attorney: “Liens only apply to permanent improvements to the value of property. Cleaning is not lienable. Landscape installation IS lienable, while gardening services are not. Wall-to-wall carpeting is ambiguous because it may or may not be permanent. Some materials are lienable even if you can’t see them installed, for instance, scaffolding rental costs and equipment rental cost.”
• Every business needs an Employee Handbook. The handbook assists the business with legal and OSHA compliance.
• Before going to the trouble and expense of filing a mechanic’s lien, fill out the form and fax it along with a note about your intent to file the lien which may get you paid.
• While customers want unconditional lien release forms as soon as they make payment, it takes time for the payment to clear the bank. A photocopy of the check provides all the needed info to track payment clearance through the bank via phone.
• By keeping a supply of the necessary forms for certified mailing in your office, certified mail with return receipt requested can be mailed directly saving trips to the post office.
• Diane’s website where contractors can find much useful info:

You can purchase the Get Paid book at

I once made the mistake of signing a contract prior to giving it to the client, the client then expanded the contract to include additional work which I needed to perform at no additional cost. To have known then, what I know now. I do believe the “Get Paid” book should be required reading.

Z-Man signing off

Today’s music: “For the love of money” by the O’Jays