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Frequently Asked Questions

How Siteline works, plus answers to common billing questions

About Siteline

We already have an accounting software that handles billing. How is Siteline different?

Siteline doesn’t replace your accounting software, it enhances it. Siteline takes all of the manual work you’re doing outside of your ERP—generating project specific pay app forms, lien waivers, and collecting lower-tier lien waivers—and automates it to help you handle billing faster.

Our GC requires us to use Textura, why would I add Siteline?

Siteline helps you manage all of your billing in one place. Our integration with Textura lets you see the status of billing across all of your projects and collaborate with team members to determine what you want to bill for. All of the information is easily synced to Textura, so there’s never any double entry across systems.

GCs all have different requirements. How can you standardize something that needs to be custom for every job?

No matter what the GC requires, whether it be submission to a particular portal, custom billing forms, or specific compliance documents like certified payroll, we can handle it. The GC gets exactly what they expect, and we take all the work to customize each pay app off your hands.

What does the setup process look like?

We handle all the heavy lifting when it comes to setup, so it only takes 5 minutes for you. When you land a new project, you can add the project into Siteline by entering in just the basic information and selecting which forms to use.

Each month, your team will go through the standard workflow in Siteline and update the billing amounts, collect lower-tier lien waivers and attach any necessary backup documentation. With the click of a button, Siteline will autofill and compile the project-specific forms, along with any additional documentation you need to get paid each month.

Can I onboard projects that have already billed?

Yes! You can onboard projects at any stage, whether it's your first or final month of billing.

I’m on a tight timeline, how long does it take to add a new project?

It should only take a few minutes if the forms required for the project are already in our database—and many of the biggest GC forms are. If the forms aren’t in our system yet, it can take between 24 and 72 hours depending on complexity. That said, we’ve got your back. If you’re in a bind and need a project set up faster, our support team will jump in to make it happen.

My pay app forms don't just vary by GC. Sometimes they vary by project manager. Does it make sense to add the varying forms to Siteline?

Definitely. If the forms are slightly different from your other projects, we’ll make adjustments so that Siteline outputs the correct documents each month. That way your team won't have to worry about filling out the forms correctly, double checking that the right documents are included, or keeping track of the status of the pay app — it will all be handled by Siteline automatically.

How do you handle retention?

We know there are endless ways to calculate retention and each GC has its own process. We've built our system to be flexible, so you can adjust retention for the overall pay app, for each line item, or for certain periods of time. And with Siteline, you’ll never have to worry about miscalculations or missteps in timing.

What benefits do people see from using Siteline?

We built Siteline to solve the most common challenges contractors face when it comes to getting paid. So each of our customers has their own perspective on what they love most. For us, though, there are a few common threads:

Time back in your day

Your time is precious. Siteline saves you the hours of manual entry and tedious double checking by automating form entry, simplifying billing management and compiling pay apps instantly.

Peace of mind

With so much manual work involved in even the simplest construction billing processes, a small, honest mistake can hold up millions of dollars in cash flow. Siteline helps you prevent missteps proactively, and solve any last-minute fire drills with a few quick clicks.

Better visibility

With Siteline, all of your billing and compliance information is at your fingertips, instead of being siloed in separate spreadsheets. Just a quick glance at the homepage and you can make sure everything is up to date and on track. Our monthly billing report gives you insight into trends and cash flow.

Happier teammates

It can be frustrating when teams aren’t on the same page. With Siteline, everyone has the information they need, before they even have to ask. No more emails and phone calls hounding your team to let you know what to bill for; reminders are sent through Siteline automatically, so everyone stays on track.

Construction billing

What is a progress billing in construction?

A progress billing in construction is a bill for the work completed in that month, including labor, materials, and overhead costs. It’s exactly what it sounds like — its a bill for the progress on a job thus far.

Progress billings are usually used on larger projects that are completed over multiple months. The trade contractor is required to submit the progress billing, also known as pay applications, to the General Contractor by the deadline dictated by the GC. This usually falls between the 15th and the 20th of the month. The subcontractor must project what they plan to complete by the end of the month, which can cause some debate between the GC and the trade contractor over what they are entitled to bill for.

What is an AIA invoice in construction?

An AIA invoice is a construction invoice that includes two standard documents created by the American Institute of Architects: The G702 Application and Certification for Payment and the G703 Continuation Sheet. The G702 is a one-page summary, while the G703 includes more detailed billing information broken out according to a project’s schedule of values.

Used together, the two documents offer trade contractors, GCs, architects, and owners a standardized way to send and certify payment requests, including progress billing, stored materials, retention, and more.

Frequently you’ll find that general contractors have their own versions of a G702 or a G703 — sometimes the same general contractor in different regions have slightly different versions of a G702 or G703!  It can be overwhelming and time consuming for trade contractors to keep track of all the different ways general contractors ask for the same information!

Luckily Siteline can help standardize what you see and you’ll never have to worry about what information goes where on each form — we do all the thinking for you. Check out this case study!

What is a bill of materials in construction and how do I create one?

A bill of materials is everything you’re going to need to buy in material to build a job. This is everything from a small screw to a large steel beam.

Depending on how your estimating team puts together an estimate, the estimate may be a great place to start — they have an idea of what it takes to build a project including material and labor. But sometimes, those estimates don’t get into the literal nuts and bolts of a job and just have approximations of what is needed.

If you’re the PM on the job, your best bet is to put together your own quantity takeoff. This will give you an idea of everything you’re going to need so you can create your bill of materials.

How long does it typically take to get paid on a commercial construction project?

Payment terms are dictated in your contract but usually range from 30 to 120 days. Some GCs are extremely prompt with their payments and believe that there’s value in paying their subs faster. They know that their subs are the heart of their business and treat them like true partners.  Most GCs include contract terms like “paid when paid”. It means that the GC will pay the subcontractor if/when the GC gets paid and no sooner. Unfortunately that means that if an owner or developer doesn’t pay the GC then the subcontractors on the job are also are not paid.

Based on PWC Working Capital Report, the average length is around 51 days but a recent survey of a small selection of general and sub contractors show that 30% waited more than 60 days for payment.

Why does it take so long to get paid? Our blog post explains the top reasons: incomplete pay applications, lien waiver issues, missing compliance documents, inadequate tracking and follow up, and preventable mistakes.

Getting paid faster improves working capital. With Siteilne, you can get paid up to 7 days faster.

What is retention in construction?

Retention is money that the general contractor withholds from a trade contractor until the project is complete to force contractors to meet their contract obligations, including final sign off from the architect and owner.

Typically retention is 5% to 10% of a job but some jobs (including all government jobs) have 0% retention — the best contract term! Other jobs will have 10% retention until a certain point: sometimes when a job is 50% complete, the GC releases a portion of retention.

What are stored materials? How do I bill for stored materials?

Progress billings allow contractors to bill for work in place. Contractors sometimes purchase materials long before they are installed on site, which forces them to front the cost of the material months before they can bill for them. It is in the owner’s best interest for the materials to be ordered prior to installation (especially with all of the supply chain issues these days) in order to keep the schedule on track.

Stored materials billing allows for contractor to bill for material costs before they are installed on site. These materials can either be stored on-site or off-site (ex. in the contractor’s warehouse). If the materials are stored off-site, the contractor will need to provide proof of insurance along with other back up documents as stipulated in the contract.

To bill for stored materials, input the dollar amount in Column F of the AIA G703.

What is a change order?

In construction, a change order is a signed agreement that adds to or changes the scope of a work. There are typically four main types of change orders: Lump sum, zero cost, time and material, and unit cost.

Lien waivers

What is the difference between an unconditional lien waiver and a conditional lien waiver?

A conditional lien waiver is a legal document that states how much someone owes (usually through a specific period of time). It’s a document that says “we won’t lien your job as long as you pay us this specific amount” — that amount is usually stated on the conditional lien waiver and matches the progress bill. Why enter that information twice? Siteline can help automatically generate conditional lien waiver’s for you based on your payment application.

An unconditional lien waiver is a legal document that states that the claimant has received payment for a specific amount on a job and releases that lien. An unconditional progress will release a specific amount billed in a previous month whereas an unconditional final will release all claims to a job. Unconditional lien waivers are sent when you get paid but it’s so easy to forget to send these right away which can lead to payment delays. Siteline can help generate unconditional lien waivers automatically based on your pay application.

Why do I need to submit $0 lien waivers?

Submitting a $0 dollar lien waiver is a way to extend a “through date.”  It helps an owner or property keep all their ducks in a row. For example maybe you billed $40,000 in June and $0 in July. The owner of the property might want a $0 lien waiver for July to make sure that they won’t receive an unexpected lien waiver for $1,000,0000 for the month of July. It extends the “through date” so an owner has legal documentation to show that they have paid you THROUGH the month of July instead of just the month of June.

Do all lien waivers need to be notarized?

Not all lien waivers need to be notarized. However, a few states do require lien waivers to be notarized: Georgia, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Some GCs outside of these states may require notarized lien waivers.

Notarization is legal verification of a signature; a notary confirms the form has been signed by the person that signed it.

When working with lien waivers ensure you are using the most up-to-date form.  Notarizing a lien waiver that does not require a notary could invalidate the lien waiver; you’ll want to research your local state laws and consult your legal team to see confirm if a form should be notarized.

Lien waivers are actually unregulated in most states. There are 12 states that require a lien waiver to be submitted and the state will provide the lien waiver template to help ensure the correct information is on the form. These 12 states include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

What is a lien waiver?

A lien waiver is a written, signed agreement, in exchange for payment that waives a counterparty’s (typically subcontractor or vendor) right to file a lien for the amount specified in the waiver. The subcontractor will waive their lien rights once payment has been received. There are 4 types of lien waivers: conditional progress lien waiver, conditional final lien waiver, unconditional progress lien waiver, unconditional final lien waiver.

See our blog post for a more details on when to use each lien waiver.

What is a conditional progress lien waiver?

A conditional progress lien waiver is a document that is signed and submitted by anyone that files a preliminary lien notice which signifies that the partial payment has been requested by a subcontractor. It is typically submitted with a pay app (the amount for the pay app matches the partial payment requested on the progress conditional lien waiver) and signed by the subcontractor requesting payment. (Think: We, the subcontractor, will conditionally waive our lien as long as the GC pays us the amount we’re requesting on this progress pay app.)

See this blog post for more details on which lien waiver you should use.

What is a conditional final lien waiver?

A conditional final lien waiver is similar to the conditional progress waiver — only this document is generated when the subcontractor or vendor submits their final payment request for the project and does not expect any future payments.

See this blog post for more details on which lien waiver you should use.

What is an unconditional progress lien waiver?

An unconditional progress lien waiver is submitted by the subcontractor or vendor after payment has been completed and the money is in the subcontractor’s bank account. This means that the subcontractor is releasing their lien rights on a project for the amount paid.

See this blog post for more details on which lien waiver you should use.

What is an unconditional final lien waiver?

An unconditional final lien waiver is submitted after the subcontractor or vendor receives the final payment for the project. Signing this form means that you have been paid in full, and you are giving up your right to file a lien on the whole project.

See this blog post for more details on which lien waiver you should use.

Vendors

What is required from materials suppliers and vendors in order to get paid?

If your supplier or vendor filed a preliminary notice lien on a job, you’ll need to make sure you get both a conditional lien waiver from when you submit a pay app AND an unconditional lien waiver from them when you get paid.

Do I need to collect certificates of insurance from vendors and lower-tier contractors?

It depends on the terms of your contract. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone working on the job site is insured because there is potential for physical injury or property damage. Collecting certificates of insurance in advance lets you confirm that all parties have adequate coverage.

If an injury or accident happens on the job site, these records can also help with insurance claims and help ensure any liability is covered.

Compliance

What is certified payroll and when do I need to submit it?

Certified payroll is a weekly report using form WH-347 to prove that a contractor is paying prevailing wage. The Davis Bacon Act contains a clause to set a minimum wage for construction laborers on a federally funded job (with contracts over $2,000). The minimum wage can vary depending on the state/local county and the type of tradesman on the job. You’ll need to submit certified payroll when you’re on a prevailing wage job at least once a month (usually with your pay application). If you forget to submit certified payroll on a job that requires it, the general contractor can and will hold your payment.

Why do I need a certificate of insurance?

General contractors and developers collect certificates of insurance (COI) prior to awarding a contract to confirm subcontractors have the right insurance coverage required for the project. Often they require COIs from lower-tier subcontractors as well. If the client does not have an active COI with the right coverage (including additional insureds), they can withhold payment.  General contractors want to make sure they’re protected and you’re protected in case of an accident (knock on wood!).

What documents can put your payment on hold?

Missing lien waivers, insurance documents (CCIP, OCIP), certified payroll (if required) and change order forms can all put a payment on hold. Anything that the general contractor requires every month that you don’t submit means a potential delay in payment. Siteline helps ensure every single pay app has guardrails to guide you through the process to ensure you don’t miss any of these documents.

Got another question?

We’re always here to help. Email us at support@siteline.com and we’ll get back to you soon.