More than two hundreds years ago, Thomas Jefferson co-authored a lien law that protected trade contractors, stating that if they didn’t get paid for the work they completed they could put in a claim against a property.
Centuries later, the flow of funds from construction lender to contractor still remains a tricky issue.
It’s also an issue that creates a fair amount of confusion, considering the various laws (which differ from state to state) and the esoteric industry verbiage that comes into play.
The small Hastings-based company called Perkeft is in good position to do so. They’ve been around for about 20 years and now they’re in the process of taking things fully digital – a push that is the basis for their entry into this year’s Minnesota Cup business competition.
“We’re leveraging technology to drive improved and faster payment of construction funds,” says Keith Estenson, CEO. “The system that we’ve put together provides an easy-to-use, cloud-based service to track, monitor and report the flow of these funds.”
The move to a transparent, accessible, cloud-based system seems like a natural progression, given the number of parties involved with large-scale construction projects.
“I knew this was a business that could really be systemized,” adds Estenson.
After working with several different programmers to try and identify a solution, Perfekt eventually partnered with Reside (now called Magnet360), who has helped build a unified service on the SalesForce.com platform over the past 18 months.
In addition to this service for tracking and managing payments, Perfekt is implementing digital solutions in other ways. For instance, Estenson notes that the company used to rent out storage space around town for all the documents they needed to keep on file; now, they scan documents and mail them out rather than physically storing copies. Those scanned docs are also linked through SalesForce, allowing the account management team to access them with the click of a button.
Perfekt is the first company in Minnesota to offer the ability to file lien documents online, and Estenson points to one example of the dynamic benefits.
“A few weeks ago we had a document that needed to be filed over on the other side of North Dakota, where the oil boom was going on,” he explains. “It was their last date to file it and they were just giving us the service order.
“We were able to turn that around in less than one day and get it filed, partly because of our system, our ability to go into the counties and do the research, and now our ability to file the lien documents online.”
It’s just another example of modern technology making life easier in an industry that has been around for a long, long time.
I think Mr. Jefferson would be impressed.