Ep 027 – Legal-ease: Tips for Protecting your Business with Karalynn Cromeens

Home / Episode / Ep 027 – Legal-ease: Tips for Protecting your Business with Karalynn Cromeens

Are you protecting your hard-earned cash flow with a pen or just a handshake? This week we dive deep into the world of legal fortification in the landscaping business with Karalynn Cromeens, a seasoned construction lawyer bringing 20 years of industry-specific expertise. We unravel the secrets to not just surviving but thriving through the legal jungles of contracting and employee classification. Learn why the phrase "get shit done" is more than just a motto—it's the attitude that transforms challenges into opportunities and financial metrics into profit. Tune in as we lay down the roadmap for navigating legal pitfalls and steering your landscape company to flourish amid the thorns of business growth.


Protect Yourself

Key Moments:

[05:44] Protect personal assets when incorporating your business.
[08:07] Clear contracts manage expectations, avoid later disputes.
[12:10] Contract protects you, assigns work, clarifies status.
[12:47] Subcontractors need to be additionally insured.
[18:38] Daily tracking of numbers to improve profitability.
[23:36] Balancing sales, operations, and business health.
[29:36] Different lawyer’s approach; focus on quick resolution.


    1. How do you ensure legal compliance when classifying employees?
    2. What daily financial metrics should a business monitor for success?
    3. How can businesses manage subcontractor insurance effectively?
    4. How does lien law vary by state and impact landscaping businesses?
    5. What are common legal mistakes made by landscapers and how to avoid them?
Episode Transcript
Karalynne Cromeens [00:00:00] The Roots of Success podcast is for the landscape professional who's looking to up their game. We're not talking lawns or grass here. We're talking about people, process, and profits. The things deep within the business that need focus to scale a successful company from hiring the right people and managing your team to improving your operations and mastering your finances. We've got a brain trust of experts to help you nurture the roots of a successful business and grow to the next level. This is The Roots of Success. Tommy Cole: Welcome to another episode of Roots of Success podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Cole. I'm excited to kick off our last episode of season one. Wow. What an amazing year this has been. We appreciate all of our listeners, our amazing guests from this season. To wrap up season one, we have an awesome guest her name is Carolyn Cromings and she is out of the Houston, Texas area. And she's actually got an awesome podcast called the Quit Getting Screwed [00:01:00] Construction Podcast. Welcome to the show, Carolyn. Karalynn Cromeens: Oh, thank you so much for having me, Tommy. Tommy Cole: Yeah, this is going to be great. And I always got a comment. That's my most favorite sign in the backdrop. I was on your show not too long ago and I love it. It is the best thing. It's my mantra. Just, I almost want to say shut up and get shit done. Right? Karalynn Cromeens: That's actually pretty good. Absolutely. Tommy Cole: We'll add to that. We'll add to that. Carolyn, tell us all about you. Why are you here today in this in this seat? Karalynn Cromeens: Well, you know, a lot like my podcast, I'm here to help you not get screwed. Right? I'm a construction lawyer, been a construction lawyer for 20 years. But even before I was a construction lawyer, I grew up in the industry. You know, my father, my grandfather was an excavator contractor. My brother is an irrigation contractor. I've just grew up in the business. I wasn't actually. Headed to construction law. I was like real estate, but in my last year of law school, my husband and I started a material supply company [00:02:00] in masonry materials. And so I was working for somebody else, but what we needed legally as a new business starting up took so much of my time, I couldn't work for anybody else. So I started law firm in 2006. And my 1st client was just our business out there collecting money. And it kind of grew from there through liens and collections contract, contract, review, contract creation, but really designing the business from. The client side, because we were the client what the client needed, you can't wait for a week for an attorney to return a phone call predictable fees. If you can't have predictable fees, keeping you involved in what's going on because, you know, the legal side of things is very important. And I know a lot of people are scared of it and they shouldn't be because I'm a part of your team. Just like your, your accountant, your CPA, having me on staff and, asking questions as they arise will prevent issues. in the future, and that's really what I'm here for. Get a good lawyer Tommy Cole: Yeah, you know we'll throw a curveball at you real quick to get this thing going, but they always say just get a good lawyer, [00:03:00] right? you always hear that terminology, business owner, personal life, like what does that mean? Go get a good lawyer. Like, what does that mean in your perspective? Karalynn Cromeens: So for, especially in the construction industry, you want a lawyer that knows construction, right? I'm not going to do your divorce. I'm not going to do your will. I don't know any of that, right? I think lawyers are a lot like doctors. They have things that they're good at and, you know, and to find a good construction lawyer is going to take some time as you want to do that before you actually need 1 right and have a conversation. It won't take you very long. To realize that they speak your language or not, right? You know, you know, retainage and contract and how things work, you'll know change orders. If it's out, if they, like, have, like, the deer in the headlight looks when you use those terms, it's probably not a good fit. Not saying that that's a bad lawyer. It's just not what they do. Right? I think, especially in the construction industry, you need somebody industry specific that knows what to look out for and lien waivers, how to draft a contract specifically for and how to read subcontracts. [00:04:00] And I think,clients do sometimes we're like the dentist, right? You don't want to go to the dentist, but you have to like, give me a phone call before you sign that contract. Or if you have a question about lien rights before your own money we can really be very helpful on problem solving and issue solving on the beginning. So I think taking the time investing to find somebody that speaks your language before the issue arises. That way, when, when the issue rises, they're only a phone call away. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it's another person in your arsenal, your tool belt equipment that says you just need to have this person or this company on your side, right? By the time you call somebody, It's way past, right? it's almost like the bank relationship. Have a small banking relationship, have a large banking relationship, develop it over time, years, meet with them annually. How's it going? I would say team up someone like you or your company or someone similar that's in the industry and meet with them on a regular basis. How's [00:05:00] the, how's the business going? Tell me what's going great. What's not going great. Would you agree with all that? Karalynn Cromeens: Absolutely. Especially, you know, let's meet quarterly to talk about your collections. Are you, what is your, what's in your contracts? Are you signing somebody else's contract? what issues are you facing on the daily? Like, either with your clients or, something that might come up that you have no idea how to handle. Let's check in on those issues because really what tends to happen is that you get in trouble, you go to a lawyer, and if they're a good lawyer, they will push you to other things, to deal with before they become issues, you know, employment issues, all of that stuff. We need to have a conversation about before it becomes an issue. Tommy Cole: Yeah, love it. Love it. How to avoid legal troubles : Company Perspective Tommy Cole: So here's the burning question. Our audience is predominantly landscape people business owners, employees just getting into the business and they're probably students out there. The, the big question I get all the time is, How do we not get in trouble as a business owner? Like, what's your recommendation there?[00:06:00] Karalynn Cromeens: All right, the 1st thing you need to do is be incorporated whether and whether that's an LLC or ink. It really depends on tax purposes. But as long as you're registered, most states is the secretary of state, but some other states cost being different, but go ahead and get a business and registered. The 2nd, part of that is, if you are a partnership. I don't care. It's family, non family related, have that agreement in writing and how to get out of it. If it doesn't go right, I'm just not saying that it won't most of the times it won't. But so you have a way out of it. Right? The main thing too, is like, okay, so you're going to open your company. You're betting on yourself, which is the best bet. But if you're incorporated, It protects your personal assets, right? You can't go after your home or your personal bank accounts or unless you waive that corporate protection. It protects you and allows you to have a business entity that would be responsible for any damages or anything like that. And DBA just by itself is not an entity. Right. You can have a corporation or an LLC [00:07:00] that then files a DBA. So say, say, like, you have you know, like my, my firm name is the chromium soft firm. If I want to do business as TCLF, I can file a DBA under my business doing business as TCLF. That is effective. But if you just file a DBA and the county clerk's office or something. There is no protection that just basically saying you, your individual self are doing business, which is no protection at all. So definitely invest the time and money to be incorporated. And if you have partners or doing this business with somebody beside yourself, have that in writing, whatever the terms of that are Tommy Cole: Good deal. I love it. I mean, Karalynn Cromeens: like, Tommy Cole: quite often is the partnership is really not really spelled out, especially with acquisitions going on. Especially just with changes of ownership over time, right? At the end of the day, sometimes people drift in different ways. Some, I mean, I've seen it. Some feel like they work more hours than other partners. And then of course we kind of just divide, but there's always [00:08:00] a legal document that says. So the second part of that question, How to avoid legal troubles : Client Perspective Tommy Cole: how do we not get into legal trouble from the client perspective? What's your take on that? Karalynn Cromeens: so once we have you protected as an entity, the next thing is contract documents. And that's, you know, if you're working directly for a homeowner, You want a contract. I don't care if it's a 1 day job. I don't care if you're volunteering at your church. It needs to have something in writing. So you need to have as a, as a residential contractor. You need to have that contract. And then you also, if you're using subs need a contract that way that will prevent. So many issues. And I know these guys. I've done it on a handshake for years. That's the way they've always done it. And that's fine until it's not right. And really a contract doesn't have to be full of legal terms that nobody understands a contract's job is to manage expectations. And it is clearly written in both parties can understand it will actually help avoid disputes [00:09:00] later on. Right? Because homeowners have an idea in their head of how things are going to go. That aren't necessarily based in reality. Right? Things I see on TV, or, you know, this job is done in 2 days and look perfect and they don't understand the process. And so, the more we could go through that process and explain it in our contract. Which, you know, like every state has something they want to add to protect the homeowners, but really, if you have a well written contract that everybody can understand, it will prevent so many issues in the, in the, you know, in the future. And the other thing too, is don't run from the issues a lot of contract like to, and because they don't know what to do. We'll ignore it, and it will only get worse if you ignore it. Right? There's a certain way you can handle things, which is being up front and having that communication. That's probably the number 1 thing that most contractors tell me make the most successful and is the number 1 thing when people get sued that the homeowner say, well, I didn't know nobody told me nobody will never answer the phone. Never answer text. So those are probably and then if [00:10:00] you're a commercial contractor or signing somebody else's contract. Mhm. have it reviewed so you know what you're signing and you can understand the risk. Commercial club contracts are a disaster and if you go through them a couple times, you'll learn what's in there and know, understand the risk that you're taking before you actually sign them. Tommy Cole: tag. The commercial side, there's always these hidden little things that they slide in and most construction companies are just ready to sign because they're ready to get going. They're excited about that new job or that large project or something, and they just. They just go. On the residential side is almost the same thing. It's Ms. Smith's house, you know, for whatever x money. It's really no big deal. Like we'll just go and it's almost like an awkward question. Can you sign the contract? Right? It's almost like you owe me money, right? As my AR is stocking up, right? That's, but like, it's like, I gotta make the phone call to collect the money. That's always the [00:11:00] awkward time. I feel like these are the two awkward times when you're like, can you sign that contract? Yeah, but miss Smith, this is their third project or you know, you know, they're good friends or we know them They're just down the street. Like Karalynn Cromeens: are the worst ones. Like 90 percent of the people that end up getting sued come in with, it was my friend or a friend of a friend. Those guys, they'll get contracts and they always get sued. So Tommy Cole: yeah, I agree. So landscapers can overthink. That's the number one thing I say just overthink and overthink and when they say the word contract, it's not a 10 page document, right? It's just like I just envision like a one pager For a contract like that's the bottom of the estimate says you're gonna, you know do the work and collect the money Here's your expectations. Subcontractors' contract agreements Tommy Cole: That's what i'm used to also the same with subcontractors. It's a short document That you just go by every single job and don't assume the subcontractor is just going to take care of everything and it's going to be Bells and whistles, [00:12:00] right? We, we oftentimes would have a master subcontract agreement with a sub to do all of our work. Right. And then we would have like a, that would be sort of more of the, the clause. And then we'd have just a one pager that was just, yeah. Okay. That was just specific for this project. Any feedback on that Karalynn Cromeens: No, absolutely. That's the way we set them up and so for like the first part of that, Presenting the homeowner with a contract, I know feels kind of awkward and I would present more of like, Hey, I would like, if you're going to hire us, I want to go over kind of how we work the project and what's expected. And so you don't have to present it as a contract. You present it as basically the directions of how we're going to work together. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Karalynn Cromeens: Exactly. This is our agreement. This is how we're going to work. This is what I'm going to do. This is what you're going to do. And so it doesn't have to be so awkward. Now with subs, I highly recommend a master subcontract agreement. And. Here's the thing, just because someone signs a master sub doesn't mean they have to do all of your work. It just means that when they do work for you, these terms and conditions are going to apply and they don't have to sign that [00:13:00] part once. And then for each job, you issue them a work order. Right? And there's some. There's some important things in that subcontract that will protect you. Number one, it really delegates them as an independent contractor. So if someone gets hurt, they're not looking back to you like they're an employee. We'll also will also help for workers' comp audits. If they see that you have contractors and don't have written agreements with them, they're going to try to classify them as employees. Right. One of the other big things that I think we contractors miss when subcontracting is, yes, we have their proof of insurance, but what the master sub says is, you need to add me as additionally insured. And that becomes important because only the insured can file a claim. So if you just have that certificate of insurance, your sub still has to file the claim if there's an issue, right? The sub accidentally hits, I don't know, some underground line that has to be replaced, right? And he's nowhere to be found, so you can't find him. And if you don't have that additionally insured, you can't file the claim. [00:14:00] So, and it doesn't cost that much for them to do it. It's like 25 up to 50 bucks, but the contract requires you're added as additionally assured. That way, if that something happens, you can file your own claim. You don't have to wait on them to do it. How to get a legal leg up Tommy Cole: When you say get a legal leg up, what does that mean? Did we already discuss it? Or do you have something else in your Karalynn Cromeens: No, I mean, these are the most important things in corporations, contracts with your customers, contracts with your subs, right? The next part of that is if you have employees, employee handbooks, written termination policy, all of that stuff, because that again could turn into another claim. And really. Taking the time to have a discussion with the lawyer are the people you're hiring subcontractors or are they employees right? Just because you give them a 1099 doesn't mean they are a subcontract employee. And so we really need to have, because misclassifying someone can have huge ramifications and penalties and interest and attorney's fees and federal court and so, Tommy Cole: so Karalynn Cromeens: in here. Tommy Cole: are they [00:15:00] either an employee of your business? Karalynn Cromeens: And Tommy Cole: One of those two. Got it. Okay. Karalynn Cromeens: there's a 6 factor test that they look at, but the most thing that you're looking at is the level of control, right? Are they only working for you? You're telling them when to show up. They're only working on your jobs. They're using your equipment. All of that stuff tends itself towards to be an employee. And here's the thing, if you're doing it wrong, work on fixing it. Don't just ignore it. And you can do that slowly. It's better to work on fixing it than to get caught doing it wrong and then try to fix it. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah, don't get the Will you say like, just get the slap on the wrist for doing this pergola in the backyard that's not to code. It's not one of those. This is Karalynn Cromeens: Yeah, because here's the thing. Yeah, you get sued in federal court for this one employee who. Claims that were misclassified. The first thing the federal court does is says, okay, gimme your list of employees for the last three years. We're gonna send them notice that they may be misclassified and can join this lawsuit. [00:16:00] So Tommy Cole: there's class action lawsuits all the Karalynn Cromeens: well, and it's not even a class action at that point. 'cause there's not, there's not that many. But it's still, you think if it happens, you're just gonna settle with that one person. They're not even gonna talk Tommy Cole: they're digging way deep. Karalynn Cromeens: that notice. Tommy Cole: Oh yeah. Yeah. I, oh yeah. Yeah. I thank God you're around, right? Karalynn Cromeens: Yes, you know, and here's the thing is that you guys are really good at what you do. But if you're in the construction industry, you need a lawyer. You need somebody to bounce ideas off. You know, I'm doing this wrong. How can we fix it? Kind of thing, and it's just part of the Tommy Cole: Construction in general is a very tough industry to be in. It's one of the top 10 most stressful. You know, industry is known to man. It is high stress, high expectations, highly skilled, crafted fieldsmen, right? And project managers like anything and everything can be used against you. Right. At the end of the day, but you know, I always [00:17:00] tell everyone, one of the biggest steps is to get an operational software package for your business and stop using spreadsheets and word documents. And. Napkins and all that, right? So that's like one of these little things, right? And the other thing I would, you know, would say, Carolyn is to have someone like you on, on their team immediately, right? Get everything lined out and set up in your business from day one, right? And if you're 10 years into the business, cool, not bad. You've winged it for 10 years. Congratulations. Take the step back and take the time back. It's just as. Sexy as getting the new piece of machinery and the new pickup truck and the all those fancy, you know Facilities and stuff, but if you are not lined up in this Category, you will get screwed, right? Karalynn Cromeens: Absolutely. And here's the thing. If you want to scale your business, or if you want to sell your business, these are all things that people are going to be looking at. Right? You can't scale without processes. [00:18:00] A contract is part of that process, right? We do it on a flat fee and five business day turnaround because we know you're busy and we want something predictable, right? So we kind of built our system around that. These are all things that you lay in bed at night and think, I need get that contract. Tommy Cole: I need it. Yep. Karalynn Cromeens: And you finally, especially if you've been in it for 10 years, you're really trying to look at scaling, you're doing things better. Make the phone call, right? It's not as bad as you think. I promise. Tommy Cole: Yes. Just get the shit done, right? Is what they say, right? Karalynn Cromeens: it. Whats gets measured gets managed Tommy Cole: Okay. So I love this. You, you had a episode a little while back and it was fascinating to me because this is what we coached you all the time. What gets measured gets managed and it's none of this gut feeling about how you think is going on. There's a little bit of sense of. You know that if you have a bad feeling in your gut, right, you kind of that gut instinct, but take all that out of consideration what gets measured, gets managed, what is your take on that Karalynn Cromeens: Well, see, like, so there's [00:19:00] some parts of business that is same across the board. Right? And running a law firm running a landscape businesses has similar components. So, like, what what that meant to me is, like, I couldn't tell if I was making money or losing money until the end of the month. And by then it's too late. Tommy Cole: too late to make any changes? Karalynn Cromeens: No, exactly. And so I've really worked with my CPA and got a system where I'm checking the numbers daily, like, is everybody meeting their billable requirements? You know, what's so I can still within the month. I can have some effect and change, which is the same thing for you guys, right? Job costing. You have to know if you're making money or not, and if you set up a system where you watch it daily, weekly before the projects over to know if you're making money or not, or how to improve it on the next project makes all the difference. And there's intuition as being a business owner. When you know, you just know when things are messed up and you need to dive in. A lot of the times we don't want to dive in because of the energy and the effort it's going to take to fix it. But unfortunately, that's where the growth and the innovation comes in is, you know, making these [00:20:00] systems to whatever, so you can manage it on a daily, on the weekly. So you know, you know, that you have to know what's there to be able to be successful at, if you want to stay in business for a long time. Tommy Cole: yeah. It's one of those things where like you know, the 10th of the following month, how did we do, Karalynn Cromeens: Exactly. Tommy Cole: you give me the numbers and I'm like, oh my gosh, that you're so far behind, like you're already a half a month behind for the month that you're currently in, not alone the month previous, and we coach this all the time is just to dive into your financial software, dive in your operating platform. Every single day and touch and pick and probe and understand where the money is going. There's always a paper trail of something going on. And at the end of the day, it's not about how you feel about that project or that client. I mean, you could have a hundred clients that you're maintaining every week and you're like, man, I've got a really healthy business. As long as there's what a few bucks in a [00:21:00] checking account is the healthy right? That's not that's not the way so that's what we coach to all the time. I love that. I love that mantra What are some of the metrics that you you've been doing in your practice and your construction business that you're measuring? Karalynn Cromeens: So like in my firm, I'm watching every day on the income that's coming in, the hours that are generated, the hours that are billed the flat fees. Just watching all of that on a daily basis and, construction projects are kind of the same. I think you make a formula that you go off of. Right? And then you manage that to make sure. And then when you bid the job, knowing what it's actually going to cost, everything is accounted for and then making your markup. Right? I do think landscape companies are in a unique position, especially if they're service companies to create that service contract that allows that automatic renewal, which. Most construction companies don't get the benefit of a predictable income, right? If you have service contracts that bill monthly and that extend forever, you have that guaranteed income, which is, [00:22:00] you know, a guaranteed amount monthly also very attractive. If you're going to sell your business, because you can say, hey, look, I have this book, this cash coming in every month for my service client. So I think you really do have a way. And, but getting a contract for that makes it way more marketable. Cause if you don't have a contract, they can just stop paying at any time. Tommy Cole: at any time. Yeah, that's that's one of the benefits too. We have a lot of clients that don't they just they kind of go do The service and it's just never ending what we encourage is Have that annual contract or biannual or every three years and renew it and sign off on those things. Even though they could cancel As long as there's a 30 day notice, right? That's fine But have that agreement in hand if things get sticky, so that's also a previous one, but you also mentioned Several things that we do budget versus actual that's what we call like I bid the job at x It came out in x How crazy. It's like almost a check, [00:23:00] checkbook. Wait, we probably have some audience members that don't even know what a checkbook is, but like money coming in, money coming out, which is fine. Right. But that's the standard of writing in a checkbook. I kind of wish we'd go back to those days. You could physically see it all. Right. Karalynn Cromeens: Until you forgot to write something Tommy Cole: Yeah, I know. And they have to go backtrack. Like where was that 7 I spent somewhere? It's not adding up. My mom used to drive herself insane. Balancing the checkbook, right? And I'm like, mom, you're worried about 7. Like let's go. Yeah. Karalynn Cromeens: Your time is worth more than 7. Tommy Cole: know. I know Karalynn Cromeens: No, you're taking the time because like, like you said, you started out cause you're good at the business. You don't realize very quickly, it turns into the management of the business and making sure, you know, that all these things in that 7 getting lost somewhere that you don't know, it needs to be accounted for. Tommy Cole: Yeah, a hundred percent, you know, Job costing is a really interesting deal And when you do live job costing that's a game changer because It's [00:24:00] almost like, you're driving a large cruise ship, right? And you can't just like make changes immediately because it's got to evolve. But I want to know how we're doing every single day, right? Revenue coming in, money going out. Do we have any jobs we're bidding? Do we have anything in the pipeline? Do we have any sales coming, any calls, any leads, right? And it's this balance of sales and operations combined. And if you're looking at the metrics of the sales coming in and bidding versus what are we putting in the ground? What's the backlog? Is it two weeks or is it four months? And so you're constantly as a business owner, gauging those two ideas back and forth about the health of your business. But then let alone, you have things like HR, legal, onboarding. That's what we say is like, people didn't get a landscape business because they're super excited about HR and contracts, right? No, gosh. So that's why you've got to get really, [00:25:00] educated, right? Finance one on one those types of deals and partner with people like you to just like, can you review things for me? That's that's a few hundred dollars here and there is very well spent on something. Karalynn Cromeens: exactly. Exactly. Like that lien waiver, getting ready to sign. Are you signing away your lien rights without getting paid? You know, these things are all things you need to know and and you need to know in a timely fashion. Like, somebody sends you to something to sign it right? You want to know pretty soon if you should sign or you should not sign Tommy Cole: Yeah. Karalynn Cromeens: commercial contracts. How to handle lien rights Tommy Cole: Yeah. Okay. So I got another question. You kind of sparked my interest. This sort of lien rights about getting paid kind of in a snapshot As landscape business owners, what should they be doing to get paid? You know, there's this little like process of when you should do these things when you shouldn't You know 30 days or 60 days But you got to i've heard that you got to get a little ahead in the lien process early on Do you have any advice for that? Karalynn Cromeens: Yeah, so there's literally [00:26:00] 50 different ways to file lien just depends on the state that you're in. So what I recommend. Is knowing what the lien rights are for your state so that way you can protect yourself based on you're not in the middle of it saying, I'm on 100 grand. Now, what should I do? Right? You know, when you're like, some states have really notices that you have to go out with, like, California, Florida have really notices that have to go out when you 1st work. Other states don't have any notices to later on. So really diving in just to figure out what they are. Right? And then knowing who you're going to contact if something. If something arises, I think the biggest thing that any construction company can do is having a consistent collection strategy regardless of the promise of payment. Right? You know, if I'm not paid at 30 days, here's what I'm going to do. I'm not paid at 60 days. Here's what I'm going to do. And it doesn't matter. If somebody says they're going to pay me, that's great. Then come in and pay me. If not, this is what I'm going to do. Right and and and base that around the lien rights for your state. The 1 thing I can tell you that is most of them [00:27:00] have lien rights towards the end of the job. There's nothing wrong with sending a notice early. You can always send it early. You can always lean early sending it late when you get penalized. So, you know, really taking the time to dive in and figure out what it is for your state. We can have a conversation about it. I studied all 50 states. It's very different. I just, you know, very different per state on how they do that. But it is. The best leverage anyone in the construction industry has because besides residential contractors, most construction is you work and then wait to get paid and you're extending credit. And when you have a contract, you have an unsecured debt. If you file a lien, now the amounts you're owed are secured by the property, just like a mortgage or something else that you're entitled to be paid. And so there are extreme rights, but knowing how they work right for your state is important. Tommy Cole: Very well said I you you hit the nail on the head about collections Collections And, and most of us as business owners, it's not a standard [00:28:00] process to collect money. There's emotional attachment to some of these things. That's why we always recommend of signing the week to week, the day to day collections to somebody else. Cause there's not, Oh, I know Ms. Smith and she's okay. And she's fine. And you know, there's a few, yeah. Oh, the salesperson, right. Just get it to somebody that's the office manager. And they're like, they're calling, there's no attachment to it. But so we always recommend, you know, two, three days a week, calls, emails, texts, constant following up, but like invoice immediately, Karalynn Cromeens: Absolutely. Tommy Cole: right? Just get the invoice out the quicker and the longer. Karalynn Cromeens: that you're owing money, they're not going to pay you, right? Tommy Cole: And like when you're getting things done, they're most excited. Nothing's more frustrating than a month past you're already done. And then you invoice and they're like, well, something happened, this cracked or this died, or. Whatever it may be happens [00:29:00] and it's less every day that goes by. You're less likely to get paid in full, Karalynn Cromeens: Yeah, I agree. I agree. Tommy Cole: right? Love it. So collections, collections, and know your lien rights in each state, but I'm a huge fan of just collect it and be open with these people up front. Karalynn Cromeens: Well, that's what, like the contract, like if you're doing, even if you're doing just a two day job, we have deposit the remaining balance upon completion, being upfront about when you expect the money. If you're doing a longer job than that, that has milestone payments, spelling that out in the contract. And then when you issue, when you hit that milestone, sending them an invoice. And saying, you know, and that's the other thing too, send them an invoice and say, if you don't pay it within five days, I'm going to stop working. If you don't give yourself that right, you might not technically have it depending on the state that you're Tommy Cole: Yeah, right. Love it. Why the get shit done motto? Tommy Cole: So, I love the motto. That's behind your head. What, where did that come from? Karalynn Cromeens: Well, so I was writing an article about who I really represented and where I really came from. And I represent the get done crew. And [00:30:00] that's who I am because that's where I came from. And it's, I think it's hard to find a lawyer that has that same mindset as their clients of like, we're out there getting done. I need somebody that's going to get done on this side too. And that just became the model. Cause that's what we do. Tommy Cole: I love it. I was reading your bio earlier and, and you said, you know, a lot of lawyers can just be in the long game, right? Like I'm here and we're going to walk through this and we're going to talk about it and I'm going to bill you. And. It just it just drags out but yet Carolyn is a little bit different you're like i'm gonna get you to where you need to be and then you're going to go on to your construction It's no different than us as a I would love to hang out with you every single week and be on a coaching call But not really Let's work on this issue right now and get the heck out of here And move on to building your company and working on and when things arise That's what I like about you. And that's why I love the motto. It's, it's great. Karalynn Cromeens: Yeah, absolutely. Because like [00:31:00] you got, you don't want to spend time talking to me. I know I got things to do, like, you know, and, but that's my strategy with everything I do for my clients. It's not, I'm trying to find the quickest and most efficient way to the result that you want, right? Whether that's through leveraging a situation or designing a contract in five days, right? It just, that's my goal is to get it done so you can move on. You don't, you know, you don't want to spend money with a lawyer. Time is better spent growing your business. Tommy Cole: Yeah. What's one more nugget you can leave with our audience that you are living, die by this is, this is Carolyn to the T besides the getting shit done. Give me Karalynn Cromeens: All right. Tommy Cole: that's just, is it just hard work and putting in the time? Karalynn Cromeens: No, I think, I think you have to approach challenges from a different perspective, right? Because as business owners, we face tons of challenges and Every obstacle is a detour in the right direction. And that's Gabby Bernstein for everybody. I'm quoting her, meaning that if you have a challenge, don't get pissed off at [00:32:00] it. Figure a way around it and that's what you're supposed to learn, right? Business owners get pissed when things don't go the way that they're supposed to, but it's really a chance to dive in and to figure out how to fix it. So we can, we can learn from it. Tommy Cole: Actually, we signed up for this as entrepreneurs and business owners, right? Karalynn Cromeens: Exactly. And most of the stress comes from you're getting upset about a situation that is, is not the way you want it to be. Tommy Cole: Yeah, this is actually, it's an opportunity, right? It's opportunity to improve something in your business. That kind of is like a yellow flag. Like it's something we got to work on. It's no different than a sports franchise trying to win a game. Karalynn Cromeens: agree. Tommy Cole: Like if everyone went out there and perfected their job in a game, we wouldn't need managers and coaches and people like that along the way. At the end of the day Karalynn Cromeens: know. Tommy Cole: that's, that's the difference in business. It's Karalynn Cromeens: I agree. I was watching a speech by Jensen Wong, who is the huge [00:33:00] I. T. success and he was speaking. And he says, I wish you lots of. Pain, pain brings innovation and growth, Tommy Cole: yes Karalynn Cromeens: and so, Tommy Cole: yes, Karalynn Cromeens: you know, unfortunately, that's growth comes from that stuff. If you want to grow and you want to innovate. There's pain involved. Tommy Cole: the reality we live in, right? It's the reality of it. It's no different than. You know, at my age or my son's age, you know, and at the end of the day, you're supposed to go through challenges in life to build your skin much thicker than others. And if you, if you don't want that, there's, there's people that just were like, I'm good where I'm at, I'm going to go clock in and take care of my business and I'm out of here. And there's plenty of them, but if you're wanting a successful business and you want to be, provide for families and people and make a huge name for us, cause there's. ungodly amount of opportunities in this country that's, that's are massive. Then go get up and go [00:34:00] after it. At the end of the day, everything that like evolves, are small obstacles to your entire journey, right? It's a long journey. Karalynn Cromeens: just having, just having faith that you're going to figure it out because you'll, you'll figure it out. It's going to suck. It's going to be painful, might take a lot of time, Tommy Cole: Yeah. Karalynn Cromeens: it out. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Love it. Well, Carolyn, it's always been a huge pleasure. Thank you for joining us on our, our show. We have a tons of like little nuggets. About what to do to not get in trouble illegally. Like get your business set up with an LLC incorporation, all that get contracts signed, like don't be that awkward person get them signed, get the subcontractor signed up, have a reoccurring thing with your subs every single year, get things updated, have the small work orders with them for each and every job along the way. I love this. What gets measured, gets managed. At the end of the day, it should be about the income coming in and out, expenses in and out, [00:35:00] same month transactions, jobs, budget versus actual, she's running construction practice, she's running a law firm practice, we do landscaping. It's all the same at the end of the day, just a different product, right? You got to manage the numbers just as much as we do. And my most favorite thing is just get shit done. I love it. Thanks again, Carolyn. Karalynn Cromeens: Thank you for having me. John: Ready to take the next step? Download our free Profitability Scorecard to quickly create your own baseline financial assessment and uncover the fastest ways to improve your business. Just go to McFarlinStanford.com/scorecard to get yours today To learn more about McFarlin Stanford our best in class peer groups and other services go to our website at McFarlinStanford.com And don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. See you next time on the Roots of Success.