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Are Demand Letters Really Effective?

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No contractor wants to find themselves entangled in a long, drawn-out lawsuit with an owner who refuses to pay. Unfortunately, it often seems like litigation is the only way to coerce an owner into doing the right thing. At Cotney Construction Law, our attorneys are dedicated to helping contractors get paid for their work, but our process doesn’t default to litigation. After all, litigation is timely and expensive, and you need to be able to continue generating a profit regardless of the actions of one errant owner. 

In this article, a Jacksonville construction lawyer will discuss one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools at a contractor’s disposal: the demand letter. When a Jacksonville construction lawyer pens a demand letter on your behalf, an unsavory owner will second-guess their decision to withhold payment.

The Forerunner to a Lawsuit

Before you find yourself up in arms over nonpayment, remember that procuring due payment is a process, and you don’t want to skip steps. When you consult a Jacksonville construction attorney, they will take you through the preferred process for getting paid. Typically, this starts with a well-drafted demand letter that clearly outlines the financial grievance. A demand letter is an important forerunner to a lawsuit because it’s practical and cost-effective. In many cases, an owner will play games until the threat of legal action is evident. This effect can be readily achieved through the use of a demand letter that outlines the dispute, demand, and deadline, among other information.

4 Reasons to Send a Demand Letter

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of sending a demand letter prior to seeking litigation. In countless cases, demand letters have proven to be sufficient for obtaining due payment when litigation seemed like the only option. Here’s why:

  1. Demand letters show the owner that you’re serious about getting paid.
  2. Sending a demand letter prior to litigation is a sign of good faith in the eyes of the law.
  3. In court, the language in your demand letter can support your case.
  4. Successful demand letters significantly reduce the cost of getting paid.

Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Demand Letter

While a demand letter can be an effective tool for procuring payment, writing and sending your own letter is not advised. Simply put, your signature doesn’t have the weight and power of a legal professional’s. When an owner sees a demand letter penned on legal letterhead, they will understand that the situation is progressing, and not in their favor. Plus, if you fail to pen a professionally written letter or leave out certain details, it could affect your ability to get paid.

If you would like to speak with a Jacksonville construction litigation attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.