Truckee-Tahoe Lumber in Truckee, Calif., mails a “pre-lien” notice to all customers who order more than $2,500 worth of materials for a job. Basically, the notice alerts the customer to the lumberyard’s intent to file a lien if the builder doesn’t pay. Along with the pre-lien notice, Truckee-Tahoe includes a friendly letter stressing that this isn’t an actual lien, just a reminder that the dealer expects to be paid. The pre-lien notice also helps builders when dealing with their customers because they can tell homeowners that a lien is likely unless they pay up. In part because of this practice, Truckee-Tahoe recorded zero bad debt writeoffs in 2012.