To Lien or Not to Lien . . .

How do you determine when it is time to place a mechanic’s lien on a job on which you just can’t seem to collect the amount due?  Do you have certain policies set?  I constantly have customers ask me when they should begin the process. 

Several begin the lien process immediately following the end of a job.  Some send a pre-lien notice hoping that will encourage their customer to pay.  Other clients send a notice of intent stating that a lien is just around the corner should they not receive payment.  Others wait until two weeks before the deadline to file a lien.

At what point do you begin the mechanic’s lien process?  What other tactics do you use to collect past due amounts? What policies have you set in place and why?