I have a small, single-family rental property. Recently, the house was vacant and in need of some flooring work. A home inspector once gave me some sage advice. “If you aren’t familiar with the potential companies you want to hire, always get at least three bids,” he counseled, “then, go with the middle one. That way, you do not pay top dollar, but you also don’t get the company who is always scraping the bottom of the barrel for business.” Obviously, that advice may not always pan out, but in this case, it was likely the best option. I tried his advice and called three hardwood-flooring companies. The company in the middle was not much less expensive than the highest priced servicer, but it came with better customer reviews.
Generally, I run my business in a similar way. I try to keep abreast of the local appraisal fee trends. I look at surveys, talk to others, and have been known to ‘mystery shop’ appraisal fees. I am not the guy offering to do things at the lowest price, but I am also not usually the highest priced game in town either. It is more important to me to be the company with the best reputation than with the lowest prices.
There are many appraisers who are pretty upset right now with some of the shenanigans being played by some appraisers (who will remain unnamed) in some markets (which will remain unsaid). From the outside, it would seem that certain appraisers do not place a very high value on their own services. That is too bad. It makes us all look bad to some degree.
I hear appraisers across the country often say things like, “I hate AMCs. They do not care how good I am at my job; they only care about who will do it for the cheapest dollar.” That may be true in some cases, but it has not been my experience for the most part. I put all of my clients into three categories as I have experience with them. A Clients, B Clients, and Y Clients. You can probably guess what A and B Clients look like. Y Clients are the “Why (Y) the hell am I working for you?” Clients. Those are the clients who I purge from my list and never look back.
I see appraisers on social media constantly being up in arms about the advertised orders they are receiving over email and, “Some dipstick accepted it for dirt cheap.” Here is my question, “If you are so upset by a certain AMC’s way of doing business, why are you still doing business with that AMC?” Isn’t it time to move on and focus your attention on your A and B Clients?
Another complaint I hear often is centered on scorecards. “What other professional gets scored like an elementary student?” I often hear. Actually, all of them do. Oh, they may not get an emailed attachment showing turn time, number of revision requests, and other information, but be assured all are constantly being evaluated by clients (all of them). Frankly, I prefer a scorecard being emailed to me on a monthly basis rather than guessing or not knowing how I am measuring up in my client’s eyes to my competition. I know the argument is they use arbitrary criteria on which to judge us. That is a fair point, but I again remind us all that we do have a choice in whom we work for. Ultimately, the decision is ours and if a client does not measure up to our own scorecards, there are other fish in the sea.
I was recently sent a meme from a member of my All Star Team. It said, “If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur.” Oh, how true that is. Whether you are hiring a hardwood floor company or pricing your own appraisal fees to your clients, remember that a professional is paid well. Ask for what you are worth, and be worthy of your hire.
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