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Be careful what you ask for this new year!!!!

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Frederick R. Ruffell

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
As many of you know I am just approaching 5 years in the business. Last year was a banner year for many of us myself included. Last year 90% of my income came from 1 client. So I took it upon myself to develop a second "good" large volume full fee client, as I felt I had all of my eggs in one basket. Well I got teh new client on board and they have asked to send me 40+ appraisals a month!!! I have hired a clerical assistant and man things are crazy, good crazy. Next I get a call from a small client (5 orders a year) asking for a rush appraisal. I quote a fee of $750 and without a pause in the conversation they accept!!!

I am wondering how others across the country are doing in terms of volume/fees?
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
My 11 top clients have just over 50% of my business. My biggest client has 11% of my business.

IMNSHO you are still in a very precarious position. Either one of your clients leave and you could be in trouble.

As for extra fees for hurry-up jobs, Judy says absolutely NOT!!!! Everyone plays by the same rules: First come first serve unless it is a sale and then it gets priority treatment no matter who the client is.....and at the normal fee.

BTW, what happens if you charge $750 for a 24 hour rush appraisal and it comes in too low to be useful in the loan? Have you fought that battle yet?
 

Pine Tree

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Maine
I learned a very valuable lesson from my brother in law in my first year of business. He said if a client is 10% of your business they should take 10% of your time... and no one client should have more than 10% of your time. I have tried to stay within that guideline.. Like you I had one client the first year that was about 50 % of my volume.. and the large producing L/O left that company and went to another company that worked with a AMC... Gone! Just like that! We were fortunate that the market was strong at the time and we were able to replace the loss with a few clients eager to come on board.. But it sure could have been different.. So I try to live by what I think of as the 10 /10 rule.. Just my Brother in Law's $0.02 Peace, Wendy
 

Karl

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
My prediction is MANY of the so called Mortgage Co's will be closing there doors this year. Treat the customers good that have treated U good.
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
8)

Prior to opening my own business in 1990, I worked for a friend and mentor, who is still a great friend. I saw how the loss of a single client hurt him a few times. So, when I opened my own business I started to diversify right away. Now I have business from the VA(about 20%), FHA Appraisals(about 5%), and clients too numerous to count that form the other 75%. On a daily basis my company probably rejest 2-3 request. This is usually based on low fees, or required quick turn around time. Also, some are no more than hidden request for a comp search which we will not do. Over that past several years we have built up a good clientele that pays us top dollar, is appreciative when we consult with them concerning a properties condition, and let them know when we discover legal or technical issues that require their attention. While we do not do a comp search for anyone, we will let a good client know that the estimayed value they give us is likely not to be possible as it is well above the market for a particular property type. We try to be fair, honest, and take time to discuss matters of concern. That has given us a good, solid client base. We could lose half that base tomorrow and still make out fairly well, We get our fair share of jerks, and non payers. that happens only once. I still get at least a call once a month from a former client that took a year to pay an invoice. I refuse all request to do business with them. Also, I turn over all long term(over 90 days)invoices to National Credit Services in New York, NY. When they get finnished with them, they are happy to pay.

We serve our clients well. We expect to be paid well.

Don
 

Willie

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Tennessee
I have been in this business for 10 years. I still have clients thjat make up a large %. At one time I had a single client pay me a whole lot of money per year. It's hard to turn that down, especially if it is good work from honest people. As Bruce Springsteins song says, "I'm Still Here and They're all gone." Now, I have been trying to limit this problem. Biggest advantage so far, besides obvious diversfication, is that I can now go on vacation. My clients are dependant on me, but not just me. They use other appraisers too and I can go too the beech.
 
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