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How Much Are You Worth?
by Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach
It’s a simple question: how much per hour are you worth?
If you asked a room full of attorneys what they are worth per hour, do you think they would be able to give you an answer? How accurate do you think their answers would be? If you asked your financial planner how much he or she makes per hour, do you think you would get an accurate answer? Of course you would. It does not matter if you are talking to attorneys, doctors, or plumbers… they know what to charge per hour, because they know what they are worth.
If you were to ask ten random appraisers how much they make per hour, how many of them would be able to tell you accurately? Let me answer for you; less than one. How do I know? I have asked this very question to well over 1,000 appraisers at this point. Less than a dozen have been able to answer with any degree of confidence.
I often hear my appraiser peers complain that they are not treated like the professionals that they are. Some even get upset at me when I use the word “industry” to describe the career we have chosen to be a part of. Yet when it comes down to it, do we run our businesses like professionals or technicians? I can tell you that the answer is more often the latter.
Why is it so important to know what we make or at least what we are worth per hour? The answer can and should affect nearly every other decision we make in our business. Yet, most of the decisions we make have foundations in fees rather than value (an interesting paradox for sure given what we do for a living). How does this thinking play out? We quote fees for our services based mostly on what our peers are charging rather than what we are worth. When we get a call from a client with a potential order in our area, we quote what we think will be competitive with other appraisers vying for the same job rather than what we believe the job is actually worth.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am not saying this mentality can be completely avoided in the world in which we live. On a micro level, we live and work in a capitalistic (and also highly regulated) world and undercutting our competition is a matter of daily life. Yet, our macro thinking can and must be different for our long-term survival.
Every appraisal business owner should find quiet time on a regular basis to evaluate their business and how things are going. What is your overhead? What are you really paying in taxes? How much do you spend on the little things in your business? Do you have employees? Are they being paid enough? Are they being paid too much? In general, are you charging enough for your services? If not, make a change. It may require that you change completely the type of clients you work for. Unfortunately, many appraisers keep themselves so busy in the day-to-day grind that this “quiet time” never occurs. Consequently, they continue to live paycheck to paycheck and wonder why they are not getting ahead (even in a busy appraisal period).
Now, I am not naive. I realize that this article is more simplistic than reality. The world we live in is the world we live in. We must be realistic. You cannot begin tomorrow by deciding to start charging $1,000 for a 1004UAD and expect to stay in business. However, ignorance of what you are worth per hour is not a path to prosperity.
Successful business owners know their numbers. They know what is coming in the front door, what is being used up, and what is going out the back. They are able to make wise business decisions because they are keenly aware of what they are worth. Are you?
August Webinar: Efficiencies & Increasing Your Business Bottom Line
Presented By: Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach
Part 1: August 11th, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. PST
Part 2: August 18th, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. PST
“The seminar was very helpful and encouraging in time-saving mobile applications! Thank you for making it available!” – James W.
Are you still hung up on old ways of doing business? Have you adopted the latest technology to help you be more efficient and get more done? Today’s appraisal industry is rapidly changing. With increasing demand on appraisers’ time and attention, it’s more important than ever for appraisers to have the tools, systems, and knowledge they need to leverage technology and run an effective, efficient appraisal office. Whether you’re new to appraising with mobile tools, or you’re looking to sharpen your skills, this webinar gives you actionable steps that you can take today to be more efficient and effective with mobile tools and run your business like a pro. Sign Up Now!
Did you miss the acclaimed How to Support and Prove Your Adjustments webinar by Richard Hagar, SRA? Expand your knowledge and learn quick and simple methods for proving adjustments that improve the quality of your reports and help you avoid problems, blacklisting and legal actions. Sign Up Now!
Save with a Season Ticket!
Increase your value as an appraiser with all six webinars from our Summer Series, including How to Support and Prove Your Adjustments. Enjoy these on demand webinars at your leisure!.
$237 Season Ticket: $149 (six webinars)
About the Author
Dustin Harris is a successful, self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He also owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth. His free podcast can be listened to on iTunes and Stitcher. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin is also a regular presenter for Working RE/OREP’s webinar series (see below). He is helplessly addicted to Swedish Fish.
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