If you’re like many commercial fee appraisers, you might be thinking about closing your doors. Selling to a national firm. Maybe you’ve already sold. Congratulations! To those who haven’t, read on.
You’ve had your company for decades but you’ve run out of gas. Tired of the management. Tired of worrying about keeping your appraisers busy. You’re discouraged when young appraisers you’ve trained leave after 12 months. You’re not alone.
There’s an alternative.
Double down on yourself.
Appraisal work is slow, so now’s the time.
3 Steps to take back your firm
Step #1 Choose to take the challenge. Decide that keeping your own firm is something you still love.
Step #2 Conduct an honest office autopsy on why your business is slow, identify why you struggle to attract new talent and the reason for lackluster productivity. Be real with yourself.
Get Help, Get Help, Get Help
I can’t say it enough. Get help. If you’re a technician, which most commercial appraisers are, you need a coach.
Maybe you want to start small and need someone to create report templates, job setup, research or rebranding of your site. There’s a ton of talent on Upwork.
Pick an in-house go-to person that you can lean on to implement these improvements. This is critical that you identify somebody that’s “in it to win it.” This should not necessarily just be a “young” appraiser you happen to have on the payroll. This go-to person needs to share your vision of where you want your firm to go.
“Repositioning your firm for success isn’t a DIY project.”
Maybe you just need help with the documentation of process with playbooks. Consider Alyson Caffrey, founder of Operations Agency. Organizational tools to help your “new” firm might include Slack or Teams (instant messaging), Click-up (project management), Loom (LMS videos to train new appraisers), Hubspot (CRM/customer success management) and DataComp Suite (comp database, report writing and workflow).
Consider open book management like The Great Game of Business to improve office culture. This system can be a game changer when your people understand a basic P&L that helps drive metrics. “Game-ify” your appraisal firm to educate your employees of how their production influences the company’s finances. This will also result in more engaged employees.
Move away from the usual day-to-day worries of an appraisal firm and rethink your path. Do an energy audit on yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your energy level to take on the opportunity to recreate your firm.
Be honest with yourself. Has fatigue set in and you no longer get excited about your valuation art? Spend some time on this stage. The fatigue may be a result of lack of direction (that’s why you might need coaching), process and technology.
Consider re-building your appraisal firm to run smoothly, create consistent financial results and build your team the right way. This will result in attracting and delighting your customers. Be prepared that some existing employees might not be able to make the journey that you’re asking… and that’s ok. Set out your vision clearly and put the right people in the right seats on the bus.
Re-establish bank relationships
Appraisal departments struggle to keep high quality appraiser vendors. For many appraisers, it’s been years since they’ve talked to chief appraisers and reconnected. It’s important for both bank and fee appraisers to understand the changes you’re making to your firm.
Perhaps you’ve hired new appraisers that specialize in nursing homes or c-stores. The chief appraiser can then go into their appraisal management platform like YouConnect and change your firm’s profile. This provides real work opportunity.
Invest in yourself – best ROI
Your bank clients would love to know that you’re reinvesting in your firm. They would be very interested that you’re establishing new processes and focusing on improved productivity.
Rekindle the love of your firm.
Want a business and a work life you love? Elevate with process, software and culture.