How an Appraiser Tries to Acquire New Clients
Trying to acquire new clients can be extremely frustrating, time consuming and exhausting. However, persistency will surely pay off especially if you can land a gem of a client. It’s difficult to acquire new clients because many potential clients have long standing business relationships with their appraisers. Clients like this would be accountants, attorneys, brokers & loan officers that are able to order their own appraisals. In order to get in the door with one of these clients, you have to be persistent and you have to stand out. I usually send a one page flyer with bullet points representing my service. I point out that I have the lowest fees out there, have a 24-Hr Guaranteed Turnaround, show my experience, my coverage areas, tell them that I am an expert for appraising in their field. In my experience to attain a single order from a single client, you would need to send out up to 200 flyers via fax or mail. And once you get that chance, you must provide them with the most ridiculous service they’ve ever seen.
Other clients like AMC’s (Appraisal Management Companies) are much easier to get work from. However the reward from acquiring a random AMC client is usually minimal. This is because of reduced fees, strict time deadlines, constant harassment for the “status” of the appraisal and so forth. The revision requests for each appraisal can take the same time to complete as it takes to write an entire appraisal for a non-banking purpose. I’m not a fan of working for AMC’s at all and try hard every day to acquire more non-banking clients in order to have higher fees and less stress.
The dream client is a bank or other type of lending institution that gives you work directly. The fees are usually very generous and the harassment very minimal. The appraiser in turn provides the best customer service and quality work to keep this client happy. Acquiring a client like this is very difficult because they usually aren’t accepting any new appraisers. But if you call at the right time, you may get lucky.
Attaining appraisal work randomly online is a great option but the cost is very high. Adwords on google, yahoo, bing is very expensive with a cost per click rate around $3. In my experience you get 1 assignment for every 25-30 clicks. That means 1 assignment costs around $75 – $90. And in order to compete, fees must be very low which means your profit margins are very tight. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is also another option which yields organic results; however the monthly fee for this is also very high. It is true that to make money you need to spend money. However, advertising on craigslist has shown to yield business here and there with no advertising costs.