Don’t Settle:  Stop lowering your fees

Written by on February 22, 2018

Nobody wants to be underpaid for their work. But when the market slows down, it can seem like you have no other option. You might end up gritting your teeth and taking low-fee orders just to pay the bills.
Trust us: it doesn't have to be this way.
Lowering your fees is counterproductive — and it's completely avoidable. In fact, there are a number of tried-and-true strategies you can use to protect yourself against the ups and downs of the market. You might even start flourishing during the lean months!

Up your marketing game.
For many appraisers, "selling" themselves might not come naturally. If it did, you might've ended up as a real estate agent or broker instead of an appraiser!
Still, there are steps you can take to improve your image as the go-to appraiser in your area. Are you involved in your local community? Do you take the time to go to conferences and mingle with professionals who routinely need appraisal work? Do you have a website?
All of these things can work together to bolster your professional reputation. And, when people are aware of the quality of your work, they're more likely to pay well for it.
Take on more private valuation and non-lender jobs.
Lender work is where most of your income comes from. We get that. But sometimes, getting paid what you deserve can be a little bit of a challenge. That's why diversifying your revenue streams is important.
CPAs, attorneys, bail bondsmen, FSBO… if you're willing to take them on, there are tons of job markets out there for which higher fees are the norm. Make sure you don't undervalue your private work based on what someone else says you should charge!

Raise your fees — a little at a time.
This one is a long-term strategy, so it doesn't need to be dramatic. Start with just $5 every month. For example, let's say you typically charge $400 for an appraisal. Start charging $405 on all your orders for this month. Next month, start charging $410.
If you do roughly 250 appraisals a year, you'll get $15,000 in extra income from your incremental monthly increases! Remember, even clients that offer a one-size-fits-all fee structure are often open to negotiation — and standing your ground is far better for your income over the course of a year than dropping your quote due to outside pressure.
Consider a website for your business.
All of the approaches above can tie in directly to your online presence. A business website facilitates your public persona, helps you locate more non-lender jobs, streamlines the ordering process for clients, and lets you advertise your fee structure as it changes.
Not sure how to get started? Click here to download our free eBook on building an effective appraiser website. And, read our last Don't Settle blog post for more info, including helpful tips for beginners.
At the end of the day, we know that appraising is no walk in the park. There's an amazing amount of meticulous work that goes into your reports. And no matter which approach you choose, you should never have to settle for lower fees than you deserve.

So, ready to start filling your pipeline with high-fee orders? Our XSites are perfect if you want a website that's easy to set up and that's tailored to the appraisal industry out of the box. Plus, they come with our automated email system, XSellerate, so you can build your client base with set-and-forget marketing. XSites are $70 off until February 28th, so get yours today!

Don't forget to read our previous Don't Settle blogs: