I Don’t Do What My Competitors Do

I remember a time when I lived from paycheck to paycheck, and I worked 60 to 90 hours a week. Much of my life was lived out of fear. Fear that I would not be able to make ends meet and provide for my growing family. I lived like this for the first twelve years of owning an appraisal business. It was at that point that I decided to make a change. My business did not transform overnight, but through hard work and consistent baby steps, I have been able to build a thriving business where I no longer work insane hours or live out of fear.

For example, I  used to answer my own phones, schedule my own appointments, and update all of my clients. I no longer do that. I used to upload the reports to the clients once they were finished. I don’t do that either. I used to use a clipboard and pen and then have to reenter the information back at the office. I no longer do any of these things. They are all small, incremental changes, but added up – they make a difference.

There is a reason that I am more successful than many of my local competitors, and it is because I don’t do what they do. It is ridiculous to continue to do business the way you always have and expect to achieve different results. If you are not willing to change the model of a struggling appraisal business, then that business won’t be successful.

I encourage you to think outside the box. Change can be scary. I understand that it is difficult to try something new especially when it comes to your source of income, but I encourage you to take that next step in moving your business to the next level.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 257 Who The Hell Cares What Your Competition Is Doing?

12 thoughts on “I Don’t Do What My Competitors Do”


    1. Joseph, Dustin has magic appraiser powers that controls borrowers minds and only does inspections on certain pre-determined days/dates that they must conform to. Unlike my area of practice where its typical for 2 adults to work 60 to 90 hours a week to be able to afford housing, I think the Idaho state constitution demands borrowers to be on call for the coach.

      Seek the truth.

  2. I have delegated some things to someone else and I can do it faster and more efficiently. I don’t have to have someone do these little things. I think everyone is looking to delegate, which is good on somethings. I’ve done very well the past 20 years without hoping someone else will do it. I spend no extra time answering to a client, uploading a report, these things don’t take time. I I had several people working for me, yes I would have a admin, but I’m free to do what I want when I want. Dont want to answer to an admin either because they have eternal QUESTIONS!!

  3. When you complete 4 to 8 appraisals a day (or is it 5 to 9 a day) with as little as a 30 minute review, work 4 days a week with one day being an office day, rub shoulders with the elites at the expo, are a member of REVAA (is that pending?), and approve and support of the AMC model (only the good ones), I would agree with your statement “I don’t do what my competitors do”.

    Are you still running the 2 for 1 VHS tape sale? I want the one where you discuss rounding the sketch to the nearest millimeter instead of the nearest 16th of an inch.

    Seek the truth.

  4. Denise Verlander

    My husband and I work together and he schedules all my appointments, based on the time frames I tell him I want to do inspections. He updates all of our clients, accepts and opens all the orders, keep track of all the billing and payments, and basically runs the office. So all I have to do is concentrate on being an appraiser. I love my job and hate the office work. This efficiency has changed my life. Together we are making way more money than we did back when I did it all. So thinking outside the box really works. Thanks, Dustin

    1. In CA where the minimum wage will soon be $15 an hour, and the professional work you described Denise (husband wearing of so many hats) will run you about $30, the benefit / reward becomes much steeper to offset for the trouble. In my county (San Diego), good luck fighting it out with 900+ other licensed appraisers (all within 25 miles from me) when 1004’s are often just over $300, and units are just over $400 (by volume / NOT my fees). You’l need to double or triple your output (2 to 3 times more liability), just to offset such expenses.

      Seek the truth.

      1. Hey Bill I’m not trying to be mean but if that is the situation for appraising in California it’s either time to find a new career or another state where you can thrive. That is the truth.

        1. No offense taken Tim. I do mostly VA work (took 10+ years for a spot to open up) and direct credit union work (NO AMC’s) so MY personal situation is much different from the typical appraiser in my area (80% of volume is via AMC’s). That being said, there’s a reason the state of CA went from over 20,000 licensed appraisers (+/- 15 years ago), to just under 10,000 today (900 in my county), and those reasons are what I often expose (see previous exposed low fees). Unfortunately, in seeking the truth and exposing the truth there are many (perhaps at the top) who don’t want to listen. Think of it like this Tim, within my single county of coverage (3.3 million population) nearly 1 in 80 of every licensed appraiser is within 25 miles of me. Expanded out to include surrounding counties and the appraiser population approaches +/- 6,000 appraisers. Put another way, if the entire state of Idaho has 450 licensed appraisers, and my single county has 900, perhaps i’m exposed to twice the volume of the entire state of Idaho.

          My point being Tim, instead of shooting the messenger which is often the case, understand it most likely has already happened in my county or surrounding counties first, and will thus be coming to your area next.

          Seek the truth.

          1. Bill that is the nature of life. We are guaranteed nothing. So if it does come here I will have to adapt and adjust to survive. It may not be how we want it to be but that is just how it is. I can tell you that currently here in North Carolina there is plenty of work and the fees have went up over the last few years. Most of my work is done for AMCs and although not perfect to work for I’m satisfied with my overall experience. I have few complaints now but haven’t had many over the last 15 years if ever. Now that could change in the future that could require me to change. I just feel that in any business we have to change and adapt constantly because that is the world we live in now. In my opinion California is a terrible place to have a business with it being totally dominated by the Democrats. If anyone chooses to live and work there I wish them well.

  5. Great comments, Dustin! Really on point in our industry, where significant fluctuations make financial stability difficult. I’m sure your readers would like to hear more about how to go about achieving this degree of success. I believe many are afraid to take the risk and hire someone (part time to start) to help them reach their business milestone goals. They are so overworked that they end up losing clients as they don’t have the time or patient attitude to respond appropriately. Additionally, most appraisers create their personal financial budgets based upon ‘best of times’ workload and billing, resulting in scary shortfalls when things slow down. Living in fear is the worst part of being an appraiser, but it can be overcome with financial discipline, proper budgeting, and by aligning business objectives with appraiser quality of life.

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