(Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, CFP®, or CPA®, physician, etc., thus do not offer legal, financial, accounting, or medical advice. You should not interpret anything in this blog to be legal, financial, medical, or tax/accounting advice since there is no such advice here. If you want or need such advice, please contact the proper professional(s), not me.
This is the final part of a three-part series addressing how well are your business and your financial situations set up for now and the future.
#5 Have you Made Yourself Dispensable?
In other words, have your trained your staff to make-do professionally and seamlessly in your absence? Appraisers tend to be hands-on folks and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you have to make every decision, if you have to review every report before it goes to the client, if you have to sign every check, if you have to handle every complaint that comes in from clients and consumers, if you are the only one who knows how to fix the server, then you have made yourself indispensable. That may make you feel important, true. But then, how do you go on vacation? How do you take CE? How do you take the time to get your knee replaced? If you are indispensable, then the business can’t run without you. Which means your business, your cash machine, dries up if you are not there, nose to the grindstone, every day. How wise is that? If you are indispensable, it may be time to bring in business consultants to train you to train your people to make you dispensable.
#6: Do you Delegate?
Why are you still typing reports? Somebody must do so, but why you? If you can bill your time out as an appraiser at $50 or more per hour, then hire somebody at $12 an hour to type reports. That should be obvious, yet too many appraisers don’t understand the Law of Delegation. Face it, if you can bill $75,000 per year doing everything yourself, could you bill even more if you paid someone to do the Tier I and Tier II work so you could spend more time in appraising?
Why do you have to review every report that goes out the door? Could you hire a semi-retired, experienced appraiser, on an independent contractor, on a per-appraisal basis, to do the reviews for you? You’ll still give them a quick once-over before you sign them. Nevertheless, if you hire an experienced appraiser, who knows what you (and the client!) want in an appraisal and report, why don’t you free yourself up to do more appraisal work?
Let’s face it: your doctor does not weigh you and take your blood pressure; a PA does that. The doctor diagnoses and treats, which is what doctors get paid (a whole lot of money!) to do. PAs (who make a whole lot more than appraisers!) do the lesser work so the doctor can do the greater work (and generate the income to pay the PA). We may not as educated as are physicians, but are we any less professional? Are we any less able to learn from them?
#7: And the Point of All of This Dustin is What?
The point of all of this is to start planning for retirement at age 25, not age 65. We appraisers generally don’t have a big company behind us to set up and fund a pension – we must do that ourselves. Therefore, get with a financial planner now and set up an IRA or a Keogh plan so you will have the money to retire. Begin now to invest in whatever you want to invest in for a retirement income (and/or a legacy to your children and grandchildren).
Get with an attorney now to set your business up properly so that, when the time is right, you can sell it easily and quickly for as much money as is possible. Get with an attorney now to set up your estate so that after you are gone, your heirs get as much as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor for a full physical. If the doctor recommends lifestyle changes (see discussions on stress and being dispensable earlier), then make them. Depending on how old you are (and your state of health), it might even make sense now to pre-pay (therefore lock in) your funeral arrangements.
Learn how to delegate so you are dispensable and your company, your cash machine, can go on chugging-out cash. Get the insurance plan(s) you need now, get the succession plans you need now, get the legal and accounting counsel you need now so whenever that time comes that you want or need to move on, you can, with as little worry as possible.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 163 – Preparing Your Appraisal Business for the Future