I recently saw a Facebook post where an appraiser was quite upset and offended that an AMC asked him to dress professionally for an appraisal walkthrough. Now, this was a request that was made up front as one of the conditions for accepting the order. Reading the post, it sounded like this appraiser was upset for two reasons. One, he was offended that the AMC was implying that he does not take his job seriously enough or dress professionally enough. Two, he felt like the AMC did not have a right to tell him how to do his job (i.e. how to dress).
First let me say that I personally do not think it was the AMC’s intention to imply that this appraiser is not professional in any way. I simply think that they were taking extra precautions to make sure the borrower was extremely impressed by the service they, and the appraiser who they hired, provided. Now, on to the real question. Can an AMC tell an appraiser how to dress? And the answer is yes.
I have several employees. Now I do not do this, but if I hire an employee, I can have them wear a uniform or stick to a dress code. They may choose to ignore that dress code, but they may also lose their job. In other words, an employee is not really empowered to say no to a boss’s request without risking their job.
Now, you may be thinking, “Well Dustin, appraisers are not typically employees. They are independent contractors and business owners. Sure you can tell W4 Employees what to wear, but you cannot tell us what to wear.” You are right. It is a slightly different situation.
The client is the one hiring you. They are giving you a paycheck. They are paying your bills. They have a right to ask you to do certain things when you complete work for them. But guess what; you also have a right to say no, and if you say no, you are not going to lose your job as an appraiser. You may lose an order, or a client, but you ultimately are not going to lose your job. That is the difference. You have a choice.
I do a lot of work in the Jackson Hole area, and I often appraise estates that belong to high profile individuals. I have had AMCs call me and ask me to do things a little differently while appraising these properties. Some common requests are dressing up and wearing a tie, keeping the owners confidentiality, and being careful when taking pictures to not reveal who lives there. Yes these things require more effort, but I also get paid a lot more for these types of assignments. It is personally worth it to me to go the extra mile and respect the client’s above and beyond wishes. However, if I felt the client was asking for outrageous things, or if I felt it was not worth my time, I could always say no.
Folks, you have a choice. If you feel a client is asking too much of you, then simply say no. It does not make any sense to complain about it or assume a victim attitude. No one is forcing you to do these things. If you do not want to do them, move on to a different assignment or a different client.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: