In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the State of Idaho shut down, my company and I took a remote appraisal assignment. Because of the local stay-at-home order, we ended up having the borrower take the interior photographs of this property. He grumbled and complained, but eventually did as we asked. A short while after we had submitted the report to our client, I received an email from them stating that they had received a complaint from the borrower that we had overcharged him since he had had to take the pictures, and asking if they could get a partial refund for the photos that had been taken.
This can be a tricky situation. On the one hand, what this man said was true – we hadn’t taken any of the interior photos, and having him do so was an inconvenience to him. But on the other hand, when you consider the back and forth we had to do with him to get the pictures we needed, it would have been easier to just drive out there and take pictures myself. Nevertheless, I took the complaint into consideration, and looked at everything we had done to make sure we hadn’t done anything out of place. I ultimately decided that we hadn’t.
My client received a moderately long, carefully worded email, explaining to them why I’d made the pricing decision I had, and why I was not going to grant the request of a partial refund in this case. I opted to educate and inform – in a professional manner, of course – rather than make the requested price adjustment.
There are times when I decide to just take the cut in order to preserve a long-term relationship with a client, and it’s important to know when the time is appropriate for that. However, there is also something to be said for charging for your expertise, not just your labor. Sometimes knowing is half the battle!
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: