Do You Need an Appraiser Driver?

Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

Certified Real Estate Appraiser at The Appraiser Coach
A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on e-AppraisersDirectory.com
Dustin Harris

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Driver for Appraisal Inspections? Do You Need an Appraiser Driver?Using a Driver for Appraisal Inspections…

Anyone who’s followed me for a while knows that I have three main aims. I want to help real estate appraisers make their business more efficient, more effective, and generate more money.

People almost always assume that making more money relies only on cutting costs. This is completely inaccurate. If you become more efficient and more effective, and work smarter instead of working harder, then you’ll start boosting your income. In the past, one of the ways in which I’ve made my work more efficient, and in effect spent money to make more money, is by hiring a driver.

A lot of real estate appraisers are probably reeling backwards from their screen right about now. There’s a general view of appraisers as being very individualistic; of being go-getters who get the job done on their own. I’ll be honest; it took me a while to come around to the idea too.

Two main realizations helped me come around, and reach the point that I’m at now. Firstly, I realized just how much time we – and I mean all people – spend doing nothing productive. I’ll use myself as an example. I average over 100 miles per day on my inspections (I live/work a very rural area). Think about how much time that is: I don’t even want to try counting up how many hours I sat in my car doing absolutely nothing productive, before I started hiring drivers.

The second realization was that one of the keys to prosperity is allowing other people to do what they’re good at, or hiring them to do things you don’t want to do yourself. I was wasting hours each day driving and doing nothing productive, and I knew there would be plenty of people out there who’d be willing to drive me around for a respectable wage.

I made the decision to start hiring drivers to take me to my inspections. It’s absolutely true that time is money in the real estate appraisal business. I make over $150/hour when I’m working. When I was driving myself around for an hour I was doing no work, and therefore making no money. Now, if I pay a driver $10/hour and I can work on my journey, I’m still making $140. Seems like a smart choice, when you look at it that way.

Can I be just as efficient working in my car as I would be in an office? Of course not, but even if I work at half-efficiency, I’m still getting a heck of a lot more done than I would be if I had to drive.

I admit that this approach can’t work for every real estate appraiser. If you suffer severely from motion sickness, for example, which would make you unable to work, it’s probably a non-starter. Frankly, I do not do it as much as I used to either. My business model has changed from when I was using it regularly.

If you’re only holding off on hiring a driver because you have a certain view of how real estate appraisers ‘should’ operate, and that it wouldn’t be ‘right’ to have a driver, then I think you’re making a big mistake. Making more money and growing your business is all about working more efficiently and more effectively. Hiring a driver is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way of doing exactly this. Take this step like I did and try something new.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 006 – Using a Driver for Appraisal Inspections.

Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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7 Responses

  1. JJ says:

    $150 an hour! Then I must be doing something wrong

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  2. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    I outsource my phone answering service to India, my typing to the Philippines, my comp selection to Taiwan, my mapping and flood research to Alamode, and my driving and photography to Google. I’m still searching for an outsource to hit the send key.

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  3. JJ Shooting for $150 an hour is not unrealistic. Will you get it all the time; or even most of the time? No.

    Some of the time-definitely, and once you start quantifying assignments by the time each takes rather than looking at it in the broader “house” , “duplex”, “Four unit” sense you will get it increasingly more often.

    We all get in that rut of thinking all our market will support for a house is “X”. Same with other services.

    Not too many years ago, I used to charge $300 and hour expert witness fees even for depositions; minimum four hours for court plus $75 an hour travel time. I had that fee for years…until attorneys laughed, saying “Is that all?” and paid me from petty cash. Very next day it went up to $350.

    In past year I raised it to $500 an hour (one our minimum). Only had one attorney in deposition try to get me to lower it. He wasn’t my client.

    If we aim high we may hit it. If we aim low, we will definitely hit that too.

    As for a driver? If it works for you , in your area-great. For me, it doesn’t.

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  4. JJ says:

    Mike, agreed. But Dustin’s standard fee for a complete interior appraisal in Idaho Falls or Pocatello is $400… which means it takes him 2.6 hours, from start to finish, to complete an appraisal at $150/hr. Like I said, I must be doing something wrong…

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    • JJ-Lol. Me too. One of my friends is an acolyte of Dustins method (no offense friend!). He can do a couple per day BUT he also has his wife acting as Office Manager, and a staff member assembling the forms and doing preliminary write ups. He’s exceptionally proficient with computers as he had an IT background at some point I think.

      He also has strong work ethic and good organizational skills. I don’t think he does 8 hour day limits either. Now in his case much of his work is higher fee too so it pencils out for him…but remember, he has three “man hours” to pay for vs every one that we have.

      Now his spouse is a phenomenal teammate…otherwise he’d only get $25 an hour; his assistant $25 an hour and  spouse the remaining $100.

      Dustins method works for some but not all.

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  5. Bill says:

    At $150/hour I would not only hire a driver but a cook, a massage therapist, and someone to hit the send key for Retired Appraiser LOL

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Do You Need an Appraiser Driver?

by Dustin Harris time to read: 2 min
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