We Don’t Do Favors.

The first year I was in business as an REO contractor, I did alot of favors to just get fed. We would drive all over the place to build a basis of trust with a potential client. Our coverage area kept growing with each urgent request. I didn’t mind doing it then because no one knew me and I was learning the ropes.

Now, as I have spent some time in the industry, and have been able to raise my head enough to look at the landscape, I’ve seen some negative trends come with encouraging favors.

There, of course, are good reasons to do favors for your clients. For one, you would hope that your clients are as entrepreneurial as you and want to expand their territory. If they have developed a strong basis of trust with you, they will call on you to expand your region as they grow. I don’t mind going farther and doing more for the sake of a client’s growth. That means I will grow along with them. Second, there are times when an emergency will occur. Human error causes these emergencies — someone dropped the ball, something was overlooked, a mistake was made. You’re called upon to do a favor. No problem, I make mistakes all the time. Also, a client could call upon you when another contractor has become unavailable or untrustworthy to pick up their workload. This favor could turn into greater profit for you. I like doing these favors.

But, I’ll be honest — people are getting greedier and greedier in the REO industry. For the sake of “keeping their business” some will expect you to work harder for less money. It may not happen all at once, but almost imperceptibly at first. And slowly, your profit margin shrinks with them. Before long, you are doing favors just for the sake of doing favors. Favors for favors sake is an unwise business strategy. You should only do favors when it is mutually beneficial. Otherwise, you are being used for someone else’s gain.

I had one of my contractors email me one time, telling me they would “take one for the team” if they had to. They meant they would do me a favor and perform services at a break-even cost or even take a loss if necessary. When you provide the wrong person with this opportunity, they will use it to their advantage. Out of impulse, I told the contractor he would never be called upon to take one for the team.

The more the REO industry evolves, the less realistic the idea of a “team” looks anyway. You’re either working for a large company that has hundreds or thousands of other vendors, labeled by a vendor code, or a more streamlined REO agency that leans very heavily upon your individual productivity. In either case, the proverbial “team” is a vaporous illusion. A cunningly veiled tool.

A well-established client, one with whom you have built a strong, trusting partnership, will not in good conscience make it a habit to demand you perform favors. They will be organized enough to minimize emergencies. They will also care enough about your business and its need for a profit in order to mature to make favors worth your time.

We don’t do favors for the sake of favors anymore. This ended after we did our first year taxes and had a good cry. We realized we were paying people to give us work. And, their businesses were growing due to our hard work while ours had taken a hit. We learned then than favors for the sake of doing favors was worthless.

Integrity REO Solutions will not ask its contractors to help us grow while taking a hit. Its not worth having our business if it takes away from yours.


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