Doing A Quickie.

We’ve received calls from clients on many occasions asking us to do a quickie for them.

Sometimes we’re asked to look quickly at property photos showing some debris or an overgrown lot or maybe a house that has been razed to the ground by fire.

“I need this bid really quick — in the next few minutes. Take a look at this burned house in the photos. How much would you charge to clean up and demo this?”

Likely the deadline for this bid has already expired on the client’s end. The pressures and tasks in general that my client has been facing has led to this request. Who am I to judge for this? I am the chief of sinners. When you are caring for more than one client, it is difficult to be “on time” with everything. At times the heightened need(s) one might communicate on a given day takes away from the less urgent need(s) of another. Then, before you know it — you’re late with a task. The challenge is in keeping each client forever in the loop regarding what is affecting your productivity and specifically where you are on the timeline regarding their work orders.

As sympathetic as I am of pushed deadlines, I am still uncomfortable with bidding based on photos. This lack of comfort comes from the many mistakes I have made in the past after accepting these requests and putting blind numbers together. There were situations where I wound up not really making anything. There were times when I was grossly under budget. On every occasion the photos were not adequate to help me provide the most appropriate and cost-effective bid. In reality, this was more a disservice to my client than anything — though they were “asking for it” so to speak.

There have also been times when a client will show photos based on another contractor’s approved bid — a contractor who has now become unavailable. They are now either on “vacation” or no longer serving the client as a contractor. The temptation in these times is to accept even menial fees, God-awful fees to shoot the gap. Homeboy is out of the picture, at least on this work order. My strategy? Accept these dumb fees and wow the client. BAM! Now I’m King of the Mountain. The good thing is this strategy works all the time. The bad news is once you open the door to accepting inept, now cancelled contractors bids based on photos you will be expected to do this on a regular basis.

The key here is to ask your client for a little time to look at the bid. Then, you work the costs. Then, you come back with an honest number even if it’s way higher. You tell them the other contractor did not provide a realistic bid. Sometimes they will ask you to provide a bid of your own. That’s what you are hoping for. But, if they respond that there is no time or room for a second bid then politely decline the open approval order.

Quickies based on photos are counterproductive. In theory they save time — all you are asked to do is look at a series of images and give a bid. But, on the whole they wind up taking up more unnecessary time, especially when you get to the site and see there is way more going on there than the photos showed.

Pictures speak a thousand words, yes. But that’s the problem. Sometimes there are 1,001 issues at the property, and though the photos might be good they are not 100% accurate. Integrity REO Solutions is hands-on. We must go to the site. Observe. Measure. Take notes. We feel this provides the best service to our clients. Our highest priority where they are concerned is that we help them succeed with their clients. Taking the extra time to go to the site, while it might incur an extra gas expense, is responsible.

Whatever you do, refuse the request to bid from photos. I can almost guarantee you there is more going on at the site than meets the eye.


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