02-11-2017 01:46 PM - edited 02-11-2017 02:31 PM
Can you advertise a set fee for conveyancing?
Blog by Rebecca Hayes, CEO, Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA Division)
I took an awesome call from one of our Members this month. For this Blog let’s call her ‘Sally’. Sally wanted to know if Conveyancers could advertise a flat fee. Of course they can. But, the question remains - as Sally and I discussed (and what you guys already know!) – what is a vanilla transaction and what is a vanilla client?
We’ve all had them, the clients that beat you down on price, shop around for the best deal, compare apples and oranges and know nothing about the complexities of what is involved – undervaluing a conveyancers knowledge and expertise. These are the ones that create so much work and angst; and let’s be honest, these are the ones that should be charged more not getting a discount. Sally and I talked about the practice of underquoting, of acting for both parties, of weakening the profession through low fees, not charging for the extras you do (and I know you all do far and above what you quote for) and providing a diverse and superior service to clients.
I loved this chat with Sally, and in the end she decided against advertising a flat fee. So, what did I take from our conversation?
It’s a hard time to be running a business, costs are rising and the market is quiet (I have my theories on this but will leave that to another post). Naturally you want to react and under cut and under quote, but the long term risk of this are disastrous to the industry. You are all in this together and we need to be supporting each other. Undercutting and underquoting isn’t support for your profession, your colleagues and it isn’t good for your business. I see it as quality over quantity. Surely 50 files a month at $1000 must be better than 100 files a month at $500. Firstly, you have the time to really service your client – this means they are happier and far more likely to recommend you to friends and family = more business (now I like the sound of that!); secondly, you are less stressed – this means you are happier, healthier and more motivated; thirdly, you have more time – this means you can meet with potential referrers and grow your business, undertake some professional development, look at ways of diversifying your business offering, review practices and procedures to streamline the office, pick the kids up from school once a week or visit your elderly parents - there are so many things that can be done which make you and your work life better.
So, here is my simple calculation: Less files + same income = happier you + happier clients = more business referrals I do need to address the acting for both clients issue. There are times when acting for both makes sense, I get that, but as a rule I would steer away from doing it. The issues arising through a conflict of interest occur far too often and it really isn’t worth putting yourself in that position. When I was running my own conveyancing business in the early 2000’s, I believed, and I still do, that if we all act for one party we should derive the same number of clients – we share them around – it’s better for you and them! So thanks ‘Sally’, if you are reading this you know who you are! I loved chatting with you, and it gave me an idea for my new blog! Enjoy the November madness everyone, countdown to Christmas has really started now. Bek