[photopress:dollars.jpg,thumb,alignright]Well I have to admit that it has been a very, very odd year indeed for me. I stumbled into the world of blogging, and I had no idea where it would take me. Well it took me into a totally consumer-centric view of my world.
Transparency turned out to be much more transparent for me, than for my “blogclients”. I started experimenting. I did not change how I worked in any way. But instead of simply charging what I “normally” charged, or what most agents charge, I decided to view the commission as “a retainer fee”. I then changed it at the close of escrow, to what I perceived to be a fair value for the services rendered.
Sometimes I changed it on day one and that worked out OK. But then in some cases, I found that what I thought would be fair on day one, turned out to be too much at the end, and so I “settled up”. Only once did I have to renegotiate what was agreed upon on day one by raising it, and the client and I both agreed on a different and higher amount. We did that about halfway through, as he changed his parameters, and we both agreed the situation was greatly affected because of that. But I addressed it as soon as it was going sideways, so he had plenty of time to change agents if he and I could not come to terms on a new commission. Fortunately that was not necessary, because we both agreed that the original negotiation was based on factors which did not hold true as time went on.
The stories, which I will try to detail on my blog tonight, will be covered in a somewhat vague manner, as I have to retain the confidentiality of my clients. But I will try to give the stories in a way that we can all learn what a true sliding scale of different fees for different services might look like. A commission schedule that is so fair, that no client felt like they overpaid, and several even felt like they underpaid. And the one man who got the service for free, almost forgot that he wasn’t my client at all 🙂
I never calculated the end result of the total monies returned at the end of the day, until tonight. It is almost three in the morning, and no one is more surprised than I to see that $68,745.00 was paid to my “blogclients”. While most of those clients had read both my writings here on Rain City Guide and my blog, I have to attribute the bulk of the clients to having come to my blog via Rain City Guide.
There were a couple of times when I went a bit overboard, and I admit there were a few times when it hurt like hell, especially in the beginning when I was “training myself” to view the settle up at the end as fairly as I could. But I can honestly say that the couple of times I erred with regard to fairness, I erred on my side of the fence. I did that because those particular clients were injured by someone before me, someone in the industry who “did them wrong”. I felt the need to compensate them for what happened to them, before I entered into their world.
Most importantly, when you treat your clients fairly, when you discuss commission issues openly with your clients, both buyers and sellers, everyone is happy at the end of the day. I treated them all like family. I charged them what I might charge my Mother or my Sister or even my own child, well…maybe some more like my cousin 🙂 I charged a fair value for the work at hand. And while even I am amazed at the total tonight, and frankly it hurts…it really does, I know in my heart that every single time, it was a fair assessment of a valid cost for the services rendered.
It doesn’t break down to a flat fee or a fixed percentage. Some needed a lot more assistance than others. Some found property quickly and some took a very long time. Some sold their property quickly, and some took a very long time.
I’m looking over my list and only $2,175 of the $68,750.00 was paid to someone who “asked for a discount”. Almost all of it, was offered to them by me, without their needing to ask for it. Most of all, my “blogclients” have truly been a joy to work with. They totally trusted me to have their back. They totally trusted me with their most important goal and they totally trusted me not to treat them unfairly in any way shape or form. Not just about the money part, but in all things. Every single one felt I had gone above and beyond the call of duty. And every single one appreciated my efforts on their behalf at the end of the day.
I would very much like to take this opportunity to thank both Dustin and Anna Luther, for this wonderful opportunity. I also thank them on behalf of my “blogclients”, who are all grateful for having Rain City Guide to help them through what might otherwise have been a more difficult process.
The internet is truly a wonderful thing, and we are all learning to use it to everyone’s best advantage. We no longer simply “surf the net” to suck up information. We use it as a vehicle to form relationships, both business and personal.
I need to put the actual stories on my blog because we are really not permitted to discuss commission specifics in a “group” setting, under anti-trust laws. And also because this post is already way too long 🙂