Be Flexible

Is work flexibility an opportunity for your business model? Maybe. There’s a quiet yet Godzilla-sized business model change underway. Currently, 56.7 million Americans freelance with 1 billion hours worked per week. That’s with a “b.” The on-demand workforce has become a core component of the job market, the gig economy.

According to a 2018 Edelman Intelligence Survey, freelancers within the workforce will become a majority at 50.9% by 2027. Wow. Does this have implications for the existing model of a MAI firm owner with a few appraisers? In a quick search of Upwork, I found commercial appraisers offering their services from $100-$300 per hour. It’s started.

The breakdown is currently 51% traditional full-time workers, 36% freelance and 13% traditional part-time workers. The study was commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, the former of which I’ve had good experience with hiring US-based high-level technical skills, graphic designers (to improve the look of my appraisals) and virtual assistants for report set up and research.

Tech has enabled freelancers to show off their skills. A comp database and report writing software are baseline tools needed to effectively compete. Appraisal workflow application is also key to organizing, tracking and measuring the workload, otherwise it’s easy to lose control of your schedule.

The pipeline of appraisal work seems to vary from a significant drop in bank work (1Q 2019) to super busy. Some are pivoting and offering valuation services for individuals: divorce, buyer/seller due diligence, estate purposes, etc. Alternative products include replacement cost new reports for insurance purposes, FEMA 50% Rule (NFIP compliant) appraisals and commercial evaluations. Automating these products with software is essential for success.

Many prioritized lifestyle over earnings with the survey indicating that freelancers at 84% vs full-time non-freelancers 64% who actually got their preferred lifestyle. Freelancers feel that the flexibility provides 42% more opportunities that they would not be able to achieve due to the lack of time flexibility from a traditional employer. The flipside is an increase in anxiety though offset by life balance. The numbers are 63% feel anxious about all the stuff they have to manage, while 77% feel they have a better work/life balance.

Do general workforce trends present opportunity for commercial appraisers? Absolutely. I can see a place where appraisers independently connect and collaborate remotely with top freelance appraisers and other professionals. Be open to appraisal productivity software to enhance your effectiveness for the side hustle economy. Do you want to be on-demand? Be flexible. It’s where things are heading.