It seems to be a daily ritual now: Sources reaching out to Foreclosurepedia to announce layoffs, restructurings or simply the loss of territories. What also seems to be happening more and more is the receipt of emails pushing on agenda or the other. The biggest difference that I see between Corporations and Contractors is that Contractors have all become numb to the discrimination heaped upon them.
In my personal and UNHUMBLE opinion, anyone with W2 Employees is NOT an Independent Contractor. First, no Independent Contractor is Incorporated. Why? A Corporation has a Board of Directors. Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are not Independent Contractors either, although they skirt the radar frequently. Oh, the legalities are all pretty; the INTENT of the law is being skirted.
On the one hand, it is really, really hard to condemn Corporations within the Property Preservation Industry; the Order Mills, for crucifying Contractors. Sign this or else; do this or else; insure us or else all seem to be the mantras of the Industry today. Contractors bow down and don’t even whimper. A year ago I was hopeful that both the Industry and even some Contractors were salvageable, today I believe both are bordering upon being Beyond Salvage to coin a military term we used quite frequently when we conducted assessments of foreign interests. The Post Mortem, to coin another military term, on the Industry is going to be that greed far and beyond superceded the moral and ethical (not to mention the legal) requirements with respect to the banking industry and thus the foreclosure industry by proxy.
Unorganized Contractors, by and large, have been led around by a nose ring for years. Keep your head down and weather the storm has been the mentality. I could make a Nazi comparison; however, Climate Change is simply more appropriate. The Climate has changed. Where are the Contractors today? I will promise you that the only Contractors turning a profit larger than last year are farming work out! Period.
For Middlemen (Order Mills or Contractors), terms such as SCA Compliance and HTTPS are meaningless. Therein lies the tragedy. Legitimate men and women; Independent Contractors, are getting screwed. Others receiving the farmed out work from their buddies, will stay out of the fray. Why? Open your mouth and loose your work.
I consult off and on quite a bit. Time and again, the folks whom pay me are larger firms wanting out of the Industry. Why? Even they know that the days of debris removal and winterizations are numbered. Oh, always a bit here and there; however, nothing meaningful. Pay was sustained at the higher levels because there was more than one National Order Mill. Today, there truly isn’t. Additionally, the volume isn’t there as well. No, where the work generates is from the Sources; the Clients such as FannieMae, FreddieMac, et cetera ad nauseam. So, about half of my case load deals with moving some of the smaller Regionals into the position of Direct Bidding and moving into Federal Contracting with the other half split between working with brokers and contractors.
Why am I relating this? Well, first, I see no viable future for anyone in the pre and post conveyance industry wherein a Contractor works through an Order Mill. This next statement is going to hurt,
Maybe less than ten percent (10%) of Contractors out there today know anything about business. Terms such as Profit and Loss; Price Point, et cetera are greek to them. They see a check come in that looks large and then they go to Wal Mart or Kohl’s and buy Junior a toy and pay MOST of their bills while patting each other upon the back. The reality is that they slaves to a System which they do not understand and really do not want to understand. The Industry has absolutely NO vested interest in showing them the Truth. Gentrification, pure and simple. Chances are you do not even know what the word means; Google it and begin to learn TODAY! Be that 10% I speak about time and time again!
Truth be known, an entry level fry cook at McDonald’s pays more than most Contractors make by the time expenses are deducted. That isn’t the WHOLE story either: The Economy IS picking back up. More entry level jobs are opening across the board; homeowners need their lawns cut — our phone hasn’t stopped ringing due to rainfall being 17″+ above normal (another 4″ over the next 48 Hours!) here (3rd year running) — and the BIGGEST opening is in the need by baby boomer’s to have new ADA Doors and remodels done as they are older and RETIRING AT A RATE OF OVER 10,000 PER DAY for the next 15 YEARS!
So, what are you doing today to change? Get a few more jobs and now consider yourself lucky? Shit, you are going to be REPLACED! Look no further than Berghorst Enterprises’ latest Statement/Demand they issued. Biggest recruiting effort in a long time far as I can tell. And they TOLD the Contractors this!
We get a lot of hate mail: Why do you support this Company; Why do you talk to that Company; You are destroying the Industry … it goes on and on. Our fan mail comes … on rare occasion. One day I will probably post it all; create a wall of shame and give everyone their 15 Minutes of Fame as Andy Warhol calls it. I write what I write because it is the right thing to do, no pun intended. I pursue my stories with monastic dedication; I do not allow my opinions to be swayed as I pursue Advocacy Journalism. The only time I really buck is when people threaten and attempt to intimidate my family and I. They are rare and I imagine all journalists have encountered it. With a young child in our home it is hard to remain objective and focused at times as these threats have originated from both in and out of the Industry.
I do not really possess any refined amount of talent; I possess tenacity and discipline. While the Industry may fear me, they respect me. My Sources trust me to a fault. The reality is there is no other Publication covering the Industry with the intensity I do. I have decided that the monastic dedication I bring to my work now needs to be funneled into SOLUTIONS. I am going to begin helping to move the salvageable Contractors into a position to understand business and profile the Clients out there whom take business seriously.
What do the 90% of Contractors want? They want a steady check and for that check to pay most of the bills. The problem is that the Industry requires Contractors to THINK for a change. Harsh? For those whom do not like the Truth, don’t read it. While the pricing is egregiously unfair, the reality is that until you begin to see Service Contract Act (SCA) Requirements by Companies, it is going to be this way. We are watching one Company whom has included a Labor Provision and we are going to hold them and the others to SCA Standards. If SCA is demanded, the pricing cannot remain the same! Period!
My only problem with the Corporate Order Mills has been that they illegally take advantage of Contractors. Nothing more. Here is the problem: When Contractors keep their mouths shut; when Contractors DO NOT take responsibility for their own fate, whom am I to stand up for them? If Contractors are so afraid of even sending an email — in fairness I receive about 3 a week which DWARFS the 20+ a week from Order Mill and Government Sources — or voicing their Concerns why should I continue down a Path that is obviously not desired by Contractors?
Corporate Order Mills, as bad as they are to Contractors, have actually been far more transparent than most Contractors or homeowners I have spoken to. A recent article I was working on with respect to a Safeguard Claim is a classic case-in-point. Here a woman in Illinois had her home broken into and twenty thousand dollars worth of property stolen. We publish an update and reach out to the Huntington National Bank and Safeguard Properties (SGP) and she gets an offer for ten thousand dollars. Problem? No, except it’s ONE HALF of what she’s owed. The issue I have is that the lady clams up AFTER we help her. The American Way: If you get paid you go away. I guess I never identified with it. I was offered a substantial sum to sell Foreclosurepedia, recently. I didn’t bite. In reality is there a magic number? Of course there is; I would be lying if I didn’t admit that. The point of the matter is that it damn sure wouldn’t be HALF of what it’s worth as we saw in the SGP Claims case.
The same story parallels for Contractors. I dumped almost a hundred hours into tracking a story which implicated fraudulent photos being submitted to CoreLogic by an Order Mill on behalf of Contractors. When the rubber hit the road; when they were asked to take a stand? Yup, nothing.
So, whereas the originating guidance of Forelcosurepedia had been for Contractors I am going to shift into examining the Industry itself. I am going to begin to open the proverbial hood of the Corporations with far more zeal than I have to date! I am going to begin to mainstream Foreclosurepedia towards the day-to-day activities of assisting Companies with the identification of real world issues and hold out those whom do not want to Get With The Program.
Organized Contractors stand a far better chance in negotiating on the behalf of their constituency. The National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG) and the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) are two examples wherein Leadership are beginning to and have united to further the interests of their respective members. I believe the NPPG has around 100+ Contractor Members as a matter of fact. The third and untried model is unionism which actually may be the only way Contractors will ever be able to force collective bargaining. The days of the lone wolf; the rogue Contractor are numbered. Whether by attrition or peer pressure, the organized model will ultimately prevail.
I had a great friend of mine reach out to me a year ago. He is a prominent broker and runs a large property preservation business back on the East Coast. He told me that the reality is that most Contractors do not know what they want. I tend to believe him now. Like he said, “Look Paul open up your range of vision and look at those whom really could use your help!” Reflecting back, I wish I had considered this sage advise beforehand; I wish that I had realized that you simply cannot save everyone. I wish I could mention his name; however, the stigma would outweigh the compliment — he knows whom he is and I am going to take you up on the beach house one day! 😉
So, folks are going to see a BIG change in format. Now, we are going to continue our expose format; what we are going to include, though, is a boat load of useful information to assist folks whom want to become a business as opposed to a hobby. We are also going to include information on the major Contracts like we have been doing; however, we are going to break it down into layman’s terms. We are also going to push the envelope with helping folks move into the 21st Century with respect to overhauling their Company(s) and move into the federal contracting arena. Finally, while initially opposed to the idea, Foreclosurepedia will begin to reevaluate Advertisement Requests on a case-by-case basis.