I was down in East Knoxville the other day visiting a family I had helped move out of their home they lost during the Jason Mathis and Brandon Lambert #FraudFest days. They were one of four families whom lost everything here in East Tennessee and myself and two other folks stepped up to the plate and got them initially into a shelter and finally into long term housing. This was the rationale for putting together a Contractor Benevolence Fund (CBF) which was the genesis for the International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST). At the height of the Buczek Enterprises #FraudFest, we were helping a Contractor a day with an assortment of obligations such as utilities, rent and food. Bret Douglas, owner and founder of Team Ironclad was the guiding force whom ensured that finances were always available and to this day the ground he walks upon is still hallowed to many back East.
I am sure that there are plenty of you out there on Facebook whom are making a million dollars, so no point in reading this article. For those of you, like myself, whom are always one paycheck away from being homeless, grab a pen and paper. You see, part of my life that some are aware of, but most are not is the fact that I spent an inordinate amount of time homeless. Not homeless surfing a couch or living in a hotel, homeless with a backpack. No matter what your situation, the scars of being homeless never really leave you. They color a part of you which almost forces you to push away anyone or anything in life which might be important due, in part, to an irrational and inexplicable desire to ensure that nothing can ever get close and thus it can never be taken away.
Contrary to what the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) may tell you or the General Public; regardless of what bullshit you may hear in the Drive By Social Media circuits, the reality is that not everyone is making a million out there. Putting aside, for a moment, the fact that there is a 40 percent chance or better that you will never be paid and even if you are paid there is a fifty – fifty chance that you will be back billed months if not years later, the fact of the matter is order for order we make less now than when we went door to door with a push mower.
I want that to sink in for a moment. You see, I am 46 now. When I was a kid growing up in the midwest, I made $25 per lawn. I had no overhead; I generally got a glass of tea or lemonade, and as opposed to being disrespected by some Processor with an attitude I was always thanked for my work.
In the Mortgage Field Services Industry, it is exactly the opposite. Unless you are working directly for a National Order Mill — with very rare exceptions and those Firms have been praised by Foreclosurepedia for their admirable actions — I have seen pricing as low as $20 per lawn and cubic yard removal pricing at $16 per cube which is the norm in California. You are guaranteed to be disrespected by some girl still wet behind the ears whom appears to have an attitude that your phone call is interrupting her Reddit moment!
The Mortgage Field Services Industry is probably the least known US Government subsidized Industry in America. What do I mean by this. First, you need to understand precisely what a W9 – 1099 Independent Contractor is — and this is a very loose interpretation as there is already federal case law stating that the Contractors in this Industry are actually w2 employees. During tax season, the goal of any W9 Contractor is to zero out monies which have been earned and are taxable — this is unless you have children in which case you shoot for a minimum amount wherein you are eligible for the Earned Income Credit (EIC). So, unless you are running a large crew; are a quasi order mill; or are simply stupid — other issues present such as resident alien or perhaps trying to show taxable income so as to be qualified for a loan — you meet what is known as the minimum federal poverty guidelines. Remember those last four words as they will help you and your family if you are struggling.
There are several incredibly important federal assistance programs available to Contractors, just like myself, to ensure that you and your children (if you have any) both keep the lights on and have food on your table. The reality is that the girl whom Recruited you could give two shits about whether or not you get paid or whether you have food for your family. The Processor whom sits day in and day out mandated to kick your orders out doesn’t care either. They are sitting in an air conditioned cubicle or working from the comfort of their home. All they care about is the quota they have to meet that day and you are simply not part of their equation.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is what we all refer to as food stamps and is soon to be known as Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Depending on a multitude of criteria, each person in the household is eligible for around $194 per month in benefits for a household of one; $357 for two; $511 for three and so on. These benefits are on a debit type card thus removing much of the previous stigmatization of receiving what we called welfare when I was a kid.
As a side note, it is ironic that JP Morgan Electronic Financial Services, Inc. administers the transactions. In typical #Bankster greed, 18 of the 24 states JP Morgan handles have been contracted to pay the bank up to $560,492,596.02 since 2004. So, hit the consumer on the home loan; foreclose upon it and get paid again; then hit the consumer yet again when they are destitute. Man, you gotta hand it to the bankers!
Look, I remember both being on food stamps and getting the US Government Commodities — man, I LOVED the cheese as it is what we all call Velveeta today! The reality is that I grew up poor and I mean DIRT POOR! Thanks to SNAP Benefits I didn’t go hungry. Even today, I have to periodically go on the food stamp program — yeah, that ought to tell you that the Drive By Social Media Pundits whom preach that I am making millions are full of shit!
The easiest way to see if you and your family are eligible for SNAP Benefits, is to simply click here to use the FNS – SNAP Pre Screening Tool. If you are eligible — and remember you need to stress that you are self employed as many workers are not familiar with the different set of guidelines — simply click here to find your local office and application.
Look, you don’t have to stand on a mountaintop and scream you receive benefits. There are going to be those out there whom look down their noses at me for even recommending this and even more whom make fun of me for being poor, but if you can help your family, don’t they deserve it?!
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is another program which many Contractors are entitled to and most have never heard of.
A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or certain needs-tested Veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.
LIEAP assists families with their heating and cooling energy costs, and, if the state chooses, to weatherize homes including heating oil. During the Buczek Enterprises #FraudFest several families with children ran out of heating oil. So, while Adam and Amanda Buczek were out squandering Contractor’s hard earned money, these families huddled in the cold, dark winter nights back East and were lucky not to have died.
Now, I want to step outside the entrenched belief system which is prevalent in the Industry today. I am going to offer up some dialogue which is based upon my discussions with some of the largest firms — yes NAMFS Members — and additionally with respect to time I spent in close proximity to those whom both Recruit and Process work orders, male and female alike. Time and time again, I continue to hear the phrase, “We have no control over the pay.” This, in fact, is a lie. “I have to capitalize upon the Contractor’s bid because that is my job.” That, too, is a lie. And finally, “I am not responsible for the Contractor if the Company goes bankrupt because all I did was Recruit them.” This is not only a lie, but borders upon willful negligence if the Recruiter knew or had reason to believe there was financial turmoil at the Company.
There is no way on earth that the Mortgage Field Services Industry could function without the subsidization by the US Government with respect to a plethora of benefit assistances. I base this upon the fact that there are several financial requirements necessary to work in the Industry. You need General Liability Insurance and usually Errors and Omissions. Depending on whom is screwing you, you may need Workman’s Comp as well. You need a vehicle and insurance for it. Most of the time you must pay for your own background check and sometimes several times a year as NAMFS cannot get their shit together to stick with one shakedown company. You need a computer, internet service and a smartphone. You need to have the tools and equipment necessary to perform your tasks and you need thousands of dollars on any given day to pony up, interest free, for months. Fuel is a given and in addition to this you need to have the funds to finance yourself and your family with respect to food, clothing and shelter along with utilities and health care. Regardless of the fact that you provide all of this, chances are still fairly good that you will never be paid by a NAMFS Member.
No way and I MEAN NO WAY IN HELL is this happening on $20 grass cuts. And before anyone out there gets ignorant with me and ends up bankrupt like SEAS LLC, the reality is that not everyone is like those glamorous people over on Facebook — and even those whom bullshit about it being so great number less than 50. Remember, Sterling Backcheck put the number of Contractors in the Industry at right around 100K or so.
Now, I have seen the real numbers which Order Mills are paid less than two months ago. I have seen the real numbers which are paid upon bids, as well. They are obscene and I have little to no respect for the rape which transpires at that level. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that Contractors rarely, if ever, peg those numbers — other than those over on Facebook and remember they amount to less than 50.
The two biggest welfare queens in America today are Wal-Mart and McDonalds. This issue has become more known as we learn just how far some companies have gone in putting their employees on public assistance. According to one study, American fast food workers receive more than $7 billion dollars in public assistance. As it turns out, McDonalds has a “McResource” line that helps employees and their families enroll in various state and local assistance programs. It exploded into the public when a recording of the McResource line advocated that full-time employees sign up for food stamps and welfare.
According to Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, in many states, Wal-Mart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients. They are also the single biggest group of food stamp recipients. Wal-Mart’s “associates” are paid so little, according to Grayson, that they receive $1,000 on average in public assistance.
“One lesson that emerges from the experience of low-end retailers is that putting workers in crummy, low-wage jobs tends to yield crummy service as well. McDonald’s earnings have fallen, the Wall Street Journal reports, and a management webcast to franchise owners acknowledged that customer dissatisfaction is rising in part because “service is broken.”
Does that sound familiar? Is not Eric Miller trumpeting this broken record of the necessitation of training Contractors — and don’t forget that is a very expensive endeavor which he and NAMFS profit from — so that the quality of work improves? Sheer and complete bullshit driven by greed is what I say. Look, Miller has not a clue about micro nor macro economic environments let alone socio economic impacts upon quality of both output and product. In the instant case, it is rather simple: When you pay people a wage which is far less than prisoners in the Russian Gulag receive, they must make tough decisions. The first thing which generally is removed is quality food. When you remove a diet, rich in complete proteins, you end up with people whom are neither able to participate in a logical, long term thought process nor are they able to perform at levels which their compatriots at say a W2 Firm function. Science, Miller. Science is irrefutable.
As MIT management professor Zeynep Ton argued in Harvard Business Review last year, Costco and Trader Joe’s pay their workers far more than many of their competitors, offer their employees opportunities for promotion and enjoy markedly lower worker turnover and far higher sales per employee than their low-road counterparts. Sales per employee at Costco are nearly double that at Sam’s Club.
I am very, VERY tempted to out several Clients here whom repeatedly come to me always begging for Contractors in a given Area of Operation. Time and again it is the same old tune, “I had to get rid of the whole lot of them. They just couldn’t grasp what needed to be done.” In actuality, as Contractor’s pay continued to be slashed and the Order Mill’s profits continued to climb thanks, in part, to obscene Repair Base Bid submissions, the reality is that they are lucky I wasn’t one of the Contractors because I would have simply tracked them down and bitch slapped them.
The reality is that Firms like Safeguard Properties (SGP) has used its market power to impose its low-wage model all along their supply chain and then buying it out. The Mortgage Field Services Industry that SGP built — and noting here that SGP along with other National Order Mills come in and land Portfolios just long enough to pick clean all the equity and then dump them off on others — is in the shape of a downward spiral. SGP is poised, as I type, to loose their Northeast Sector FannieMae Contract as they can no longer entice Contractors even with per diem and overnighted checks. The outlook is dismal; the writing is on the wall. The reality is that the Industry is in for a serious world of hurt going into Q3FY2015.