Well-run businesses generally get fewer complaints and claims, and they’re certainly less complex ones. There are three main areas you need to focus on when it comes to protecting your practice as a surveyor. These are the interactions you have with your clients and customers, the areas of regulation you need to navigate, and your responsibility as a business owner.
Complaints and dissatisfied customers should be the exception, not the norm. Surveyors often don’t pay attention to what they’re getting right with their clients and building on that. They attract the wrong clients and then wonder why things aren’t going well. Know that this is all within your control to manage.
As a business owner, you need to navigate the law in general. The secret is to build in systems, processes, and procedures in your business that design out risk and make compliance simple and automatic. That way you can’t fail. You can do this by getting support from your admin, by setting yourself reminders, tick boxes, and checklists at the end of your surveys.
The most challenging part is your personal responsibility as a business owner. It is not easy. The onus is always on us to make sure we’re happy with the interpretation and application of any rules, regulations, or requirements. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you can get the help and support you need.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce risk in your business and protect your surveying practice.
Track and Review Your Surveying Work
Firstly, track your work and review it. Work out your hourly rate and profit per job. It can be quite an incentive to put your prices up. Record the loan to value if you’re a valuer. If you don’t have that information ask the panel firm for it and ask for comparison as to what they’re doing. Don’t put yourself at risk if they aren’t.
Record if the property sale has been completed and follow up in time to see if it’s been resold because that can really help with your PII in the future. What you’re doing with these is creating KPIs or key performance indicators in your business and you continually add to them. These are useful information that can help your decision-making about your business in the future.
Meet with Your Team or Yourself
Secondly, have a monthly board meeting with your team or yourself if it’s just you. Set the time aside to review your KPIs and also document what is happening in your business, the market, or the sector that you work in. Add to it with audits of your office systems, not just your survey work.
You can either find a firm that does that kind of audit or set up a peer-to-peer review buddy system. More importantly, take action on the findings and document them. Life events have a significant impact on the way you work and run your business. Don’t underestimate that impact. Cut yourself some slack and make an action plan.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
Finally, protect your practice by having a business continuity plan, essentially a plan for when things fail. It includes a document that explains to someone how to access all of the things that need to be done. Think about your hardware and software. Importantly, have a backup plan for if your report writing service falls down. You want to think about how someone else could fulfil the job if you weren’t available.
The good news is that, by creating all of these things in your business, you’re not only engineering and designing out risk and simple mistakes that are made. You’re also creating assets that add the value of your business should you ever want to sell it.
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