Starting Out And Setting Up A Business
Set up a corporation in the State that you will be doing business in. This isn't a big expense. Consult an attorney in your area to assist you. You can use your home as an office. This is the most common way to start out. There's very little overhead and you don't have to pay rent and utilities for office space. Set up a separate phone line and create a professional web site. You don't have to hire a secretary if you can't afford one, just use an answering machine. You set your own hours and you can work part-time or full-time, whichever you prefer.
Have business cards, stationery and brochures made up at a local printer and drop them off and introduce yourself at: the local real estate offices, law offices, banks, home inspection offices and any businesses involved in real estate. I did this for months in my beginning stages. Banks are by far your best source of appraisal business. They need to order appraisals constantly for their mortgage loans. If you get on a bank's approved appraiser list you should have more than enough business to keep you busy and keep your own savings account growing.
Relocation companies are a great source of appraisals. I had a friend who was doing over a million dollars a year in business with relocation companies for appraisals and inspections. Get the relocation directories for the phone numbers and addresses of the people to contact. When a company relocates one of their employees they generally have two appraisals and two home inspections done. The company hires one appraiser and inspector, and the employee of the company hires the other appraiser and home inspector. The purpose of this is that they get two different opinions as to the current market value and condition of the employee's house. They then agree to a sales price and the company will reimburse their employee by buying the house from them. This enables the employee to move to the new location and buy a home. Sometimes when the first two appraisals are very different in estimating market value, they hire a third appraiser to settle the matter!
Some insurance companies hire appraisers before they write certain homeowner's policies. Contact some insurance agents in your area and see if they need appraisers. Attorneys and Accountants often hire appraisers to help settle an estate. An estate is created when someone dies and the heirs have to file the tax returns and disburse or manage the personal property and assets of the deceased person. The IRS requires an appraisal to figure out what the estate tax will be. The family members and/or relatives are taxed on the inheritance of the personal property and assets of the deceased person.
Get email lists of real estate offices, law offices, relocation companies, etc. to email them a link to your web site. Local billboards and other ads can be inexpensive for the exposure you get.
Work with another appraisal company. This is a great way to start out because you get to learn the business from someone who has been doing appraisals for years. There are many benefits to doing this. You will be earning money while building up business contacts during your training. You get to learn the basics of the business and you don't have the liability and overhead costs.