Dezrezlegal are looking at our pricing structure at the moment. We’re not a factory/panel conveyancing firm, we employ all our staff directly and have all the associated overheads that go with it. We have built the business at a time when a persistently tough economic climate has caused a lot of legal firms to close their conveyancing departments all together. The ones that are left are fighting for business in an environment where clients want to save every penny and estate agents want as much of a kick back as they can possibly get to help with staff costs, office rents, and electricity bills. We’ve done rather well despite these obstacles and I see no reason why we won’t continue to do so.
We’re finding that competition has pushed conveyancing revenue down to as little as &200 a case while factory or panel options are attracting more and more internet savvy clients onto their books. By offering fees for as little as &89 + Vat directly to the client or pushing their fees down to very low levels in order to pay agents high commissions, these firms operate conveyancing departments as loss leaders for other areas of the business or make a profit by cutting corners and piling work high and in some cases by off shoring sections of the process to individuals untrained to deal with any legal queries they may face.
I often wonder what a client expects when they say to us over the phone that they have received a cheaper quote elsewhere. You can always get a cheaper quote but I firmly believe ‘cheap’ and ‘value for money’ are two completely different things. I’d love to follow these clients up with a phone call 8 weeks down the line to ask if they feel the &199 + VAT fee they paid for their conveyancing represented value for money when purchasing their &250,000 + property.
Similar how many agents out there continue to put up with sub standard conveyancers purely because they get promised probate work a few times a year or the referral commission on offer is above the &200 we find tips dezrezlegal fees into being uncompetitive in most areas. Surely it can’t be worth the extra work involved having to constantly chase them up, or explain to the client why they are closed for lunch, or why they persistently fail to return your calls or emails.
I’ve always tried to offer genuine ‘value for money’ to clients who use dezrezlegal. I never tell them we are the cheapest as I don’t feel it’s the right image we or our agents want to portray. We are not a factory firm, we staff appropriately for the amount of case work we have on our books. We aren’t faceless, all our clients have direct dials and email address for their conveyancer and their assistants. We use modern technology to help our clients and agents complete as quickly as possible. We reward loyalty from our agents with reasonable referral commissions. Most importantly we are part of dezrez so have a vested interest in keeping you happy and maintaining the good name of your business.
These challenges keep the job interesting. I wonder when the bottom line will be reached, will we all be led down the path of pile them high, sell them cheap, rely on the insurance conveyancing or will clients realise that in order to do a good job a conveyancer must be trained in their field and they must be paid accordingly for the knowledge they provide. I hear these points made quite frequently by estate agents wishing to maintain a healthy percentage fee for their services and expertise.