Business Management

Reputation Management: The Only Time It’s Better to Lose Money…

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice
190 Articles Written

One of the lessons I learned early on in my real estate investing career was that the circle of industry professionals is smaller than you might think. One of the worst things you can do in this business is neglect to take care of your clients, vendors, partners, etc. and develop a bad reputation as a result.

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Whether you are a landlord, a wholesaler, a house flipper, or hard money lender, etc., you are inevitably doing business with some group or groupings of customers and other real estate professionals in your everyday investing activities. These people form your team as well as your customer base and are critical to your success (or lack of success). Having been in this business full-time now for over 8 years, I’ve seen first-hand how easy it is to develop a reputation for yourself (for the better or for the worse).

One of the common threads that I’ve seen in successful real estate businesses over the years is the positive reputation that these businesses have managed to maintain. Whether this was from strong tenant relations, focused customer service, quality workmanship, or even just paying contractors in a timely manner – the real estate businesses that seem to have the most success in the marketplace are those businesses that strive to take care of the people they work with and serve.

Key Principle: Reputation over Profit

One key principle that I’ve learned to employ in my business is that sometimes it’s better to spend money or even lose money rather than tarnish your reputation or the reputation of your company. Honestly, there is not a week that goes by that I don’t have to make a decision along these lines.

Whether I’m covering rent for an investor who lost a tenant, or paying to fix the A/C on a house I sold months ago – the money spent is worth it if I am building a solid reputation for my business. Ultimately, having a strong reputation as a company that can be trusted is what’s going to keep you in business.

I’ve seen many companies pop up over the years, sell a few properties and then disappear into oblivion when faced with challenges and expenses they were not prepared to face. Spending time and money to keep your customers satisfied with your product … especially in the early years will go miles towards building  a business that will last.

Ken Corsini is a seasoned real estate investor and business owner based in Woodstock, Georgia. Ken is best known for his role on HGTV’s hit show “Flip or Flop Atlanta,” and has flipped over 800 hou...
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    jeffrey gordon
    Replied over 7 years ago
    maybe we are splitting points here, but are you really losing money when your actions in the long term insure profits? In my mind mis classifying something is a greater folly than doing the right thing. if over the long term you go broke from your actions is one thing, but if you can see long term profits emerge from short term investments then it is clear–do the right thing now if it will add to the long term value of the company.
    Ken Corsini
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I think it’s important to clarify that I don’t advocate building a real estate business model around losing money in anticipation of making money at some point in the future. The point I was trying to make is that SOME deals may not be money makers when striving to maintain a very good reputation. I would hope that the “profitable” deals still outnumber the “unprofitable” …. it this isn’t the case, then you are right – it’s probably not a good business model to begin with. Many new business owners can be shortsighted and cling to their profits on every deal so tightly that they lose sight of the importance of building a solid reputation.
    Roy Schauer
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Our company has chosen to do that in our area. Yes, we may have incurred more expense, but as long as we are still making a profit, at this stage of the game as we are growing, reputation and word of mouth in our small community is cheaper than advertising. So we consider it a necessary cost of doing business. As REI’s, we should be doing our numbers to account for things like this to a certain degree also. Sometimes you don’t have to foot the whole bill as long as you go above and beyond what would be normally expected. And fortunately there are enough companies out there that think the bottom line is the most important aspect and help make our company look better because we actually try to consider our clients, and business associates, and treat them like we want to be treated. Good points Ken!
    Mark Ferguson
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I agree completely. We spend money all the time on things that we are not responsible for. In the long run it is a great investment.
    Glenn Schworm
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Ken, Great post man, I agree 100%. You really can’t put a value on your reputation. We have aid the price many times and in the end people know who we are and how we operate with integrity. Great job! – Glenn