Having had plenty of bad jobs in my life, I thought it might be interesting for aspiring Flippers to get a chance to peek behind the curtain and get a feel for what the lifestyle is really like. I’m not going to regale you with tales of Lamborghinis and trips to Maui. The truth is, I drive a pickup truck and rarely go on vacation. I want to set this up by saying that land flipping isn’t a glamorous lifestyle, however it is better that 90% of the jobs out there in terms of quality of life. In order to demonstrate this I’m going to run you through what a typical week for me looks like. This is supposed to be entertainment, as well as to give “guidance counseling” to any hesitant flippers out there thinking about the career change, but unsure what it might entail.
9 AM – meeting with a banker. I’ve arranged to meet the lending officer of a local bank to try and get some capital for a 100K, 20-acre parcel I’m aiming to buy. I pretty much have the capital on hand myself, but since it is always better to keep your cash in your pocket for spur of the moment deals (when the good one’s pop up, they get snatched up fast, remember) I’m hoping the bank helps me out. I drive the banker out and show him the property, answer his questions, and glad hand him a little bit.
12 – Decide to put up an index card in a little country store advertising my last remaining lot, and try out the lunch plate at the same time. Also introduce myself to the owner and give him my card, in case he knows anyone in the area looking to sell their property. Win win situation (damn good collard greens too).
3-5 – Meeting with business partners to discuss how we are going to divide the new 20 acre parcel. What prices are we going to sell it for? Who are our target buyers? Do we really want to spend 10 grand on fix up or just sell it as woods? How is the rainy season going to affect these plans?
6PM – Having a drink when the phone rings. Talk to a guy for thirty minutes who saw my ad in the country store. Yes, be happy to give you a showing on Saturday!
9AM – We have an appointment with our dirtman to walk over the new twenty acres. Yeah, we still don’t own it officially, but we are getting a headstart on a quote for clearing the frontage. We don’t like his quote. A bit high.
12 – Have a closing scheduled on a 2 acre lot we are sold owner financed. A small check for now (5k deposit) but add another monthly note to the mailbox money.
3 – Accounting on the sale. Got to make sure to set some aside for the tax man. Being self-employed means keeping meticulous records of income/expense. This part is NOT FUN. Finish at about the time the 8th coffee stops having any effect.
Evening – Personal time.
9 AM – Have a showing on the last lot of our current project, but the asshole decides to get me out there and stand me up. Why do people do that? We may never know the mysteries of the human species, but what we do know is always bring a book. I generally call ahead to confirm but failed to do so in this case. Trust is a big no no in business sometimes.
Noon – 3PM, spend this time updating a lot of the ads I have floating around on the internet. As 3 out of 4 lots in our current project have now closed, everything I’ve got out in the ether needs to be changed in order to reflect that. This takes time. I must rerecord a section of my video ad, change a flyer, fix craigslist, replace some Facebook posts, etc, etc. Keeping all this up to date takes a bit of time.
4PM – Banker calls. He rejects my loan. What? More wasted time. But, again, part of the job is pivoting around disappointments and obstacles.
4:30 PM Have to pick up the recent survey plat on my upcoming project, which entails a bit of a drive. I like to visit the surveyor’s office occasionally anyway so that I can put names to faces and let people do the same to me. Try to be outgoing and introduce myself to the secretary, the draftsmen, etc. Plat looks good and no boundary issues!
Heavy rain all day. Take a few calls from prospective buyers. Get one of my mailbox checks a few days early (score). Short phone business meeting, but other than that not a busy day. Get some writing done on this blog post. Rainy days are no good for an active Land Flipper. Not much progress can be made when rain is heavy.
9 AM – Was planning on doing some cleanup on my last lot, trying to really make it shine for the weekend showings, but I end up just going out there and looking around. The ground is too soggy to drive my truck up on after yesterday’s heavy rain, and I don’t feel like wading out into the mud to clip a few briers for that extra 1% salability. Decide to put off the work until it dries a bit, but I’m still out there just checking on things, so it isn’t totally wasted.
12 AM – Visit the hardware store and pick up some odds and ends. Flagging, a 300 foot tape (mine is irrevocably tangled I’m afraid) and some bug spray. It is a local franchise so I ask the guy at the front desk if I can put up one of my index card ads. Not only does he agree but we get to talking about land and he says he may know someone who is interested. He even compliments me when I tell him the price. I’m too cheap apparently, but that is what moves land quickly.
1-5 PM – The rest of the day is spent visiting the mobile home companies. Luckily, in my town (and many others) they are all on one big strip. So I just hit each one. I ask for the manager, talk to him about my last lot, and generally just remind him that I’m a guy who sells land.
I make detailed notes about my interaction with each person, so that I also know a few things about them and can tell them all apart.
If I were a less scrupulous land flipper, I might also have mentioned that some land flippers pay 500 dollars to mobile home salesmen who refer lot buyers (but only when they actually buy).
This takes a while but it is worth it to build connections with people who are constantly interacting with my customers.
9 – At the land bright and early for my showings. I’ve managed to stack three this morning. One person is a no show (Plan for about 1/3 not showing) but the other two both say they want the last lot. I casually mention that I have three showings that morning (To show them that they need to go ahead and act fast). Since I’m writing this in retrospect, I can tell you that neither one of these people came through with a deposit when I called them back three days later. No worries, we just keep pushing until someone buys.
The rest of Saturday and Sunday are used for paperwork, a few business calls to people who expressed interest and then flaked out, and some light accounting.
All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good week. Self-employment is largely about finding things to do and then forcing yourself to act decisively, even when you feel a lack of direction. You are responsible for deciding which aspect of business needs your time the most and then making and executing a plan.
If you are interested in more nuts and bolts of what we do, I recommend our Land Flipping Course, and as always, feel free to email me with any questions about the process.