How we Scaled for 7x Property Inspection Volume in 2 months


How we scaled for 7x Property Inspection Volume in 2 months graphic

A Case Study in Scaling for Volume Increases

By SingleSource | March 27, 2024

As a national field service inspection company, we provide mortgage field services to a range of clients including mortgage servicers, mortgage lenders, investors, and SFR (Single Family Rental) companies. To support our customers, we must manage fluctuating volumes of mortgage inspections to monitor occupancy and ensure our clients are fully informed of the condition of their properties. 

Throughout the last few years, the mortgage field service industry has faced difficulties with changing guidelines and unexpected market conditions. The pool of available field inspectors and property preservation contractors has dwindled during this time, resulting in issues like delays and coverage dislocations. As we were preparing for the upcoming volume, we realized that something had to change.  

As crazy as it seems, we really did scale our property inspection volume by 7 times in just 2 months without adding any additional staff to support it. We recently sat down with Field Service Inspections Supervisor, Ryan Austin, and in this article, we are breaking down exactly how the team accomplished this incredible feat. 

The goal: 

The goal was to increase customer satisfaction and performance on scorecards while building systems and processes to ramp up volume quickly for two top 10 mortgage servicers 

The process:  

Staff Training 

The first step is to start by adding structure to employees’ days and creating a standard process to do so. This included developing consistent daily routines outlining what is needed to move the entire pipeline, categorizing orders with clear plans of action, and setting up individual employee scorecards to set client standards and review staff performance.  

In addition, we re-trained our staff on how to oversee our mortgage field inspectors. Training covered how to follow up with vendors, and even more importantly, how to manage each inspector relationship.  

Austin explained that the key to success is to reframe how the team works and how they view their work. They are not associates, instead, they are managers, and they manage portfolios of work orders and vendor partner relationships. By simply reframing, restructuring, and retraining – the team was able to greatly improve overall performance within a month.  

“People want to show up to work each day and feel fulfilled,” says Austin. “They want to know how what they are doing contributes to the success of not only SingleSource, but also our customers and vendors alike. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure they can realize this no matter how big or small your team is.” 

Layering Vendor Coverage 

The next step is scaling for volume. We used the three-pronged approach called TOP: Technology, Outsource, and People – our 2024 company strategic goal. Property Inspection department leaders looked at increasing and layering mortgage field inspector coverage.  

By reviewing our existing vendor panel coverage, we identified top areas to add coverage and scale. In a certain state for instance, we were receiving around 600-800 work orders a month, and we were able to scale to 7,000-8,000. We would not have been able to support that increase in volume with the panel we had while supporting 600 work orders a month.  

color coded vendor coverage map

Investing in the Right Technology 

The third step is to search for technological improvements within the order assignment and order review part of the inspection workflow. Automation played a crucial role in creating the most efficient process possible without adding much additional overhead.  

AI and automation seem to be some of the hottest topics all over the world, and we agree that technology is an incredibly effective tool when used properly. However, it cannot replace your team, which leads us to our final step: developing a winning culture. 

Developing a Winning Culture 

Before this project, the Field Service Inspection team was in the bottom half of customer scorecards, and they are now consistently placing 1st. How did we accomplish this? The key is to set high expectations with the team and maintain those expectations. “One month isn’t a trend, it’s all about consistency,” said Austin.  

During the staff retraining period, the team was also cross-trained to be well-versed in all aspects of the property inspection process. This created a flexible team that can be agile and adapt as volume fluctuates. The Inspection team now has a collective mindset that no matter what problems arise, they will figure them out.  

“‘Losers focus on winners, and winners focus on winning,’ is a quote that hangs on every inspection team member’s desk,” says Austin. “Our only focus as a group is to be better than we were yesterday, in all aspects of what we do. We are confident that if we continue to do what’s best not only for our customers but for our vendors, that will be the catalyst that will continue to propel us forward.” 

Losers focus on winners. Winners focus on winning, quote

The impact: 

Throughout this process, we worked closely with our customers with regular check-ins. We received praise from all our field service clients who were increasing volume with SingleSource.

One top 10 servicer stated that there is usually an adjustment period with new vendors, but that SingleSource didn’t need one – we hit the ground running from the start. Another large servicer commented that we had the highest performance score ever received by a field service provider.

A few months have passed since this project, and since then:  

  • Our property inspection volume continues to increase month over month. 
  • Our clients trust us, and we deliver consistent results.  
  • We maintain and continue to build strong vendor relationships with our field inspector partners. Austin said, “None of this would have been possible without our vendor panel.” 

“‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. When we board new customers, no matter the size, it is because they have a need that was previously not being met,” said Austin.  

“Our goal is to make sure that need is met as quickly as possible and to the standards that they expect. Like everyone in this industry, we do not have a perfect service, and this is a business of failures. However, our response to these failures and the quickness we go about rectifying them, as well as ensuring the correct people/processes are in place to avoid happening again, is truly what separates us from the pack.” 

Moving forward: 

Even after this amazing accomplishment, the Inspection team is not slowing down. Their new goal is to increase volume even more – now 4 times what they are currently working with. They plan to exceed that goal with the help of our staff, vendor partners, and clients.  

Do you need help with fulfilling inspections on your properties? We offer a range of inspection services to ensure you are fully informed of the condition of your property and have all the information needed to make the best decisions to protect your investment. Fill out the form below to learn more about how our team can work for you.

About SingleSource

SingleSource provides a comprehensive range of services that can be applied across the entire loan origination process and servicing cycle.

Our wide range of product and service offerings can be summarized by 5 main lines of business: Valuations, REO Asset Management, Field Services, Title and Settlement, and Document Management.

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