Feast to Famine. Can conveyancing avoid it?
Changes that impact conveyancing departments always appear to come as a shock. Why is that?
There was a time when conveyancing departments had more resources, people keeping an eye open for opportunities, looking at the way that the business could or should develop, but that has mostly disappeared as everyone that remains in the business is required to work on the volume and get cases completed. This puts firms in vulnerable positions that mean when they are busy, they are not planning for the quiet times and when it is quiet, they will be tempted by any work that is offered to them; the panel manager suddenly looks attractive; not ideal.
So even during the busy times it is worth either affording some time to look at the health of your business or consulting with others who can do it for you. I have worked with numerous firms over the years who have been “too busy” to ask for profitable business from the agent ‘literally’ next door, because they have been working on demanding, low profit work, from a volume source (that can be turned down if not off). No one wishes to break ties with panel managers as they are a useful resource to help keep pipelines filled, but it is a dangerous position to be in when your business is full of that work with little else from other sources.
Over the years there have been numerous models suggesting that 75-85% of your capacity should come from direct relationships that you control, and the rest can be topped up from volume sources. Some firms have used the volume sources as a training bed for new employees to see how they perform to not damage the direct brand with established regional relationships, whilst others have seen it as a useful tap to keep everyone working to a capacity.
Conveyancers should put themselves first though. You should avoid being the whipping boy (for want of a better term) as with most property transactional relationships it is always easy to blame the conveyancer for everything that goes wrong.