The following is a guest post by Alex Price.
Greetings from the great state of Alabama – Roll Tide Roll!!
Today, we’re going to cover an important topic – the three types of tracing. So you ask, why all these threes? The number three is generally attributed with a meaning of completeness: A beginning, middle, an end. Birth, life, death. Past, present, future. Sun, Moon, Earth. Two lines cannot connect without a third line to form the heavily symbolic triangle. Notwithstanding the obvious allusion to the Holy Trinity in Christianity – religions of many varieties are chock full of occurrences of threes. And, when have you ever heard a Genie offer less than three wishes? Oh yeah, one helpful bit of advice when you’re outside: “Leaves of Three: Let them be!” (poison ivy)
Moving past that bit of botanical advice, the astrology, religion and numerology, I want to show you how Skip-Tracing has evolved into three definitive categories. I will explain further in a moment.
First, you have to understand that the most recent recession impacted the monetary value that many lenders have placed on skip-tracing. This, and the fact that anyone with a computer and phone can call themselves a skip-tracer has de-valued the task all together. Because many budgets or fees failed to accommodate the cost of skip-tracing, the practice is rapidly becoming a lost art. The fact is, that by neglecting the fundamental process of skip-tracing, the number of accounts being located has noticeably dropped in comparison to previous years. Operations that have forsaken skip-tracing efforts have experienced an overall dip in performance and effectiveness. It is critical that you understand how and why the landscape has changed, and develop a plan of action and a direct path no matter the account fee or the balance.
I am going to use the Auto Recovery industry as an example, but the issues and math can be applied to any industry or profession which deals with skip-tracing. Get out your Geometry books, young Jedi! The national average shows the distance of an assignment is 38 miles one way from a recovery agent’s office. That is at minimum a 76-mile round trip. Factor in the latest statistics according to AAA, showing the national average cost of diesel fuel at $ 4.06 a gallon, multiply that by the typical 4-5 addresses presented on an assignment, and you can easily see the dilemma! We have not even factored in all the other real costs that face a business owner, such as payroll, insurance, compliance, and wrecker maintance, to name just a few. My simple math clearly demonstrates that you must make skip-tracing part of your equation.
For those of you who question how to fit it into your budget, I am illustrating each of the three types of tracing below (in order from minimum to maximum levels) with a brief explanation of each, showing that there is an available option no matter the size of your operation, budget or fee structure..
As I have always said skip-tracing starts at the point of sale or the day that the assignment is received. In order to avoid the high cost of running address after address based on someone else’s hunch or best guess, you must have some type of validation process so that you know where you are going and why. I suggest you start with the address and apply some simple, inexpensive searches that will help you validate the address.
- Phone: Is there a working phone at the address, and who’s name is it under? Does this name match your subject’s?
- Neighbor: Contact a neighbor to see if your subject is known.
- Landlord: With a click of your mouse you can have access to past or present landlords that can be a treasure chest of current information.
These three steps should cost no more than .50¢ or less, based on the provider having a no hit/no fee foundation, and make sure they have real-time data. You don’t what to have to purchase information only to waste valuable time and resources verifying the information you just purchased.
Combine the search results and your own experience to connect the dots of which address holds the best value or chance of the subject being there, and then you are ready to place the file in the field.
For those files or clients where you are given a small budget or fee for your efforts, you can apply this process. Start with the primary three steps listed above. Then go forward:
- Who is currently at the address?
- What is the current phone at the location?
- Do the names match up to your subject?
- What does the landlord have to say?
- Check for any relatives, either local or out of state for new information.
You want to look for any girlfriends, boyfriends or roommates the subject may have. We must not forget that something has happened in the subject’s life to cause the action of skipping, and rarely does the skip have any current records in their name, so it is that core group of people in their life we must find first in order to pinpoint the subject’s location.
Also know that statistically we all date or marry someone within a 3-5 year age range of ourselves, so when looking at the information associated with an address, keep this in mind. It will give you insight on who that significant other might be and take you down the path to the subject’s new location.
Total cost for this process should be around $2.00 to $2.50, and you will have all the information needed to move forward for less than a gallon of gas!
This process is for those accounts that you have a budget or fee of $300.00 to $500.00. Now you can put all of your attention and efforts, your abilities, contacts, and knowledge into a 4-5 hour investigation using all the searches shown above. Now is when you must apply everything that I have taught you in past writings: human nature, the three types of skips, locating one of the magic three, and communicating with past employers. Do all this, and you will still have a profit at the end of the hunt.
I have shown you three well-developed processes, now I want you to understand that each of these processes was devised to give you a course of action in order to enhance your first night recoveries, which we all know is where the real profit is for any business. Be aware that the longer you spend on the file, the more resources you place into it, which can result in a loss. When you are trying to outwit your prey, don’t be so prideful of who is smarter you or them that you spend $500.00 on a $275.00 fee or balance.
In the coming weeks I will unveil a new seminar the covers “The Three Types of Tracing” look for a schedule of times and dates soon!
Until Next Time… Be Blessed, Be Safe and Happy Hunting!
About the Author:
Alex Price is a nationally-recognized expert on the Art of Skip Tracing. Currently he is the Executive Vice President for MasterFiles and author of Skip Tracers National Certification Program, The Florida Records Guide, The Military Installations Guide and blogger with over 25+ years of experience in skip-tracing, collections and public speaking.
Alex Price has become a highly sought-after speaker in the auto recovery, bail enforcement and financial service industries. He combines old school skip-tracing methods with new age cyber-tracking technology to equip attendees with tools that he gained through invaluable experience. He balances the hard facts about skips with just the right amount of humor and a touch of southern charm.
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org , Office: (972) 735-2353, Fax: (972) 735-2354