"There's a lot of competition for independent contractors"
Safeguard Properties, a company inspecting and reserving foreclosed properties, is seeking new vendors and inspectors as it continues to expand its network across the US.
In an exclusive interview with MPA, the mortgage field services company said it is looking to add 1,500 workers to its vendor network this year as demand rises along with the lifting of pandemic-era foreclosure moratoriums.
“We’ve seen a lot of foreclosure activity, which has definitely picked back up,” said Michael Greenbaum, Safeguard’s COO. “That is at an all-time low on serious delinquencies,” he said. “I’m talking about multi-decade low. However, I don’t think we’re going to snap back to the 2007–2008 era when you started seeing foreclosures going through the ceiling.”
Safeguard works with banks and mortgage companies to perform field services on properties in the foreclosure process. As part of the expansion, the company added 275 subcontractors in October and now has more than 4,200 workers in its network.
However, Brian Gecewich, assistant vice president of vendor management at Safeguard, said the company faced a few roadblocks in finding and retaining new independent contractors.
“High-cost areas like New England or the west coast are the areas where it’s probably most difficult to retain people, just because of some of the pricing pressures, and the other opportunities for people to do similar work,” Gecewich said.
“The work requires people to physically go out and visit different properties,” Greenbaum added. “That requires you to actually get to the property itself, which obviously requires gas, so, as gas prices start to go up, and they’ve gone up a little bit, that’s a direct cost to us.
“There’s a lot of competition for independent contractors, meaning they can decide to do inspections for us or, conversely, they can decide to be an Uber or Lyft driver, or Grub Hub, all those different opportunities. That competition didn’t really use to exist.”
But Greenbaum said some workers build a six-figure business for themselves within Safeguard’s infrastructure.
“The people who have been with us for decades, they’ve made a really good living with us,” he said. “That’s been wildly successful. Not only is it possible to get started with us, but it’s actually possible to build a million-dollar business with us.”
Want to make your inbox flourish with mortgage-focused news content? Get exclusive interviews, breaking news, industry events in your inbox, and always be the first to know by subscribing to our FREE daily newsletter.