I’m a skip tracer, and I have good news and bad news for you. No worries – the good news far outweighs the bad. Either way – you need immediate, accurate contact information on your subjects so you can present your business proposal. That’s where we come in.
This post is all about the difficulties that you’re most likely going to encounter in your new business. I strongly suggest you read this entire article and familiarize yourself with the process of FINDING AND GETTING PEOPLE TO RESPOND TO YOUR BUSINESS PROPOSAL.
I am a Skip Tracer – among other things. Most of my clients are attorneys, property owners, fellow process servers, PI’s, real estate investors, and banks. I have also been performing skip traces for those in the Tax Overages Business for going on five years now. I’ve learned a lot from those of you in this business and have figured out what you need MOST OF ALL to be successful. In a nutshell:
- Good databases as a starting point
- A firm understanding that it’s a numbers game
- Accurate phone numbers
- Up-to-date physical addresses
- Fast response time from your skip tracer
- Location and contact information of close relatives
- Techniques for getting your subjects to respond.
- A list of potential clients that everyone in your business DOES NOT HAVE!
First of all – I am NOT in the Tax Overages business. I have a highly successful business as a Certified Private Process Server. I also work for a Licensed Private Investigator. Over the past 20 years, I have become particularly good at finding people, or “skip tracing,” and have no intention, or desire, to enter into a new business model.
The reason I mention this is because I have been asked the following from those in the Tax Overages Business: “How do I know that you won’t use the information that I just gave you to find recent contact information and try to make a deal yourself?” A good question. A legitimate question.
And here’s my answer: I have no desire to do be in your type of business. I already own a very successful business. I do not have the time, and, to be honest, I have no desire to try and convince people that I have a “deal” for them. It’s just not my cup of tea. I would much rather operate behind the scenes. Put the pieces of the puzzle together, so to speak.
Secondly, you’re going to run across many obstacles in the process of trying to contact your potential business partners. This is a common problem. A big problem. Minimal and confusing starting points, as well as incomplete or inaccurate information on your subject(s). Bad addresses, old phone numbers, and no email addresses. They may be deceased.
And, probably most important, you may be operating off some sort of list that all of your competitors have. Not good. Please, take the time to research your list of names – in person – at your local courthouse.
I have learned, through those currently in your business, what kind of information that you need most in order to successfully close a “deal.” Accurate addresses, probable phone numbers, and current/past email addresses.
You also need contact information for close relatives. Why? Because you have no idea of what’s going on in the life of your “target.” They may have lost/sold their property because of illness, death, or criminal activity. Many times, it’s credit problems. Relatives can supply that information. And, for deceased individuals, family members usually have control of any trust that may be floating around.
As a skip tracer, how am I different from other skip tracers or public online databases? I’ve been in the skip tracing business for over 20 years now. I have access to the “really good stuff.” I’m talking about quality databases here. Almost “real time.” And I use cutting-edge techniques to verify ACCURATE information. Let’s start with some basics about your Tax Overage Business.
It’s a Numbers Game!
Make no mistake – the Tax Overages Business is a numbers game. Once you understand this, you’ll do just fine. If you start with a list of potential people who have money coming back to them, assume that you make a deal with one out of 10. Or, one out of 20. You just never know.
As a skip tracer who finds these subjects, I can assure you that the percentage is small. How do I know this? Because you guys tell me. The successful ones in this business completely understand these numbers and adjust accordingly.
If you spend $500.00 getting in contact with 10 people – you may make one deal. That deal could be worth $5000 to you. Or $30,000. You just never know. Thinking long-term is the only way you’ll make it in this business.
How Databases Work
You get what you pay for. Public online databases? You know the ones I’m referring to here – sign up for $49.95 per month and “we’ll give you the most accurate information available for unlimited searches.” Yeah, right. Old information. There’s so many databases out there claiming to have the most “up-to-date information. I have news for you – they’re not being forthcoming.
Yes, you may be able to get some information that’s good – but more than likely it’s quite old. Only the best databases have almost “live” information – and you have to pay top dollar for that information. I have those databases. And more. I go into much more detail on databases here: Skip Tracing Databases.
Why do I have access to these databases? Because I’m a Certified Private Process Server. And as I mentioned earlier in this post, I also work for a Private Investigator. We have access to these top-notch databases because of the industry we’re in. These database providers do not allow access to just anyone. We’re background checked, fingerprinted, and have to go through a lengthy interview/inspection at our office almost every year.
How do accurate skip tracing databases affect your business? Many of your competitors are taking shortcuts – using online databases. They pay for outdated and inaccurate information, are unable to contact their target – and give up. That’s good for you – but don’t be one of those people.
How Phone Bank Databases Work
Phone databases work just like any other database. The names and phone numbers of people all across the USA are compiled from new phone applications, credit headers, property and court records, utility companies, phone companies, and many other sources you’re probably not aware of.
Landlines, cell phones, pagers, 800 numbers, fax machines, voice, etc. It’s very common for people to switch carriers between landlines and cell phones. There’s 4 main carriers and hundreds of smaller service providers of cell phones. Portability changed everything a few years back, and people change their phone numbers quite frequently.
How does this affect you? Phone numbers change all the time. As I mentioned in the previous database section, we also have access to the newest information when it comes to phones. As an additional bonus, we obtain lists of not only the current numbers – but past numbers as well.
Why is this important? Because many times these past numbers are those of a close relative, associate, or roommate. This is valuable because they can be the pipeline to your actual target.
The Problem with Phones
Yes, and it’s a huge problem when it comes to the Tax Overages Business! Why won’t these people answer their phones? Why are they lying to me? Why do they have 10 different phone numbers listed under their name that they have used in the last few years? All good questions, and I can give you more than a few reasons why.
Phone culture is changing. It’s all about texting, social media, and email. There are many reasons for this, and here’s a quick article that will get you thinking about why people are not answering their phones.
A few more reasons:
- People obtain new phone numbers much more often than they used to
- Many people have cell phone numbers underneath a friend or family members’ account
- Burners and “Trac Phones” are very popular
- People will not answer their phones “live”
- People are not forthcoming in identifying themselves
A good article I wrote about phones is here: Skip Tracing and the Problem with Phones.
The bottom line on phones here is that you better have alternative methods of contacting your potential business partners. I’m talking about physical addresses here. Their current address, previous address(s), and the addresses of their close relatives. Instead of going into all of that here in this post, I wrote an additional article about Skip Tracing Basics. I’ll discuss this a bit more in a couple of paragraphs down.
In your new Tax Overages Business, if you are not the first or second person contacting your targets – you’re done. People that get multiple phone calls or letters inquiring about their former property start getting suspicious and “scam alert” starts ringing in their brains.
This is why many people these days will not answer their phones “live.” And, you have to be careful as to what kind of message you leave on their recorder – too much information and they start inquiring at the County Courthouse all by themselves. By-passing you!
One positive attribute that I’ve noticed of those that are successful in the Tax Overage Business is that they sound very professional and knowledgeable on the phone. And they have a very professional-looking website with good contact information. This makes a difference. I’m not in your business, so I don’t know exactly what your sales pitch is – but it has to be good.
Techniques for Getting Your Subjects to Respond
For an informative post on basic skip tracing, check this article out. You need to know some basic skip tracing techniques. It’s all about getting your subject to answer or respond to your phone call or correspondence.
And don’t forget email addresses. We supply those for you, but emails are in the same category as phones – people change them very often. Again, we can thank the spammers and scammers for that.
You should have a very nice, professional email that you can send to your potential targets. Send the correspondence to ALL of their emails as you never know which one they actually monitor. Again, it’s a numbers game.
Property Owners Bypass You!
But you have another issue here. After listening to your business proposal, many people will start thinking, Why can’t I do this myself? Why do I need someone else to get this money for me? Many will start doing their own research by looking at the same records you are at the County Courthouse. Ouch.
They may even call their Attorney, their former Real Estate Agent, or a family member to get some advice. Not good. After all of your hard work, the former property owner’s figures things out for themselves and retrieve the funds.
How Today’s Regular Mail System Works
Postal letter carriers will generally deliver mail according to the address. I’ve never worked for the Post Office, but I have questioned my own letter carriers, and others, throughout the years, and the consensus seems to be that they will deliver the mail on their route according to the address – not just the name.
Many mailboxes no longer have the names of the residents on them – so no big deal. Some letter carriers may be sticklers for policy, but don’t give this too much thought. Mail your correspondence to the current and former addresses. The former addresses are good to have because the Post Office may forward that letter to a brand-new address that you’re unaware of.
Why does this matter? I know from experience that when I send out mailings, most all get delivered. For you in the Tax Overages Business, an effective letter detailing your services can work wonders. Especially if you cannot get anyone to answer the phone.
Want to take it a step further? Overnight of Express Mail them the letter. Hand address it. Use Priority Mail through the Post Office. UPS and FedEx work just as well.
One thing you should never do: Sending your letter by “Certified” or “Registered” mail. This is a big no-no in your business as most people have a tendency to believe that these types of mail bring bad news. They will either deny being that person – or simply say that they do not live at that address.
Time is Money
So, where are you getting your information? County courthouse records? Cheap, online databases? The White Pages? Time is money! Your competitors are using these standard ways of contacting people – and wasting a lot of time. As I mentioned before – you need to be FIRST in contacting your potential business partners.
You need information fast. That’s where we here at Skip Trace Pros excel. We usually find the information you need the same day you request our help. No joking. We understand how important it is to get timely, accurate information. This is what makes the difference between a successful Tax Overages Business and an unsuccessful one.
You’re in the Tax Overages Business to make money. Lots of it. From what I understand, it’s a great business if you understand that it’s a simple numbers game combined with due diligence. No shortcuts!
You have to do whatever you can in order to be the first person to contact those who have tax overage money coming back to them. If you’re not, then it increases the chance that the person will think that it’s a scam – or believes that they can do this by themselves.
Additional Tax Overages Questions
What if the subject is deceased? Good question. This is where you can be most successful by contacting the relatives. Especially children. They probably have access to all records and are listed as heirs. And, they’re usually quick to make a deal.
Are some States better than other’s to do this business in? It is my understanding that this is true. I am not in the Tax Overages Business, so I cannot give you any details here – but I know that in some States you need to work with an Attorney.