Category: Real Estate Commission

Saucing it Up with Entrepreneur Chris Wallace

What do a painting and a marinade have in common? Just ask Chris Wallace and he’ll tell you that creativity plays an integral role in both. Whether he is layering color or layering flavors, Wallace looks for the proper balance to render a pleasing result.

Wallace has always liked to create. His artistic bent has played out on paper, in the layout of a room and now in bottles of marinade and barbecue sauce. The first product, Drunkin’ Priest Dipping Sauce, offers a tasty blend of teriyaki-style flavors in an all-natural sauce.

As a partner in Sauce Gods, the southern California company behind Drunkin’ Priest Dipping Sauce, Wallace and his partner wanted a name that was “in your face” and would demand notice. The partner remembered seeing a drunken priest when he served as an altar boy, and the name was born. The image on the bottle shows Wallace in a clerical collar being taken away by the law — definitely an image that’s difficult to pass by without a second look.

The two perfected the recipe for the sauce from a base of soy sauce, ginger and garlic. What began as a marinade has become an all-purpose product, suitable for a wide variety of uses. A spicy version recently joined the original recipe in the Sauce Gods online store.

“My whole goal for all this was to create something delicious, entertaining and healthy. Food should be fun and shared. People gather around for food,” says Wallace.

The road to sauce success hasn’t been a smooth one. A company in North Carolina bottled the first batch in 2008 because Wallace had trouble finding a local company to handle the small run. The cost of shipping the product back to California ate into the proceeds. Later, they found a family-run company in Westminster, CA to handle the bottling chores.

Wallace makes a point of being present when the sauce is bottled, ensuring that each batch meets his specifications. A typical run constitutes 1000 bottles, a two to three month supply for the businessmen.

A new product, Skiny’s Pomegranate BBQ Sauce, joined Wallace’s line-up this year. Subtitled “Southern Style BBQ meets Southern California,” the sauce uses a pomegranate base for a sweetness and tang and all-natural ingredients. Wallace aimed for a healthier barbecue sauce that would appeal to health-conscious customers. The recipe is gluten-free. Wallace hopes the sauce will appeal to a even more people and reach a client base that might not be interested in the teriyaki sauce

Marketing receives a personal touch. Wallace makes appearances at farmers’ markets and swap meets across the state. Events like Girls’ Night Out at El Dorado County’s David Girard Vineyard take him into Wine Country. All along the way, he stops at mom-and-pop stores to offer his product. He likes the freedom of dealing with independent shops, feeling that they can make purchasing decisions on whether or not they like the product.

While the company hasn’t made a profit yet, it is close to breaking even with anything over costs going back into marketing. His near-term goal is to become self-sustaining so that he can work with the sauce full time. Longer term, he would like to have a chain of eat-in restaurants featuring his products. The legacy he wants to leave is a simple one.

“Don’t cut corners and don’t cheapen your products. I want even big companies to see that people’s health is at stake. I want to have a business that’s profitable even though it’s healthy,” says Wallace. With his attitude and dedication, he just might make that mark.

 

Are Real Estate Agents Making Too Much Money?

This is such a loaded question. On one hand real estate agents make a lot of money for selling a home–somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 percent of the price of a home is paid in commissions–this rate varies and is alway negotiable. On the other hand, real estate agents spend a lot of time, energy and money on tasks they receive no compensation for… A real estate agent can drive a person around house-hunting for weeks on end–who knows if that person is really serious or “just browsing”. No one but the agent pays for the gas, time, use of vehicle, etc… The agent has to pay for advertising, signs, phone, etc… I guess you can tell that I am a real estate agent (actually, a real estate broker) so I can be a bit defensive about this.

But I have to sit back and take a look at the ENTIRE picture. This is where my opinion begins to wain a bit…

Housing values have increased tremendously in most areas of the country. Additionally, people are making more money and spending more money everyday. Incidently, like Dick Cheney, I do not attribute this to the government–in fact, I say it is in spite of the government…and their spending. At any rate, the average American stays in their home 5-7 years–that’s quite a few homes selling over and over again…and quite a few commissions.

My main pet peeve is that real estate commissions have gone up at a much higher scale or rate that normal cost-of-living increases given to employees. That translates into a very beneficial situation for the agent.

I know that real estate commissions are negotiable–but I do not see many agents negotiating them. I have a problem when a homeowner has to come off their selling price by thousands of dollars–and the agent refuses to budge on their commission percentage.

I feel this trend is going to cost the agents more and more money in the long run as homeowners are going to wisen up to the trend of selling their own home. This is unfortuneate because most agents are highly skilled and worth every penny–and also don’t think twice about helping the seller save a buck or two.

The way the system (or lack therof) works now is that the successful sale pays for all the wasted time spend on “dead” customers–ones that never buy–or listings that never sell.

Take some time to discuss commission arrangements with your real estate agent and see where they stand. The agent that is upfront and honest…and will to not be so rigid will turn out to be the agent most looking out for your best interest!