Why do Appraisal Fees vary so much?

Appraisal fees are estimated based the valuers anticipated scope of work as well as administrative and overhead costs. For a self employed independent contractor, which is most appraisers, this includes things like: time spent driving, viewing homes  and neighborhoods, completing research, typing reports, and follow-up/consulting time, as well as health insurance, quarterly income taxes (paid up front), an unemployment fund (self-employed people are ineligible for federal or state unemployment or workman’s comp), business insurance, vehicle and equipment replacement funds, fuel and maintenance, file storage, membership dues, licensing fees and continuing education courses. Valuing unique homes or those with unique locations or views often doubles time and research requirements.  Unlike salaried professions appraisers must survive seasonal and market based fluctuations and random “slow spells”  that can severely  limit the amount of work available any week, month or year.