7-ish Estimating Questions Every Public Adjuster Should Know the Answer to
Today we aim to answer the age-old question, should a public adjuster do estimates? Or should public adjusters simply outsource that part of the claim process?
The answer is not as easy as you might think. Estimating is a vital part of your arguments. It is probably the most important part!
If you don’t have experience writing estimates, you cannot:
👉 Tell the difference between an accurate estimate and one full of fluff.
👉 Know if the estimator is charging fair prices.
👉 And you will have a hard time finding trusting estimators!
So, let’s dig in and tackle these topics one by one.
By the end of this blog post, you will learn about fair prices for estimating projects, the importance of having estimating experience, and when to start outsourcing.
First, Why are Precise Estimates Important?
Imprecise estimates can hurt your reputation with the insurance company and future clients.
You might think everyone loves public adjusters, but in reality, public adjusters get a bad rap for writing fluff, as in things that shouldn’t be there.
And that reputation is spread around by the insurance companies and public adjusters who perform such inaccurate estimates.
However, if you have been following my training online, then you know I think public adjusters are here to ensure nothing is missed, and the property owners get the money they need for repair.
Whether the owner actually repairs all those line items later is not up to us.
We just need to ensure they get paid for everything that needs to be replaced.
In essence, estimates need to be accurate for two reasons:
- So we reduce and remove the rumor that public adjusters like to blow estimates out of proportion.
- And because policy owners should get the money they deserve!
It is not much of a discussion, if you want to be a successful public adjuster, write accurate estimates.
Should You Do the Estimation or Outsource?
You could say this part is the crux of the post. Should you outsource your estimates as a public adjuster?
Well, that depends on your experience.
I recommend you write the estimates yourself if you are a new public adjuster.
Writing estimates will help you have an overview of the whole claim process, and you will learn about realistic repair prices.
Estimating is a dull but significant part of the claim process.
You must present an accurate estimate so the homeowner receives the required amount to repair their home.
And then, after a year, two, or three, when you feel confident enough, you will start thinking outsourcing is the best way to go.
And that is when you should outsource.
How to Choose the Right Estimator?
First, let us see what an estimator does.
Estimators go to the property, take pictures of the damage, scope it, prepare the documentation, and write the estimate.
It might be worth knowing that you don’t have to hire an estimator for the whole project.
You can, for example, outsource only the writing part and prepare the documentation yourself.
Either way, estimating is about knowing which items need to be repaired and writing them accordingly. A successful estimator has a very high attention to detail.
Let that be your first requirement when looking for an estimator.
Next, try to rely on industry experts and word of mouth.
If you can work with the same estimator successful public adjusters hire, do that.
As much effort as we put into educating public adjusters and policyholders, this industry mostly relies on word of mouth and recommendations from trusted sources.
So, ask around when you start looking for an estimator.
And finally, use Google to search for the ones who have the most recommendations, a professional website, possibly a LinkedIn profile, etc.
Where to Find a Reliable Estimator?
I can think of two excellent options when looking for an estimator.
First, ask Elite Resolutions.
We launched an estimating department at the beginning of 2023 and are handling all our estimations in-house while offering these services to other public adjusters.
Your second option is to use Google.
Most, if not all, estimators have a website today. And at the very least, they have a LinkedIn or Twitter profile.
Simply search for them online, call a few numbers, and determine which estimator is the best for your project.
Should You Hire an Estimator from Your State?
Public adjusters often wonder if they should hire estimators from their state.
In general, it does not matter whether the estimator lives or works in the same state as you.
However, you will run into claims that require you, or the estimator, to understand the local codes and upgrades.
That is the only reason why hiring an estimator from your state might be beneficial.
They are more likely to be familiar with local regulations.
What is the Price to Pay for an Estimate?
Estimating can cost you anywhere from $300 to $1000 depending on the scope of the claim.
And that is if they do everything from taking pictures of the property to writing the estimate.
I don’t believe that paying more than $1000 brings any more value to your claim, and I don’t support paying the percentage.
Estimators might disagree, and they might argue their points, but from my experience, a fixed price, not larger than $1000, is more than enough to cover the estimating work.
However, I will add that some estimators, and we do that at Elite Resolutions too, will charge more depending on how fast you want the project done.
That I can support.
For example, delivering an estimate in a week has one price, but having it in your inbox in a few days costs more.
What Should You Expect from an Estimate?
The only thing you should expect from an estimate is accuracy.
If the insurance company notices the estimate is inaccurate, it will hurt your credibility with every following encounter with the same insurance company and possibly with the clients as well.
This is where your estimating experience comes in handy. The more experience you have, the easier you can tell if an estimate is inaccurate.
That way, you can fix it before sending it to the insurance company!
And finally, Is XActimate Necessary?
Xactimate is, for some reason, the industry standard.
However, there isn’t a policy that requires you to submit an estimate in Xactimate.
You could submit it in an organized excel sheet, and all that will matter is that everything is visible and accurate.
So if an insurance adjuster asks you about an estimate in Xactimate, know it is not necessary, it might be easier for them, but it is not required.
The most important part of this post is when to outsource estimating.
I honestly recommend you get some experience before outsourcing that part of the claim.
And then, you can help yourself with the rest of the answers to find the best estimator around you.
It’s time to take full control of your claims. Of your business. Of your life.
A community can help you get there faster. It can offer support during these tough times. Inspiration. Guidance.
Together, we can get you to where you want to be.
What are you waiting for?