Insurance claims do not require multiple bids.
If you find yourself in a situation with multiple bid/estimates, run away.
No one wins when you sell based on price. A “client” who is getting more than one Xactimate estimate from more than one restoration contractor, is not a client you want.
That same “client” will take your Xactimate estimate apart at the end of the project. I call them the “shoppers.” These folks look at your Xactimate estimate as an a-la-carte shopping list. They start taking out things like Final Cleaning and Painting by saying, “We can handle that,” or “my brother is a contractor.”
These people are not your clients. You will not make the proper margins on any project with them. Don’t get sucked in. You’ve got better things to do with your time (and money).
If you’re discussing color, you’ve already lost the sale.
People don’t want to buy a certain color car. They buy a vehicle that matches their needs. A good salesman is adept at discovering those needs and meeting them.
The same is true with ANY sales, including fire and water damage repairs. A good salesman or project manager will figure out what the clients’ needs are, and find a way to meet them.
I’ve been selling services in the insurance repair industry for close to twenty years. In every [successful] sales situation, the thing I’m selling is me and my company. For more advanced techniques, you should probably check out Ivan Turner’s work at ShowMe Marketing Solutions.
What I’m NOT selling is an estimate.
I refuse to compete on price. When someone asks me what my “price” is for a given project, they’re showing me that they don’t understand the insurance claim process. Right then and there I have to make a judgement call about how much time and effort this project is worth to me and my company.
If the project is promising, and I feel that the client is willing to listen, I will take the time to educate them on the insurance claim process. I will explain to them why they don’t want, and absolutely shouldn’t get, multiple bids. I’ll walk them through the steps of a “successful” claim and tell them what to expect along the way.
An Xactimate estimate is a claim settlement tool; nothing more. The creation of an Xactimate estimate represents your best effort to quantify the severity of the loss. We write repair estimates in Xactimate as a courtesy to the INSURANCE COMPANY, not the home or business owner.
Writing Xactimate estimates takes tremendous time and skill. When you offer to write estimates for free, you are de-valuing your own time and steeply discounting your skill. And it actually makes the client and adjuster value you and your company LESS. Don’t discount yourself.
If you can keep a clear distinction in your own mind between the Xactimate estimate (settlement tool) and the actual REPAIR estimate, you’ll be light-years ahead of your competition. And you’ll get to spend your time on more productive activities.
Good luck out there. And when you’re ready, let Claims Delegates take the data-entry of Xactimate off your plate. How much more could you get done today if you didn’t have to sit in front of a computer typing out estimates? You’ve already don’t the hard part of scoping and walking the job, let Claims Delegates handle the busy work.
Also published on Medium.