Ever wonder why some restoration contractors get paid far faster for their jobs than others? It may have to do with how you're telling the story of the job. Or rather, how you're not telling it.
For restorers, photos are integral for proper field documentation. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but in the restoration world, it’s worth 2,000. Taking high-quality, contextualized photos that provide a full overview of a job and answer an adjuster’s questions can largely impact when you get paid. For adjusters, proper photos give them the ability to virtually walk through a job without ever setting foot on the site. If your photos are unclear or provided without context, an adjuster has no choice but to come back with questions.
Today, we’re outlining our three best photography tips that will result in faster pay and less pushback from insurance companies. By following these tips, the photos you’ll have for your reports will be detailed, professional, and easy to understand.
Carefully Document Pre-Existing Conditions
One of the most significant ways photos can help you as a restoration contractor is through the documentation of pre-existing conditions. High-quality photos and videos can help you paint a detailed picture of the exact condition the property was in before your team arrived and began unloading equipment.
Document everything with clear images and an explanation for context so the final recipient understands what they’re looking at. This can show both the final results of your work, and help prevent you or your team from being held responsible later for conditions that were already present. This includes the exterior of the property. For example, if there’s a large crack in the driveway, have that carefully documented before you get started.
Keep your hand steady as you photograph to avoid blurry, poor quality images.
Put Yourself in The Insurance Adjuster’s Shoes
As you’re taking pictures, remember why you’re taking them: so the adjuster can gain a clear understanding of the severity of the loss. The reality is that adjusters don’t want to give you pushback, but they will have to if they don’t have the proper context for the work you are claiming. The bottom line is that they have to be able to justify every penny that they spend and correctly compensate the policyholder.
Don’t skip from one portion of the job site to another; attempt to create a virtual tour of the job.
Take Quality Photos: Here’s How
Keeping the adjuster’s motivations in mind helps you remember to take useful photographs. What does taking useful photographs entail though? Here are four best practices to get you started:
- Start with a photo of the exterior of the property. This should be the first photo in any report. As mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for pre-existing damages as you begin photographing to make sure you clearly capture those as well.
- Begin with eye-level photos across the room. Think about taking the photos to reflect the natural way someone would scan across a room. This includes taking photos from left-to-right when you’re taking multiple images to show a full room.
- Always add context to your photos. While pictures are a valuable tool, make sure that you include quick write-ups with each image to help adjusters understand exactly what they are looking at.
- Use a quick video to provide further context. A video is a simple way to help walk through a complex issue or condition. Take advantage of video by narrating what the viewer is looking at to provide a clearer understanding.
Combining Photos With The Right Documentation Software Leads To The Best Results
Photos are essential for proper documentation, but they can also create a lot of administrative work. Photos need to be accessible to the office from the field, correctly labelled, backed up, and presented properly in a report with context. This often creates a cumbersome process between the office and the field to capture and communicate the correct information. It can also take days to complete this work.
Using Encircle takes your field documentation and reporting to the next level with simplicity and speed. Try it with your team for free to see how our platform can help you capture field data and produce dynamic reports in just a couple of clicks.