As a restoration contractor, it is getting harder and harder to make your business stand out amongst the competition. One way to differentiate your business in the eyes of homeowners, carriers and Managed Repair Networks is by consistently starting your estimates on Day 1.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. As restorers, the first priority is always to help the homeowner and minimize property damage. Everything else – like paperwork and estimating – often comes second.
So how can restorers achieve Day 1 estimates? Here are three key pieces of advice to help you get there:
1) Use a digital sketching tool - that doesn't have long processing times
Every mitigation estimate starts with a sketch and property measurements. Using technology instead of sketching by hand can be extremely helpful for starting the estimating process earlier. Restorers can save hours measuring and drawing by hand in the field, and eliminate the potential for human errors, messiness and inconsistency.
While there are a number of tools out there that can create digital property sketches, not all solutions are created the same. For the most part, you can assume a similar level of accuracy for solutions on the market, but the two key things restorers should look for in a digital sketching tool to help you start estimates on Day 1 are:
- An easy and quick capture process
- A fast and reliable turnaround time
The digital tool you choose needs to make the sketching process fast and easy, so that anyone on your team can get you an accurate sketch. Otherwise, you risk delays in your estimating process if the select few trained team members trained on your digital sketching tool are busy on other jobs or unavailable.
Of course, it's impossible for you to start your estimates on Day 1 if your sketch file isn't returned to you until 24-48 hours after you've captured the property measurements. Instead, you need a digital sketch tool that guarantees same-day delivery of your sketch. Beware of solutions that take longer to deliver in higher-volume periods, like after CAT events.
Pro Tip: A digital sketching tool like Encircle Floor Plan delivers professional, 2D floor plans into Xactimate sketches in 90 mins on average (always under 6 hours), so you can start every mitigation estimate on Day 1. The capture process is so easy that anyone can do it with the smart phone that they have in their pocket, no training or special equipment required. Because it only takes 5 mins to scan a property, and pricing is consistent regardless of property size, you can use it on every job – big or small.
2) Get information from field to office ASAP
When you are looking to start your estimates faster, you need to get information from the field to the office as soon as possible. Oftentimes, estimators do not make it out to the job site and must rely on the information they are given by other team members.
Using a digital documentation tool in the field, particularly one that offers real-time sync to a web application, can save hours in your estimating process. Field information is made available to your office team instantly as it is captured, instead of having to wait until your teams return to the office to share information.
This allows estimates to be started before your team has even left the site from their first visit. Plus, your office team can communicate with your field teams before they leave the site, if they are missing any key pieces of information needed for the estimate. This is key to avoid additional delays in creating an estimate, preventing repeat site visits for missing documentation.
Pro Tip: For many restorers, estimate creation can become a bottleneck in their operations. Once you have solid documentation practices in place and you are using a digital tool for fast and accurate sketches, it can be advantageous to consider using a 3rd party estimator, especially during high-volume periods. Reach out to one of our team members to learn more about Encircle’s 3rd party estimating partners.
3) Have your field staff create a video scope on every job
Everyone knows the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Imagine how valuable a video with expert commentary about the loss would be worth. Especially for people who have not been to the job site themselves, a video explaining the cause of loss, secondary damages, and intended plan of mitigation/restoration provides valuable context that cannot be understood from photos alone.
A video like this only takes a couple of minutes to create on your first site visit, and will serve as a helpful reference throughout the project for your office teams, estimator, and eventually the adjuster/reviewer. Especially at the beginning stages of the project, a video walkthrough will speed up your scoping and estimating process by reducing the amount of questions and back-and-forth between field and office teams.
Plus, this type of video can be included in your final report to the adjuster and the homeowner, to add an extra layer of credibility and professionalism that will set your company apart from the rest.
Click here to see how Shamrock Restoration used video to boost their Managed Repair Network rating to win more business.
There you have it, 3 ways that you can start your mitigation estimates faster and differentiate your restoration business as a result. Interested in learning more about how Encircle’s field documentation platform can help you create estimates on Day 1?