We write construction estimates, using Xactimate as our tool, for the purpose of helping contractors Level The Playing Field

– Adam Wiese, President

My time to help coach EME clients on how to present and argue scope of work as it relates to our estimates is free. I was an insurance adjuster for 10 years. I was an independent, focusing mainly on catastrophe residential, but I also handled commercial about 10% of the time. After getting burned out primarily due to the carriers requiring us to deny more and more legitimate coverage – essentially stripping adjusters of their authority to make reasonable judgment calls to settle claims equitably for all parties – I quit. I went to work for a couple of engineering firms, where I designed file handling and estimating protocols for government contracts. My protocols were very successful helping to maximize their efficiency and our profit as writers. From there, I wrote independently for contractors, appraisers, and public adjusters. This segued into running Estimates Made Easy, where we have helped contractors in over 40 states for the last 3 years. I rarely write estimates myself these days, as I am busy running the company. So I have a team of seasoned, highly-skilled estimators. They have all been estimating professionally for many years.

Become a EME War Chest member

 

This membership is in addition to our estimate writing service. It is not mandatory to become a member of the EME War Chest in order to utilize our service. If you have not spoken with Adam on the telephone in order to be able to use our estimating service this extra resource may not be for you.

For $19.99 a month you can get access to this ever expanding and evolving collection of powerful resources developed by Adam Wiese and LP partners over the course of many years. About once a week members will receive an email regarding what’s been added and improved.

by Steve Patrick

Win the Claim Game by Leveling The Playing Field

For the free eBook download, Win the Claim Game by Leveling The Playing Field by Steve Patrick, text the word “eBook” to (214) 496-5182

Thank you!

Things you need to know

How do I sign up?

Simply email Adam Wiese with your name and number, and Adam will call you.  A discussion is needed to build expectations.  All of the points we discuss generally will be found in this FAQ, so read it all if you’d prefer a short telephone call.

What do we need to talk about?

What kind of company do you have?
Are you a PA or contractor?
Primarily commercial or residential?

If commercial, please supply us with IRC specific issues. With commercial we will always need to know:

  • Duration of the job
  • How many safety monitors.
  • How many days and hours per day for supervisor(s)
  • Core sample for flat roofs.
  • LF of parapet wall and cap flashing.
  • Special equipment rental, how many days/hours for equipment operators

The list of information for commercial should usually be 10x that of residential.

If you will be sending us 5+ a week, we will create a file handling system in Google Drive for progress tracking. Also, we will gladly speak with anyone who prepares the information for us, as clear information makes for fewer revisions.

What does EME need from me?

Quick list:

  • Adjuster’s estimate.
  • List of what’s wrong with it.
  • Diagram sketches. like an Eagleview if needed.
  • Pictures (optional, and only if necessary to help us write your estimate)
  • Your company logo and Header information.

We need the adjuster’s estimate and your list of what’s wrong with it. For example:

 

If there are 12 turtle vents on a roof, but the adjuster only included 4, we need a quick bullet point [note “12 turtle vents”]. We will cross analyze the notes vs the adjusters estimate.

How long will it take to get my estimate, and what is your price?
  • We are $165 per hour for a 3-5 business day turnaround.
  • We have a 1 Business Day Turnaround option at $220 per hour. We will not do 1 Business Day Turnaround for your first estimating job with us. We both need time to adjust to the outsourcing of estimates for your company, as we customize estimating protocols for all of our clients. Because everyone is different.
How much is a typical estimate?

It depends.
For example: A residential hail claim with no interior is about 30 minutes work. But all estimates vary. If you send us 10 residential hail estimates, you could see them vary from 27 mins to 1.5 hours. It depends on complexity. Interior damage could add an extra 5 minutes, or an extra 2 hours. 5 minutes being a water spot on a bedroom ceiling, and 2 hours being water damage on all ceilings, walls, and floors.

Average time examples:

  • Residential hail 35 minutes
  • Hail + interior 1.1hours.
  • Tile roof 1 hour
  • Commercial 2.5 hours
  • Fire / Flood 3 hours

There is no minimum fee per estimate.

How does billing work with your company?

Neither Adam nor the writers handle billing. Our secretary Debbie McCormies handles billing. You’ll receive a weekly invoice (on Wednesdays) with a breakdown listing the estimates we wrote and the time it took to do each. We will not send you an invoice for every estimate separately, as we would end up having to send hundreds of invoices a month.

After you receive your first invoice, call Debbie at the number included on the first invoice’s email to put a credit card on file. This is the only form of payment we will accept anymore, as too many people took too long to pay us in the past. We are not contingency based.

Who do I send the carrier's estimate and my scope notes to?

To Adam first, he will check to make sure you are sending good information. If you do not, you will get a reply or a phone call to go over what we need again. The clock on the estimate’s turnaround time does not start until we have the information needed.

After the first estimate, you can send directly to the writer assigned to your company. They will introduce themselves via phone or email once an estimate is assigned to them by Adam.

What won't you do?

We do not talk with insurance companies for you. We are not a “supplement” company, as some call themselves. We are an estimating firm. We will only talk to you, who we are writing an estimate for. We will not talk with your homeowner. In fact, we won’t write estimates for the general public – only for construction companies, public adjusters, appraisers, and on rare occasions, attorneys. We have found anyone outside of those industries does not understand estimating, which leads to too many unclear expectations. Same goes for contractors that are complete beginners that just started a company. Typically they believe there is a “silver bullet” estimate out there. There is no silver bullet, ;there is no one-size-fits-all argument or set of arguments that will win all the time. Anyone says otherwise, they don’t know what they’re doing.

Can you give me some examples of your coaching?

What is the strongest strategy for winning an argument with an insurance company?

  • Depends on the point of contention.
  • Depends on the individual delivering the argument.

In debate there are different strategies, some are more aggressive, whereas some of more reserved. Either kind of person can be very successful. I advise my clients on this matter case by case.

 

A couple of bottom line principles: Never enter a debate without facts and evidence to back up your position, and always play to your strengths. If you’re a contractor, be the expert on construction in the room. Do not argue coverage issues. First, it’s illegal to argue coverage unless you’re licensed to do so. And second, it’s not your area of expertise.

Are changes to estimate free?

No.
If we make an error the time to fix the error is free. The time to make a revision along with fixing a typo is not free. For example: We accidentally type 1 instead of a 10 in a quantity field. The time to reprint the amended estimate is free. But if you also add to the scope of the estimate (for example, add the roofing of a detached garage we knew nothing about because it wasn’t included in the initial set of information given to us) the portion of time for adding that will not be free. Thorough information from the beginning will help prevent the need for changes. But revisions are sometimes necessary.

Do you do onsite scoping?

No. Except for large loss commercial in the DFW area.

How do I best utilize your estimate?

Read it thoroughly and call Adam Wiese with questions.

Read Chapter 5 of the book Level the Playing Field by Steve Patrick. This breaks down the process better than anything out there. We highly recommend every customer read that chapter and consider carefully how best to strategize your company’s process in utilizing the estimates that we write for you.

Are you a supplementing company?

A supplement estimate is an estimate that has something added to it. That’s all that means. A supplement request is asking the insurance company to add something to their estimate. EME will never talk with the insurance company. We write Xactimate estimates for contractors. Our names never go on them.

So if “Supplementing Company” means talking with the insurance company on your behalf then, no, we are not a supplementing company. We are an estimating firm.

Will you let me know a basic idea on cost per estimate before doing it?

After reviewing the information supplied, if your estimate looks like it’s going to take three hours or more, yes, we will contact you and let you know.

Do you handle Appraisals?

No. We do not handle appraisals, but LP Loss Consulting does.

Will you add additional things to the estimate beyond what I ask for?

Yes.
Examples: O&P, Pricing update per current month, Labor for re-inspection, staging material, removal of felt, and many other legitimately owed line items that carriers typically do not include are included standard. These items are customized per each client’s specifications.

Why choose our Estimate

Our estimates are designed to shoot for the stars to be able to settle for the moon. “The moon” is what you actually need to make to be able to grow and be successful. Xactimate is not an accounting analysis of your company’s pricing structure. We use Xactimate to help you communicate with the carriers more effectively, to be able to compare apples to apples. There is no magic in Xactimate; it’s simply a list of tasks that will be performed – the A-Z of the job. If anything we write for you isn’t exactly what you need, let us know, and we will make changes.

You will receive 3 PDF’s and an Xactimate ESX file from us for all estimates.

9

The full estimate just as you see from the adjusters named DRAFT ESTIMATE.

9

The Scope Report. This includes everything except money. This is particularly useful when you just want to discuss the scope of work to prevent someone from simply bottom-lining you by going straight to the end of the estimate, without considering the actual scope of work being captured.

9

A Totals Sheet. Quick one page bottom line totals for your reference.

9

ESX file. This can be opened by you if you have Xactimate. Even if you never use it, it's still good to have attached to an email for redundant archiving.

-Adam Wiese, President