Writing a professional Xactimate Estimate is an essential skill in the insurance restoration industry. Without the ability to deliver professionally written Xactimate Estimates to your clients, insurance companies, and third-party administrators, your restoration business will be at a competitive disadvantage in your local market. There are some strategies that you can use to write a better Xactimate Estimate, and we will help guide you through those. These are the top five ways to write a better Xactimate Estimate.
Make sure that your sketch is accurate. Even if it takes you a bit longer in the field to make sure you have the exact measurements, it will pay off tenfold as you work through the estimate. Take your time when you are on-site to make sure you notice and account for any details. Include ceiling heights, door and window openings, floor transitions, and any other details.
Learning The Line Items
If you are new to Xactimate, there are quite a few line items and line item descriptions that you must learn. Until you take the time to sit down and learn and study these line items, you will make costly omissions and your estimates could even get rejected. It’s essential to not only learn these line items but start to memorize them as well. Making sure that you include everything you possibly can in your Xactimate estimate is imperative to put together a complete and thorough estimate that helps you win jobs and increase your earnings. Our Xactimate scope sheets will give you an excellent start at learning the line items that you need to know.
When you take photos, you will always want to organize and label them. Organize them in a cloud based program such as Google Drive or Dropbox. When you utilize cloud storage, you will always have access to the photos and can easily share them with the necessary parties. When the photos are successfully uploaded into the cloud folder, you can upload them into your Xactimate project. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is true in the insurance restoration industry. Simply writing “kitchen” on the label is not going to cut it. You should add detailed descriptions to each and every photo. This will provide a much more complete and professional documentation of the loss, which will help justify the line items in your estimate, so you get approval faster and get paid for the job.
Of course, it is not mandatory to use the F9 notes when putting together your Xactimate Estimate, but it will certainly help. The problem with leaving the line item as the default description is that sometimes it doesn’t adequately support the work described, and therefore doesn’t make the line item specific and relevant to the job at hand. When you utilize the F9 notes to put in more detailed information, the entire estimate is going to appear more thorough and hold much more weight when it comes to winning a project and getting your estimate approved.
There is no possible way for you to take too many photos to help document your Xactimate Estimate. If you think that three pictures are enough, you’re mistaken. With modern technology and how easy it is to both add and label photos, you must capture enough photos to completely document the items in your estimate. Without the proper pictures in place, you will end up having to go back to the job and take more. Some carriers will have different requirements than others, and you must consider this. In fact, good photos can easily be the difference between getting paid for a job and going back to the loss site for re-inspections.
The ability to write a perfect Xactimate estimate is an extremely valuable skill in the insurance restoration industry. It takes time to learn what is essential. It takes time to learn the line items and the peculiarities of the carriers. Choosing a professional to take care of this process for you is a wonderful option to have. If you have any questions for us about our Xactimate Estimate procedure or Xactimate Estimating process, we are always happy to help.