The role of an estimator. In the water damage restoration industry an estimator is the individual who helps you estimate the costs of damage to your home or business. They need to have a complete knowledge of residential and commercial construction, the effects of water damage and whether something can be restored or if it needs replaced.
Once a complete scope or evaluation is complete then they need to have idea on costs of labor, materials and any unforeseen items that may come up. This will help with the communication and coordination of completing your project. Everyone has heard of escalating costs on a project that was unexpected that created a burden upon the person responsible. If the insurance company is paying for the damage and it’s a covered claim then your estimator plays a major role in making sure that your costs are being covered by the insurance company and not you.
The insurance adjuster’s role is to interpret the loss according to your insurance policy and adjust the cost of the claim. It is crucial that the estimator have the ability to estimate the costs for the project and make sure the insurance company will pay the associated costs and not let the homeowner or building owner with additional costs. The importance of a competent estimator is crucial to the success of your project being finished timely and on budget.
What qualities make a good estimator? The qualities you should look for in a good estimator:
- Integrity – Do they seem trustworthy? Do they provide you with documentation of what was agreed upon?
- Communication – Do they help you to understand what your job entails and what to expect? Do they take time to listen and answer your questions?
- Value – Do they ensure the work will be of quality for the price you are paying?
- Accountability – You will have to hold them accountable for not doing the things that you told them to do.
- Customer Service – Are they friendly? Do they follow up with you throughout the project?
- Knowledge – They need to have a solid background in construction. This seems simple but it is very important for them to have that knowledge in order to build a good estimate.
- Experience– The individual must have experience, training and longevity in the line of work you are hiring them for. The last thing you want is a green horn in charge of your project to build their resume upon your life interruption with this disaster.
- Likable– You must like them in order to trust them, if you don’t like them regardless of their reputation you won’t have a great experience.
When an estimator comes to your home or business the first thing they need to do is write a scope of the job. What does this mean? A scope is a written description of what damages have occurred and the necessary work to restore the home to pre-loss condition. The estimator will evaluate the loss, take measurements, and sketch the project. The estimator will then take that information and use a software program to create a estimate for the insurance company.
Once you have an agreement for the contractor to do the work. The first thing you should expect is to sign a contract. The next step is the estimator will provide you with a schedule of work and keep you informed of progress. This process can take a while depending on the size of the project and it can be frustrating at times. The estimator should make you feel important and that your project is a priority to them. The third step is for the estimator is to live up to the expectations that he/she set and hold them accountable.
A great estimator will make your project run smooth and according to budget. When hiring a company, take these tips into your decision process and you will have a great experience from the disaster forced upon you.