Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to get more attention with your Facebook posts

I came across this article, while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook. It has some great information on how to market using Facebook. Here is a portion of the article:

Small businesses that use Facebook to get the word out and promote their companies should check out a new report from Buddy Media, a social ad-management software provider. The report is drawn from the company’s analysis of 200 clients’ Facebook posts over a two-week period, in addition to the comments and “likes” spurred by those posts.

The report contains a number of good takeaways, including its findings on post length. It found that Facebook posts containing 80 or fewer characters had 27 percent higher engagement rates than longer posts. (You’re not the only one who struggles to be brief: Just 19 percent of all posts analyzed were that short.)

Here are some other lessons and advice gleaned from the report.

Use brand-specific URL shorteners. URL shorteners may provide an easy way to keep your post length down, but you may sacrifice effectiveness. Engagement rates are three times higher for posts that use a full-length URL, the report found. Why? Shortened URLs, such as “tinyurl.com/yhlw3c6” or “ow.ly/yhlwc3c6” don’t tell a user where he or she is headed after the click. If you do need to shorten, use a brand-specific one. The report’s example, of course, is “bddy.me/1f8M.”

Post after hours. Brands that posted (or scheduled posts) outside of business hours had 20 percent higher engagement than those that posted only during office hours. (About 60 percent of the posts the report analyzed went live between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST.) Posting outside business hours, said the report, “reflects the importance of having a Post appear at the top of fans’ News Feeds during the times of day they are most likely checking their Facebook pages. By posting within business hours, brands miss the critical opportunity to get the visibility they need for maximum engagement.”

Try Thursday and Friday. Across all industries, engagement rates were 18 percent higher on Thursdays and Fridays compared with other days of the week. Engagement rates were 3.5 percent below average for posts published Monday to Wednesday, and Saturday was worst of all: 18 percent below average.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

 

**In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

 

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Please don’t be the cheapest bid!

For years, people have been trained like Pavlov’s dog to get three estimates for home improvement work. As soon as the canvasser rings the doorbell, our ears perk up, and we bark to the salesman, “I need three estimates!!!” Speaking of dogs, this post is about the restoration of “Roofs” (I apologize for the pun. It’s the Friday afternoon right before Memorial Day Weekend…) So why do homeowners get told by insurance companies to get three bids?

Is it because they want to automatically want to put the cheapest roof on your house, with the worst quality materials, so they can increase their bottom line? Or do they go straight for paying the highest bidder? LMAO! Just kidding! Again, it’s right before my 3 day weekend.) The truth is, homeowners are not required to get three bids, because the insurance company is going to pay what they are going to pay. So how does this affect the homeowner? Is there a different way to sell to them? Of course!

When a homeowner files a claim, they are pretty much handed the keys to get the roof they want. They have a choice. Get the cheapest job, with an inferior product, or get the best quality roof they can, for the money allotted to them? So how do you get them to decide on the best quality roof? Well, this is where you step away from being an order taker, and put on your big boy salesman’s pants!

What I have found best, especially since it is insurance fraud to pay the deductible, is to offer upgrades in lieu of offering to pay it for them. It needs to be explained to the homeowner that any contractor that offers to pay their deductible is breaking the law. However, it is not against the law to give upgrades, like installing a lifetime warranty impact resistant shingle. It might cost you an extra 400. But you are getting the homeowner to pay their 1000 deductible, so you net 600. The good news for the homeowner is that they get a break on their insurance, because they have an “Impact Resistant” roof. So it ends up paying off for both you and the homeowner.

The bottom line is the homeowner should not want the lowest bid. It isn’t their money to begin with, so why do they care? They need to understand this. They should want to get the best roof that they possibly can. When they go with the cheapest bid, that’s what they end up with: A cheap job.

Some homeowners have the misconception that if they go with the cheapest bidder, they can pocket the extra money. That is not true at all! The contactor will turn in the bill, and the homeowner will receive the final check, based upon what the bid was. So they just cheapened their own roof, trying to make a few bucks, and committing insurance fraud along the way. I always told my clients, “Look, I like you. I really do. But I’m not planning on sharing a jail cell with you!”

In my opinion, (and that’s all it is, an opinion) is that when insurance companies say to get 3 bids, they are committing “insurance fraud”. They already have set prices for what they are willing to pay. So why do they need estimates? That’s why I started using contingency agreements. You can read more about contingency agreements here. It allowed me to ask the insurance company for things that they might have missed or couldn’t be seen by the adjuster. It let me do the job for the greatest amount possible. Because I had the money to do the job right, I could offer more to the homeowner, which made them happier, and got me more referrals.

**In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. There are no start up fees. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

Restoration Contractors: How to make more money from what you already do!

There are so many different ways to do your billing for doing insurance work. When I was a general contractor, I always did the scope of the work for what the insurance company initially estimated. It is what they offered, so that is what I thought was the max they would pay. Boy was I wrong! I didn’t know that just because the insurance company sent out an adjuster, that there could be anything missing. I believed that the adjuster was all knowing, and the big bad insurance companies were all powerful, so I never tried. I just didn’t know any better. You don’t know what you don’t know, you know? The biggest problem with not doing supplements is that the insurance companies are notorious for paying as little as possible for the job. I have a friend of mine that works for a large insurance company. She told me that when she went through the training for her company, they specifically told her that their adjusters are to pay as few claims as possible. As this video shows, insurance adjusters are willing to do whatever they can to pay as little as possible. So who ends up having to lose out on money? The small businesses that do the work.

So how do you handle a situation where there is additional work that comes up as the job gets started, or if there way something that was accidentally missed, or if there are code upgrades? There are a few different ways to go about this. As a restoration contractor, one way to do your billing is to hire a public adjuster. They will fight to get you more money than what is offered by the insurance company. Here is a great video that shows what they do. It is a huge benefit to have someone that knows what they are looking for on every job. They have been to school, and have a ton of experience dealing with restoration repairs. As the lady from the insurance company states, be forewarned, because their cost will come out of the claim. Now that I have a lot more experience in the industry, I know that on average the adjuster makes about 10% of the total claim. That, to me, seems like quite a bit. Yes, they make you more money, but when you have to pay them, the salesperson, the canvasser, the laborer, the materials, the overhead, your office staff… what is left for you?

There are a few companies that handle billing and supplements for a flat fee. A fee for the billing, and a fee for the supplements. Here is the problem with that: If they don’t make you money on the supplements,  you still have to pay for the service. You are putting out money that they haven’t earned. Doesn’t sound like a good Return On Investment to me!

So, what is the best solution?

In House Adjuster Staffing has adjusters, ex-insurance agents, and general contractors on staff that go over each job, line by line, to make sure that you get every penny you deserve. And lets talk about Return On Investment. We don’t make a dime until we make you more money. So there’s no risk! If we don’t make you money on your supplements, we do the billing for free!

Besides the fact that we make you more money, we also free your time up to do what you do best, sales and marketing! Let me give you an example. One of the insurance companies called us back today and said “We’re going to go ahead and send out the check you asked for because you’ve left several messages, and I’m tired of listening to your voice mails!” We have people in our office that their only job is to hound the insurance companies. Imagine never having to speak with an insurance company, wait on hold, or guess when a check will be sent or how much it will be for!

**In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

Leads! Leads! Leads!

I kind of just fell into home improvements. It was back in ’97, and I was fresh out of the U.S. Navy. My brother was living in Akron, Ohio, and had been doing home improvement sales for a few years. He told me after I got discharged that he had a job lined out for me. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be a door to door canvasser. Even though it was not the most glamorous job in the world, I sure am glad I received that experience. Home improvements sales have helped me feed my family for over 16 years now.

Door knocking does require you to have a thick skin. You have to be able to handle rejection, because you are being told “No” a hundred times a day. I know, because that’s what I heard for 3 years straight. That’s right, when I got in the home improvement industry, all I did for my first 3 years was go into neighborhoods, interrupt peoples’ lives, and set up appointments for the salesmen. That’s A LOT of rejection. I think it has scarred me for life. But I will tell you this, I am a competitor, and I was the best I possible could be. When I came to work, I came to work. As a canvasser at 22 years of age, I was making almost 60k a year. Not too shabby in my view!

Canvassing has always been one of the cheapest forms of advertising.  To me, it was also the easiest. When my company was doing installs, I always did the 5-5-10 rule. 5 houses to the left, 5 to the right, and 10 across the street. They were easy sales, because there was a built in trust because were already doing work for their neighbors. Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses. There are many tips and tricks to canvassing. Don’t ring the door bell, always knock. (Friends knock, strangers ring the door. Also, you don’t want to wake a sleeping baby.) Stand a few feet away from the door, so you don’t intimidate the person answering the door. Don’t have your hands behind your back, because it might make someone think you have a machete behind your back. These are even before you get someone to answer the door! But I think the biggest thing to keep in mind, is to have fun! I always taught that the best way to canvass was in  pairs. When you have one person out alone, they just get down with all of the rejection. It’s a lot to deal with when you have several people saying “No” to you over and over again. But when you have two people, working across the street from each other, they can help each other out. After having a mean old lady tell me to leave her house, I would go joke with my partner about her. Or I could cheer up the person I’m working with afer they got yelled at. Sometimes. to break the monotony, we would hit the houses together, just to have some conversations going on.

Another very effective tactic is to have the salespeople waiting down the street for the appointments. We used to always meet up in the morning, and when the canvassers would hit the street, the salespeople would sit in their cars reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. Once we got an appointment, the salesperson would be right there. It really cut down on the ‘No Shows!’ By the time the salesmen were done with their appointment, we would already have another set up for them.

Here is a link to a video of one of my favorite canvassing trainers I have ever met.

In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at http://www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

Wanna know a secret?

I’ve been in home improvement sales for 16 years. One thing that always eluded me was getting residual income. I would have repeat business, but only once or twice with the same customer. I was good at getting referrals, but I couldn’t figure out how to get repeat business, over a long period of time, from the same person. I envied insurance sales people because once they got a client, they would get a portion of their payment for as long as they were a client. But how boring would insurance sales be? I never wanted to find out!

My current boss told me the secret to getting repeat business in the home restoration industry. Before I get to that, I want to tell you a story.

My boss Corey was a general contractor for many, many years. He had been trying to get the business of a large property management company for a long time. He had been making calls and keeping in touch with them, but they already had a contractor they used, and they were happy with them. Corey knew this would be a huge account if he could ever land them.

After almost 5 years, that contractor that had their business slipped up. Because of Corey’s persistence, they decided to give his company a try. Corey’s crew did a great job, so the management company decided to keep him as their contractor of choice. This netted Corey about half of a million dollars worth of business a year, from one client!

I tell this story, not to get you to go to property management companies, but just to let you know an example of residual income. So, what is the secret of residual income in home restorations you ask? It’s much easier than constantly contacting property managers. The secret is…. (Wait for it…..) The local insurance agent!  Okay, for those of you that already speak to the homeowner’s local agent, I’m sorry that you might think this is elementary. But for those that aren’t using them, this info is HUGE! Let me explain...

When you sell a roof job, all you have to do is get the local agent’s contact information. Here is an Insurance Agent Form to send them. There are several ways to get a hold of them. You could send the letter through the Post Office, or you can save the 44 cents and email it. Either way, after you send it, either follow up by calling, or even better, going to their office to make the face to face contact. Once you get in their good graces, you’re golden. When there’s a hail storm, and the homeowner calls in, they can give a referral. So when several people call in with a claim, that is several potential clients that you have a chance to earn their business. How much did that cost you? At the most, 44 cents for a stamp. Or maybe if you’re lucky, taking them to lunch. But now you have a client for life.

I know that this seems pretty basic, and it is… But when you have someone advertising for you, at no cost, and this someone is an insurance agent, who is recommending you to do the insurance work… You stop selling and become an order taker!

In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at http://www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

Stop giving bids! You’re losing money!

Doing insurance restoration work is a different beast.

When I owned my contracting company, I started out selling windows, siding, and doors. Realizing that there was a lot more to sell while I was in the home, I decided to sell  roofs and sunrooms. Just like I did when figuring out how much I needed to sell windows for, I had to price labor and materials for roofs. And it worked for me every once in awhile. But I was not selling strictly roof only jobs, I was usually selling a roof as an add on to a siding job, as an upsell. However, when the economy did what it did back in ’08, I realized that the only people paying for home improvements were insurance companies. I understood that I needed to get into the restoration industry. So I did  the same thing I did with windows… I gave an exact price on how much the job was to be sold for.

First, I didn’t get as many sales as I could have. I was trying to sell quality and price to someone that was not the decision maker (The homeowner). Don’t misunderstand, the homeowner does make the decision on which contractor they choose. However, I was trying to sell them on price, which is ultimately determined by the insurance company. So if I gave a low bid, that’s what they paid. If I gave a high price, the insurance company didn’t want to pay it. Which brings me to my next point.

Second, I was losing a lot of money on the front and back-end by giving a set price. If the insurance company has a higher price on their Xactimate than what I was bidding, they of course were going to pay the lower amount. But even more importantly,  I was stuck with the price that I gave! What I mean by that is when things came up that I couldn’t account for, like code upgrades,  it was much harder to speak with and try and negotiate to get what I deserved. There was literally tens of thousands of dollars that I left on the table, only because I just didn’t know better.

So, what is the solution? It’s very simple. It’s what is called a contingency agreement. I am attaching a generic copy to this blog. What it states is that the contractor agrees to do the work for what the insurance company pays. There’s nothing that the homeowner needs to worry about, as far as if the insurance company will cover the cost of the job or not. So there is a much higher ratio for a one call close. I wasn’t having to give a price, let the homeowner go to the insurance company and tell them what the bid was, get back to me and tell me what is being offered, etc., and I didn’t have to keep going back to get the order. It was all done during the first visit, with no high pressure sales tactics. Also, with the contingency agreement, the 72 hours Right to Cancel is covered. By the time the adjuster evaluates the house, it is usually past that window. So when the adjuster approves the claim, I already had a contract. On the agreement, it states that if the insurance company doesn’t pay for the claim, the agreement is terminated.  So that relieved a lot of fear on the homeowner’s part.

I think the biggest thing that I would like for you to get from this, is you have to stop thinking of the old days, when people used to get 3 estimates for say, a sunroom. With insurance jobs, the homeowner is looking for a good contractor to do it right, with good materials. They aren’t worried about the price, as the insurance is going to take care of it. So what I used to say is “I am going to the job for what the insurance company pays. I will get what I deserve, not a penny more, not a penny less.” People understand that.

What this also does, very importantly, is leaves it open for the discussion of getting more money (Supplements) from the insurance company after the job is completed. We will discuss how to do that in another post. But if you read my previous blog about Code Upgrades, you’ll see reasons for getting more money after the job. If there’s things that can’t be seen while looking at the scope of the job, but are found during the install, you’ll have a lot more chance of being paid for it if you have a contingency agreement, compared to if you gave an actual cost.

 

Here is a copy of the Contingency_Agreement.

In House Adjuster Staffing offers a lot of training to contractors, to make sure they are making the most of their time and getting paid everything they deserve. It is a free feature that we offer to our clients. What our main focus is to do the supplements, negotiations, and billing for our clients, so they don’t have to. We only get paid when we make you more money. If there is nothing paid by the insurance company above and beyond their original estimate, you pay us nothing. Please call 800.775.8667, or visit our website at http://www.IHASLLC.com, to find out more.

Hail Storm Update: Georgia, North and South Carolina

There was a storm that occurred on May 15th, 2012, that hit Georgia, North and South Carolina. There was between 1″ and 1.75″ hail. We have free hail swaths of those areas. If you are a contractor, you know how important it is for you to get to those specific neighborhoods and be the first one on the roof. You don’t want to wait, or you get to a door with 15 door hangers on it. If you are looking for a free hail swath of the affected areas, give us a call at 1.800.775.8667. Check the video below, and visit our website at http://www.ihasllc.com. The most important part is get on the roof before the other guys do!!!

 

FREE HAIL SWATHS!!!!

In House Adjuster Staffing, IHASLLC.com, is offering free hail swaths. In House Adjuster Staffing handles billing and supplements for contractors that do repair work after hail and wind storms. There are no set up fees, and we only get paid when we make you more money on the supplements. If we don’t make you more money, we do your paperwork for free. Sign up to have IHASLLC.com do your next 5 jobs, and we’ll purchase a hail swath for whichever date you tell us to, and we will provide it to you at no cost. Call us at 1.800.775.8667 or visit our website at IHASLLC.com. http://www.ihasllc.com

Denver Area Roofers: Get a free hail swath of the recent storm!

In House Adjuster Staffing, IHASLLC.com, is offering free hail swaths of the hail storm that occurred in the Denver, Colorado area on May 5th, 2012. In House Adjuster Staffing handles billing and supplements for contractors that do repair work after hail and wind storms. There are no set up fees, and we only get paid when we make you more money on the supplements. If we don’t make you more money, we do your paperwork for free. Sign up to have IHASLLC.com to do your next 5 jobs, and we’ll purchase a hail swath for you and provide it to you at no cost. Call us at 1.800.775.8667 or visit our website at IHASLLC.com.

Free Hail Swaths of Hail Storm in Denver on 5-5-12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg9eeNBH_s4&feature=youtu.be

Roofing Contractors: Important Code Upgrade Information

If you haven’t run across this problem yet, there’s a good chance that you will at some time in the future. You tear off a roof that has been damaged by hail or wind, and when you replace the roof, you install the job to code, i.e.  installing dripedge, sheathing, vents, etc. These were not items listed on the original estimate, but you assume that the insurance company will pay for them on the supplement. As the football announcer Lee Corso says: Not so fast my friend!

Some insurance providers don’t offer Code Upgrades. It is just a way for them to sell their products for cheaper. Most homeowners don’t know what Code Upgrades are, let alone if their policy covers them. So what we recommend is having a discussion with your clients about how it is to be paid. If the insurance doesn’t cover the costs, who will pay for it, you or the homeowner? We have paperwork that we offer to our clients to help them make sure they are covered. It is just one of the many services offered by our company, to make sure you, the contractor, get paid every dime that is owed to you.

When it’s minor repairs, really, it’s no big deal. What we are worried about are those big jobs, where it’s something you didn’t know or expect. When you tear off a wood shake roof, you expect to have to re-sheath the deck. But when you take off an asphalt shingled roof, and discover there is a solid one by, with  more than a quarter inch gap, do you make the minor repairs to bring it to code, or do you re-sheath the entire deck? It all depends on the homeowner’s policy. If they have Code Upgrades included in their policy, then it’s a no-brainer, you re-sheath the entire deck. Don’t ever assume that they have Code Upgrades! If they don’t have Code Upgrade available, then you have to have the conversation with your homeowner. Do they want it done the right way, and pay the money to have it re-sheathed, or just do the minimum needed to bring it to code?

As soon as you realize that there is going to have to be a decision made about the sheathing, contact In House Adjuster Staffing, so we can find out from the insurance company if they offer Code Upgrades or not. And if you are not a client of In House Adjuster Staffing, please give us a call and let us tell you more about what we offer our clients! 1.800.775.8667 or IHASLLC.com.

 

http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2009/12/articles/insurance/understanding-code-upgrade-coverage-under-coverage-a-florida-valuation-issues-part-7/

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