2013 is here. Are you prepared for OSHA? IHAS can help you get your safety documents in order.

One of our contractors recently had a surprise visit from OSHA. Unfortunately, they were not prepared and had to deal with the repercussions. We helped them get all of their books, safety manuals and checklists compiled for the next time OSHA showed up.

Are you ready? Do you have the required paperwork in each of your roofers trucks in case of an on the job accident? Do you have forms filled out from your employees that say they have read and understand what the proper safety precautions are?

This is not only important because of OSHA regulation, but also to keep your crews safe and aware of the obvious dangers that come along with roofing.

Do you need help? Contact us. We provide many services to our clients when they sign up with us to do supplements and billing. You’d be surprised at the plethora of additional tools we can provide for you. Give us a call today at 800-775-8667 or shoot us an email and we’d be happy to go over what our company does with you.

IHASLLC@live.com 

Do it while it’s slow. Everyone knows when spring or summer hits, you’re not going to have the time to get your safety measures in order, let alone handle your insurance billing and supplements.

Let us help. We’re awesome at what we do.

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A Year-End Checkup to Keep Your Small Business Healthy

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-27/a-year-end-check-up-to-keep-your-small-business-healthy#r=rss

 

Where does your business stand now? Where do you want it to go? And how will you achieve that success? A new calendar year is a good opportunity for small business owners to examine these questions. Taking time in the next few days or weeks to audit your business informally is a good way to get the information you need to plan for 2013.

Here are four areas to tackle:

Financials: Run a broad-based diagnostic test on your business that includes an informal valuation, financial projections for 2013, and a forecast for your industry as a whole. Companies go through life cycles: Is your business in growth, maintenance, or mature mode? “A younger, growing company needs the people, systems, and marketing in place to bring in additional revenue. In maintenance mode, you want to reduce expenses and maximize profits,” says Roger Murphy, chief executive of business brokerage Murphy Business & Financial Corp. in Clearwater, Fla.

For mature companies, having your financials in order will make it easier to sell your business when you are ready. “I’ve worked with the owner of a medical device company for years, and we had him compliant with [generally accepted accounting principles],” says Gregg Landers, managing director of the CBIZ MHM accounting and tax advisory office in San Diego. “When it came time to sell to a large international company, they had a historical record of his accounting, and the transaction went through fabulously, without all the expense of cleaning up the books.”

Risks: “This year has been the first year that companies started to take a breath following the recession. Our clients had cut to the bone in 2010 and 2011, so now one person is doing the job of three or four. Controls that were put in place went by the wayside,” Landers says. Have an outside expert, such as your accountant, assess your internal controls and identify weak spots where fraud or errors may occur.

Pay particular attention to your tax payments and human resource policies for areas of trouble, especially with new rules going into effect Jan. 1 and governments at all levels looking for revenue. “States are broke, and they’re getting aggressive,” Landers says “Small businesses that may have been under the radar in the past no longer are.” Likewise, if you use independent contractors, make sure they are properly classified as such under IRS rules so you don’t get caught paying hefty fines for workers who should be classified as employees.

Inventory and Operations: Look through each of your business processes from beginning to end to find ways to streamline and cut expenses. You can outsource an inventory count or close your company for a day or two and have your employees do it, says Scott Gillanders, chief credit officer at 44 Business Capital, a Blue Bell (Pa.) lender that specializes in Small Business Administration loans. “If you do it yourselves, mix things up so the office manager counts widgets in the warehouse and the warehouse manager counts office supplies. That reduces the potential for fraud,” he says.

This is an area where technology can help. Several companies sell barcode systems that automate inventory tracking. Brian Sutter, marketing director at Wasp Barcode Technologies in Plano, Texas, says small businesses write off an average of $20,000 in lost inventory each year. “Carrying old, obsolete, or misplaced inventory on your books is a huge cost for small businesses,” he says. Make sure that any technology you employ meshes with your in-house system and isn’t too complicated or costly. “A small business owner doesn’t need to have a Jaguar,” Gillanders says. “A Ford will get him from A to B just as easily.”

Strategy: Too many small businesses depend on their owners to make sales and run the show. If your company revolves around you, it won’t be valuable to a buyer when you want to move on or retire. “Take yourself out of the process of being involved in all the critical decisions day to day and start to work on your business growth, your long-term strategy, and things like finding cost savings,” Murphy says.

While you have a breather over the holidays, think about the bigger picture of your business. What does it do best? How can you do it better? How do you differentiate your company from its competitors? Jim Sharvin, a CPA at McDowell, Dillon & Hunter in Torrance, Calif., advises his small business clients to ask their customers, friends, and neighbors for their opinions. “A lot of people may have ideas about your business, but they don’t speak up unless you ask them,” he says. “Insights from your inner circle can be valuable if you can listen to critiques without getting defensive.”

Don’t Forget!! IHAS is here for you when you’re busy & when you’re slow!

IHAS represents roofing contractors with insurance negotiations while drastically increasing the contractor’s profit margins.

If you are looking for bigger profits during your slow months or someone to take care of all the insurance paperwork and negotiating during catastrophe season we are the solution for you.

Are you overwhelmed during the hail or wind storm reconstruction rush? We handle all the insurance company correspondance. We take it off your plate so you can focus on your customers!

Our IHAS team members are seasoned professionals with years of experience in insurance restoration, insurance adjusting, exterior re-construction, and general contracting. We are very passionate about the services we offer and work hard to get you more money on each and every job. Our goal is to teach you along the way so that you can start negotiating on your own, utilizing the tips and tricks we’ve taught and taking advantage of the easy to use software we provide to you.

And… You don’t pay us unless we make you MORE money!!

Not only do we provide insurance billing supplements we will also assist you with the following:

 Contingency Agreements
 Direction to Pay
 Insured’s Authorization Forms
 Sales Representative Agreements
 Letters of Explanation (including; roofing in winter months, code upgrade explained, re-roofing overview, and insurance claims 101.)
 Estimating Sheets, Roof Certification and Inspection Reports
 Software: (including job folder checklists, material calculator, labor calculator, order forms, invoices, lien releases, job completion forms, job cost commission calculator, crew request for pay and lien release, warranty, and warranty transfer)
 Contract Review: Ensuring critical components are included

We specialize in coaching and assisting contractors whom are new to insurance restoration contracting.

The IHAS, LLC team is made up of people that want to help you take your company to the next level and stop the insurance companies from taking advantage of smaller local contractors.

Get Paid MORE — Get Paid FASTER– Get back to SELLING.

In House Adjuster Staffing
National Claims Services
719.559-3027 Direct
888.570.6723 Fax
IHASLLC@LIVE.COM

Protect Your Business!

Don’t Get Sued: 5 Tips To Protect Your Small Business

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to do everything within your means to limit risk and to keep the business running smoothly. But how does one go about limiting the possibility of a lawsuit to ensure business continuity? In this article, we’ll take a look at five actions you can take today to protect your company for tomorrow. (For background reading, see It’s Raining Lawsuits: Do You Need An Umbrella Policy?)

Tutorial:
 Starting A Small Business

1. Watch What You Say and Do
First of all, when it comes to your business image, owners and their employees should avoid making any public announcements or conducting any business that might be considered questionable. This means avoiding things like libelous or potentially slanderous statements, but it also means not doing business with unscrupulous individuals. You may not think it’s a problem working for a group of individuals who are known for shoddy business practices – because you know your company’s ethics are above reproach – but if they take a hit, your company’s name may be linked to them in the fallout.

 
This point also includes limiting any possible conflicts of interestBusiness owners and their employees must avoid situations where a conflict of interest may present itself. Situations such as these can damage your integrity as a business owner and could land you in legal hot water. For example, sitting on the town council and helping pass an ordinance that benefits your business would be a conflict of interest, even if you didn’t make a decision with any benefit for your company. 

2. Hire a Competent Attorney
Business owners should interview attorneys when they first start up, in order to have a ready legal contact. You may need this person to advise you before you act or on how to react when you’ve been sued. 

Owners should also attempt to secure an attorney that is familiar with local laws and customs in the area in which the business operates. Care should also be taken to retain an attorney with expertise in a particular field if necessary. If your company is anticipating legal challenges from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or taxation state department it makes sense to hire a tax attorney. 

There are several potential resources to help you find a good attorney. These include cold calling and interviewing from the phone book, professional references from other business owners, or through the professional organizations to which the company belongs (like the local chamber of commerce or any sector association). (To learn more about business legal issues, read Protect Your Company From Employee Lawsuits.)

3. Separate Yourself From Your Business
Many business owners own and operate their businesses as sole proprietorships. The only problem with this is that in the event the company is sued, the owner’s individual assets (such as their cars or home) are fairly easy to attack or attach in a court of law.

The solution to this, or at least a way to limit the possibility that the owner’s personal assets might be the target of a suit, is to have a trust own the business. A trust is a legal entity that, in most cases, files its own tax return and can own property, businesses, cash, securities and a host of other assets. If a business is owned by a properly established trust, and it is sued, in most cases the only assets that can be attacked or attached in a court of law are those that are in the trust itself.

 
Incorporating separates your company’s finances from your own. This makes your house and personal wealth safe from attack even in the event you lose your business in a judgment. The downside to incorporating can come from understanding and keeping up with the additional laws, reports and taxes that the government requires for a corporation.

4. Insure Yourself 
All businesses should obtain liability insurance in case (for example), a customer was to slip and fall in your place of business. Certain professionals, such as insurance agents and/or consultants, should also consider obtaining errors and omissions coverage to ensure the business should a customer or client accuses the owner of making some sort of error, or not living up to a contract. (To read more about this area of insurance, see Filling The Gaps In General Liability Insurance and Cover Your Company With Liability Insurance.)

If the business is large and has a formal board of directors, it may also make sense to secure directors and officers liability (D&O) insurance. Once purchased, this insurance protects the directors’ personal assets in a larger suit against the company.

In addition to purchasing insurance, another way to insure yourself against liability is to build protection into your contracts. If an act of nature, a specific supplier or some other uncontrollable act can make it impossible for you to fulfill a contract (and thus open yourself up to legal action) then you should be putting to ink that you are not liable for incomplete work due to these factors. Discussing the possible clauses and legal phrases needed in your work contracts is one of the best ways to employ your lawyer’s time and it will reduce your need for a lawyer later on in your business venture.

5. Protect Your Files 
As most businesses these days work quite intensively on computers, it makes sense to emphasize the safety requirements for your computer system. Businesses should have updated antivirus and other types of security software loaded and activated on their systems. If a computer system were to go down because of a virus, the business may be at risk of not being able to perform certain contracted work. In addition, key files could be lost or stolen, which could then lead to legal action from clients and/or suppliers.

 
Employ Backups
In the event of a massive technological breakdown, you should have a set of backed up files to refer to. This could mean performing daily, weekly or even monthly backups, and making your clients aware of which you employ. Keeping these backup files offsite will also help to ensure your company’s continued safety. If you keep these files at your place of business, it is necessary to purchase a fireproof safe in which to store your files. Should the very worst happen to the rest of your materials and supplies, your backups would be protected.

Additional Safeties
In the event of a disaster such as a hurricane or fire, will your business be able to function? Failure to operate could lead to the company’s inability to live up to certain contractual obligations or to satisfy other legal or financial agreements.

Consider securing alternative work sites, portable generators, call trees and/or ways to have employees work remotely to make it a little easier for your company to perform its work when the the forces of nature throw you a curve-ball. 

Bottom Line
Business owners have the responsibility to protect their companies and their personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. With these five actions under your belt, your business should be well on its way to a legal- and hassle-free future.

 

Taken From : http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/08/company-lawsuits.asp#axzz2EgL5NLq8

To Our East Coast Friends

Our thoughts go out to anyone affected by the recent catastrophe.

Stay positive, friends. There is always sunshine after the rain.

Image

Obviously it’s a little late for our East Coast friends to prepare for the storm…

But here is a great resource for next time.

http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard

A nice little read from RoofingContractor.com

http://www.roofingcontractor.com/blogs/16-roofing-contractor-blog/post/89112-quote-worthy 

One of my clients I’ve worked with for many years, Jim Criniti, recently surprised me and the person I often co-consult with Ellen Rohr, the financial guru, by sending us the following e-mail.

Before you read on, there are many quotes that either Ellen or I have created to help simplify a business concept. Some of it has been gathered from the good business wisdom that’s out there in the world through applied study.

But, I do want to make it clear that I don’t claim authorship to all of them by any means.

The key thing is these quotes [and many more not here] have worked for this client and many other clients I’ve worked with over the years. That’s because these people took it from a quote on a page and made it part of the culture at their company.

Jim has graciously allowed me to share his e-mail with you:

“Al, I came across this list that I put together. It’s based on my notes from the various meetings we had with you and Ellen. These are my Cliffs Notes of our time together. If you don’t already have these in one place then here you go:

Be, Do, Have… Be that person. Do what that person does. Have what that person has.

Goals must be written… If it’s not written it’s not real.

Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.

Remember that your employees vote with their feet… be happy they came to work.

Remember the “WIFM”. What’s in it for me!

Owner’s two jobs are to inspire and lead.

People resist change for fear of failure. Need to make it safe for them and ensure their success.

A willing person will sing. Singing in the interview process is a good sign of willingness.

Give your people a great game to play or they will find their own and you won’t like it.

Praise in Public. Reprimand in private

If you don’t have the time to do it right now (correct way), then when are you going to find the time to do it right later (fix the mistakes).

Don’t let the 5 percent bad customers ruin the experience of the 95 percent of good customers.

Don’t feel pressured to answer every question your staff asks immediately when asked. Instead answer, “That’s a good question, it deserves a good answer. I’ll get back to you.” When you have thought it over what you do owe them is “Yes,” “Yes but not now and here’s why,” or “No and here’s why”.

Start with the end in mind.

Look for the exits… Look for the way out of a business relationship before you look for the way in. 

Never stop Recruiting, Hiring & Training because people get sick, they quit, they retire, they get promoted, they get fired and they die.

Jim Criniti

General Manager and President
Zoom Drain & Sewer Service”

Be careful of ACV only policies

Recently, one of our contractors learned a very expensive lesson. They primarily do restoration work from hail and wind damage. They had just gotten done completing work on 3 separate properties, with one owner. It was covered under the same claim, which happened to be an Actual Cash Value only policy. Nowhere on the paperwork did it state that it was an ACV only policy. This ended up costing the contractor over $6,500.00 out of their own pocket because of what is called non-recoverable depreciation. That is where the policy only pays the homeowner the ACV, and the depreciation is kept by the insurance company.  

Most homeowners don’t know anything about this when they purchase their policy. Again, nowhere in the scope of the claim did it say anything about ACV only.  This isn’t to say that they will usually be forthcoming about this but not always, BUYER BEWARE. 

Our contractor asked us what he could have done different, and what to do in the future so it doesn’t happen again. It’s actually pretty simple, and it can all be taken care of when your sales people are in the home. They should sit with the homeowner when they make the call to the insurance company to file the claim, and put the phone on speaker. There should be a checklist that the homeowner asks the insurance agent. Here are some of the questions that should be asked: 

1.       Does my policy cover the entire cost to repair my property?

2.       Does my policy cover code upgrades?

3.       How much is my deductible?

4.       Is the depreciation recoverable or non-recoverable?

5.       Do I have a time limit to make my repairs? 

If you have any other questions that you currently have the homeowner ask the insurance company or that you think would be helpful, please let us know. We would like to pass them along to our network of contractors.

Tagged

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.

 

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.

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