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From our office to our on-site inspections, the software we use for estimating, job tracking, invoicing and communicating our findings with our respective clients continues to grow and evolve into a more streamlined system for services rendered. Today we’d like to go into a little more depth and detail about this software, how it works, why we use it, and why it’s in your best interest as a property owner and/or policyholder to choose a professional restoration contractor who uses the same systems to ensure that your job is done right from start to finish. 

For you as a potential client, our estimating software helps to ensure that our prices are fair and within the limitations of your policy. For us as your potential contractor, it ensures that we can always apply the most current market rates for each component of the job, with the most up to date market factors for labor and materials already factored in through a comprehensive and fluid price list for every zip code we service. From labor to building materials, debris removal and disposal, even down to the individual pricing for each piece of specialized equipment we use to bring buildings back to a pre-loss condition, there’s a pre-approved price for literally everything your project entails, and that fact alone goes a very long way in getting your home or business back to normal as quickly and as smoothly as possible.  

Xactimate is a highly advanced piece of software with multiple components and features that make the daunting task of residential and commercial restoration possible on a daily basis. This software and the formatting and pricing it uses for estimating is pre-approved and in most cases required by almost every single major insurance provider in the nation, and any contractor who boasts a reputation of working with insurance companies had better have this program somewhere on their smartphone, tablet or desktop if they want to stay in business in today’s fast-paced world of emails, digital uploads and over-the-phone approvals. 

Xactimate was created as a way to streamline and equalize the restoration playing field, and to simplify the often challenging process of connecting contractors with insurers in a timely and effective manner throughout each phase of a project. The software has a built-in sketch feature that allows contractors to produce a professional, precise layout of the home and its affected rooms with measurements down to the inch. Once the sketch is created and properly labeled, the cost for each line item involving demolition, replacement, cleaning, etc. in each room is automatically calculated based on the dimensions determined by the contractor for each job. The software includes a massive itemized price list for just about everything in the construction and restoration industry, which is split up into regions and updated every month to ensure that the most current and fair pricing is applied to each item in the estimate. The software also allows for instant uploads of pictures or notes to be attached to each line item for extra clarification, whether to show the condition of flooring, contents, or any number of structural situations, without the adjuster simply having to take our word for it. The take-away here is that in most cases, any three estimates you obtain for the restoration of your building as paid for by your insurance company should be relatively close to the same amount if they were done properly, since the basic pricing structure is pre-determined and pre-approved by the insurance company using the same software. 

Other features of Xactimate include an Opening Statement section where the contractor can explain in their own words the entire scope of each project, and standardized formatting for the final draft of each estimate, which means that adjusters are theoretically exposed to the same basic layout for multiple estimates on a daily basis, thus speeding up the approval process by getting rid of all the guesswork and time spent interpreting different formats. Once the estimate is completed, the pricing is broken down into line items per room and lists the totals and divisions of labor costs down to percentages and exact amounts. This way your adjuster will always know what they’re paying for before the job begins, eliminating all surprises and allowing for any confusion or disagreement on pricing to be resolved before the work begins. Any necessary changes or corrections can then be made by the click of a button. Our turn-around time for making corrections and multiple proposals has been tremendously reduced by the use of this software in conjunction with our many insurance partners, since we all know we’re using the same strategy to approach each and every project. So the next time you’re looking for estimates on insurance work, be sure to ask, “Do you use Xactimate?”

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