Many construction companies are missing an untapped source of business—insurance restoration. Insurance restoration is when an insurance company pays for the repairs on a home or business by construction professionals in the event of a fire, natural disaster, water, or mold.
The insurance company, much like a consumer, needs a construction company to handle these issues. Many times they have their own companies they’ve built relationships with over time take care of these matters, sometimes exclusively. It will take some work but you can become one of those companies.
Insurance adjustment work is great because unlike a consumer who may only use you once, insurance companies need you all the time. This type of repeat business can be scarce in the construction industry when dealing directly with consumers. Insurance restoration relationships keep paying dividends.
Starting a Career in Insurance Restoration
“I began working in the construction industry two decades ago. Before this, I was an insurance adjuster, working in Florida to help people restore their homes after devastating hurricanes,” says Richard Lee with Lee Brothers Construction.
“When I started in the construction industry, insurance restoration was an easy step for me to take considering where I had come from. Yet, many construction companies had no idea how to tap this market. This made it easy for me as I knew what the insurance companies wanted, so getting in the door was easy. Once I was in, I did good work and that’s how it all started,” Lee adds.
Here’s how you too can be on the receiving end of that call to begin getting work in insurance restoration.
Initial Outreach and Networking with Agents
If you want to take the next step by working in the insurance restoration industry, one of the easiest ways to begin is by contacting your local insurance agent. Insurance agents are always looking for reputable general contractors to assist their clients.
The best way to approach an insurance agent is by showing your ability to go out of your way to help them. Take them out to lunch and talk about your company and what you do. Explain that you can make their job easier by meeting with their client and giving them a quick estimate for their insurance adjuster. Show them you’ll make their life easier by doing the work right the first time so everyone is happy. Let them know you’ll work with their insurance adjuster if there are any discrepancies on pricing.
You can also contact remediation companies in your area. These companies are happy to have a local contractor that will provide their clients with an estimate for their adjuster to give them more options.
Many adjusters are willing to meet with you onsite and review any inconsistencies or items they may have missed in haste. They’re easy to work with and want the same thing you do—to make the client happy and complete their job on schedule.
One thing most people forget is that now when you go networking, your pool is much wider. Where you may not have networked with insurance agents before, now they’re a gold mine. The same is true for restoration companies, of course. If you haven’t been networking in the first place, now you have a reason. Don’t be shy. Get out there!
By investing a few weeks’ worth of time contacting local agents and water remediation companies, you can begin to build mutually beneficial relationships. Remember, everything takes time to build. If you put in the time and reach out to as many agents and water remediation companies as you can, you’ll see results and your business will build quickly.
Developing the Relationship
Once you establish that relationship with your local insurance agent or agency, develop it by doing the little things: surprising them with lunch for their entire office, dropping by just to say hi, sending the office gifts during the holidays, etc. You won’t be the only person seeking to gain their trust, and heartfelt actions will go a long way towards cultivating a lasting relationship.
Also, and this is key, keep them happy. If there’s a potential snag that could cost them time or a client, obviously avoid those. Do anything you can to take things off of their plate and avoid putting more things on it.
Remember, you’re going to make a mistake on a job. You’re human. There’s no way to avoid that. But take extra precaution to avoid those mistakes. And when you do make a mistake, make it right. And don’t just even the playing field, go above and beyond. Fix the mistake for free and go right over to the office to apologize and make the relationship right. Most agents know mistakes happen. They’re not going to find the perfect contractor. Most just want to know when you do make a mistake, you’ll fix it.
Once you’re in the door with one insurance agent, don’t stop there. Ask them about other insurance agents they know that may need help and talk with them. Consider a referral fee as well.
If you’re willing to put in the hours and effort to build a network, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful business (or growing an existing one) into something that can become a blessing to all around you.
The Payoff for Construction Companies
Insurance restoration can be a vastly rewarding and profitable business. On average, insurance restoration can provide a company with 8% profit margins or more, depending on their labor costs.
Although this profit margin is on the smaller side, working in insurance restoration has its benefits. Being directly referred to the homeowner by the insurance agency allows contractors to spend much less money on marketing while still getting large volumes of work. When you establish an insurance or restoration relationship, they keep paying dividends.
Also, something that no one ever really thinks about: insurance restoration work can be an integral part of growing your career and skills. You can always learn more and the more work you do, the better you become.
Now You’re Ready To Get Started
So, get out there and start building relationships! It can be scary at first but trust me, once you talk to two or three people, the fear will dissipate and you’ll start to get the hang of it.
Trust me, it’s worth all the time and energy you’ll put into it. Good luck!
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