Last post, I talked about the correct amount of justification. Along that train of thought, let’s talk about using macros. In short, a macro is provides Xactimate users an efficient way to replicate repetitive tasks. As such, while estimating mitigation claims using macros is a given. If you aren’t utilizing this tool, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
How can macros in Xactimate improve efficiency? Here are a couple ways:
You can create a macro in Xactimate that is a single line item with a note attached. Then each time you apply the macro in a room, it will automatically have your F9 note attached. If you are quoting the s500, the s520, or even OSHA standards to justify line items, these notes can be extensive. So having them included as a macro will help speed up inputting these line items. You can also create an entire room as a macro.
You can create a Cat 1 room with 4 fans, Cat 1 with 5 fans, etc for each category. This macro will include everything your company standard includes for that room. Then you just delete what wasn’t done or adjust the quantities to fit the job actually performed. You can even create macros that separate demo and equipment. That way there will be less adjusting of the macros. These are great tools…. When used correctly.
But there are some issues when simplifying the procedure to just using macros. Have you ever started driving to work and next thing you know you were in the parking lot and had no idea how you got there? Your brain went into autopilot mode. Well as you do estimate after estimate during the course of a day, if you don’t stay engaged, your brain will go into autopilot mode. Then mistakes will be made. This especially happens when using full room macros. Make sure you go back and review every line item to see they were changed. Otherwise, once it goes to an adjuster, expect a call.
Using macros exclusively also tends to stiffen an estimator’s line item growth. They will tend to use the same line items over and over instead of diligently looking for new line items or line items that may more accurately describe your scope of work. Small additional items that were performed but aren’t a part of the company standard or the macro tend to be missed.
So how can you resolve this? As an estimator, take time to search the most commonly used Xact categories. Look for new line items, line items that you want to research more, line items that you don’t commonly use. Get familiar not just with your macros but the Xact categories as a whole. To help some of the inaccuracies that are inherent to estimating, have a review process in place. Having another estimator, project manager or mitigation manager review your finished estimates will halt this. Found money goes straight to the bottom line pretty much. Otherwise, it would just be lost all together. It will rarely happen that an adjuster will see something you didn’t charge for and tell you to add it. So have someone familiar with estimating look over the job for errors. Also, be balanced when using your macros. Don’t become over reliant on them.
To learn more, take a look at our Reets TV: Estimating Pro Series. We detail how to properly create and use macros to be more efficient.