Common Mistake: The Perfect Estimator


Are you an estimator that knows it all? Seems that should be a good thing. Nope!


Not many people know it all! I know I don’t…… from what I’m told. There is always more to learn! And in mitigation the stakes are very high. Just making minor changes in your scope of work have huge implications for the profitability of your company. 


Dice says think small/big


How can a small line item like that make any impact on a company?


Think of a little, simple line item like block and pad (WTRBLK). In the Atlanta price list, at the time this blog was written, this line item can range anywhere from $37 to almost $90 if it’s a large room done after hours. On an average job, how many rooms of contents would you move? Let’s just say the number is 4 rooms. If you block each room (put the blue tabs under the legs of the furniture), that will be $148 per job. Doesn’t seem like much. But over the course of 100 jobs that’s $14,800. 200 jobs? That is almost $30,000. How many jobs are you doing each year? How many times did you miss this line item? And this line item is in addition to the actual moving of contents.

What about your category 3 process? What line items are you using for the cleaning process? Are there line items you could be using that you may be missing? Just 1 line item makes a huge difference! Imagine finding several line items were actually performed in the field, but not accounted for in the estimate. Finding a source where you can discuss line items is important. When looking for an Xactimate training class, many choose to learn the program only. That is ok. 


Learning How to Estimate and Learning How to Xactimate are 2 Different Things


So many of us are self-trained. Which is also fine. So many of us also think we are doing a great job and don’t need any help. That may not be correct. How do you know? Who are you comparing yourself to? You may be great! Or you may be hurting your company without even knowing it. Taking a class where you even learn 1 or 2 line items you may not have been using will make you hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. You only learn it once, but you use it for many years. Imagine how much you may be losing by not knowing the what line items you could be using.


Learn what you don’t know you don’t know in Xactimate


This knowledge extends to knowing the drying process as well. An estimator should be able to explain and justify anything going on an estimate. They should know what and why we are drying. They also should be able to fully explain what is included in any line item they are putting on an estimate. Yes, estimators, don’t ever, ever, stop learning! Never settle and think you know everything! Keep challenging yourself.

How can you challenge yourself? There are multiple ways. Challenge yourself to learn the line items and the codes. Challenge yourself to learn new line items when they come out. Challenge yourself to learn what each line item includes and when you have justification to use it. Challenge yourself to know not only the description, but the equipment being used and the time being allocated to each line item to make sure it is sufficient. Challenge yourself by learning how to use new technology that will streamline processes like Xactimate Mobile, Docusketch and Matterport, CompanyCam, etc.). Challenge yourself to learn about Xactimate pricing and how you can affect it by creating your own price lists, negotiating your price lists and doing pricing feedback.


Where can you get this info?


Reets Drying Academy offers Xactimate training that goes past learning the program. Both with the Estimating Pro Series Online and the Estimating and Negotiating Combo course, feature mitigation estimating that affects your bottom line, including how to use Xactimate Mobile to save time and money. Ben Justesen has a course on pricing and budgeting for reconstruction contractors. Actionable Insights has classes for some of newer technology and how to leverage digital assets. Keep your education going whether its online or in a class. If you are an owner or a manager, don’t stop the training with just your techs. Make sure your estimators continue their education as well.

nick sharp xactimate course

Written By: Nick Sharp

Nick Sharp has worked with Jeremy Reets for over a decade now. He started in carpet cleaning and mitigation before moving to the construction side as a project manager. He then was the senior estimator for Champion Construction for over 8 years. Since its inception in 2015, Nick has been an instructor of our Restoration Estimating & Negotiating course. His most recent venture is as a restoration estimate consultant. Nick is an Xactware Certified Trainer and is also has his Level 3 Certifications in Xact 28 and X1. He’s a bad boy on that sketch but better at finding lost money!


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