In this industry, knowledge is power and conversely, power is knowledge. The old saying that you have to have experience to get a job certainly holds true in the world of adjusting. With that said, any supervisor will tell you, it is easier to train a new adjuster on the methods of construction than it is to teach them to operate the software, like Xactimate.
Although trends in construction change, the fundamental basics remain the same. The terms, materials and techniques have remained static since the beginning of time while improvements and additions to each area of technology have advanced. The basic principal you must understand is that all types of construction begins with the preparation for the foundation. Much like your career, there are certain steps you must take to make sure the foundation upon which you build, has been well thought out. Once the foundation supporting the structure has been established, only then, can the building begin.
Looking for construction knowledge? Here’s our recommendations:
Take a Residential or Commercial Property Course.
Many adjusting firms offer courses of this nature and they are a good source to actually learn how terminology applies to the estimating software. They are typically offered in either an on-site location or can be found in an “online” course. Learn more about the online version to see if works for you by clicking here.
New home building sites are a very good method to view the daily hands on construction techniques. You are able to see the whens and whys of homebuilding. I used to go to sub divisions after hours and do walk trough’s to gather photographs for my courses. Drive through neighborhoods and just look.
Home Improvement Stores
Walk the isles, ask questions, attend the “How To” or “DIY” seminars offered. You will be amazed what you can learn from these seminars and will probably save yourself some money on some home repairs.
Use the Internet
There are millions of photos of every possible construction technique you can imagine available on the internet. Google Images and YouTube never fail in this department. Use them!
Mentor with a Seasoned Adjuster
There is nothing better than actual, hands-on field experience. You may be charged a fee to do this and in some cases, you may get paid to help while learning.
Use Xactimate and search by category. Photos, with full descriptions, are a valuable feature of this estimating software program.
Adjuster Blogs and Social Media
Many times adjusters will post pictures of their daily encounters. Some are generalized photos while others are obsolete, rare materials or techniques. Follow industry blogs or news feeds that provides helpful information. You don’t have to go crazy, but follow at least one or two. Like this one!
Break Out the Tools and Build
Finally, go build a small storage building, include a foundation and electric. This is an excellent, hands-on opportunity to learn how to put it all together. There is something to be said for the adjuster that can actually build what they scope.
As you can see there are multiple ways to gain the knowledge, and one method may work better than others. Choose whatever works best for you. Be a sponge. Absorb all you can from all of these sources. Whether you are a new adjuster or a seasoned veteran, if you are having difficulty with material identification or a construction technique, always ask your supervisor. The myth that the adjuster who asks questions is looked down upon, is just that..a myth. Getting it right the first time, regardless of who came up with the solution, makes your supervisor look good. We can’t help you if we don’t know there is a problem. Ask!
Authored by Randy Allgood – Lead Instructor at American Adjuster Academy