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Last Post 08/17/2007 12:26 PM by  Doug
Something to think about for you want-to-be-independents
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Bobabooey
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07/31/2007 4:49 PM

    I was sitting here going over my finances and added up what I have made so far this year.  So far this year, I have made 24k (this could change anytime depending on the weather)

    Then I started adding up my expenses, (I paid 7k for a car (that is right 7000 bucks) after mine dropped dead at 210k miles) i have paid $2100 in computer programs, $4550 in health insurance (which covers nothing) , $1300 on a new computer, roughly $2,000 in gas, $1500 in hotel expenses, $210 in oil changes, $200 on a new ladder, $2000 to government for quarterly taxes, $200 for supplies,  and I am sure a few thousand more in misc expenses.

     

    I figure I am on pace to make about $3500 this year after expenses.  (I will get to write business expenses off but I have to pay 1,000 bucks to do my Incorporated Business taxes.

     

    JUST THINK, YOU CAN BECOME AN INDEPENDENT ADJUSTER, GETTING COMPLAINTS WEEKLY FROM YOUR COMPANY, THE INSURED'S, AND THE CARRIER AND MAKE $3500 BUCKS A YEAR.  And as an added bonus, you are in a high risk group of getting sued.

    Tags: Getting Started
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    okclarryd
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    08/01/2007 7:02 PM
    I understand completely. A couple of years back, there essentially were no storms all summer.

    I dusted off my wrenches, made a couple of calls, and within 2 days had more work that I could stand. (Did I mention that I am a ASE Certified Master Auto Technician?)

    My point is that if one is going to be an independent adjuster, he or she better have a trade to fall back on when times are lean. Besides, I treat mechanicing as if it were a passion, not a fill in job.

    If you're a good adjuster and have good relations with one or more vendors, you'll be busy when most aren't.

    In the mean time, if your street rod or other vehicle needs some personal attention, gimme a call

    Larry D Hardin
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    marcinko
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    08/02/2007 4:28 PM

    it a thankless job      some Company's worse than others       an insured played the race card yesterday called the Company

    and I was removed from their approved list     "just let it go" they said    no back up whatsoever

    adjuster trainees and wannabes should pay a 30 or 40% pimp fee       but we all wish we had not so graciously paid our pimp fees now 2 yrs after Katrina                            experienced adjusters must resist the pimps

    what do we get for that 30 or 40% besides the assignment??  not even a damned paperclip

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    MDC
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    08/12/2007 11:05 PM

    I can agree with Larry Hardin's post.

    I have been an independent since 1993 and have had some good years and some not so good . I made a decision in 2003 to focus my business plan on doing more catastrophe adjusting. It has worked out, however the last year and a half has been slow for cat work so due to my relationships with local carriers, I continue to do daily claims until the huricane season hopefully starts back up.

    If you are new to the business, you want to start thinking about plan "B", because the weather is not predictible. If is was, we would not be looking at these posts, we would be working cat losses.

     

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    Tim_Johnson
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    08/13/2007 11:29 AM
    True story.

    While working Katrina in late 2005 I needed to talk to an "adjuster" that had inspected the home prior. He was back home in Arkansas. He told me prior to Katrina he was delivering medical supplies. He went to a 3 day seminar and was handed a stack of files. He went onto say he borrowed $10,000.00 from his dad to go to the storm. In the first 30 days he "inspected" 40 losses, spent his $10,000, had been paid $000.00 (zero) and had enough money to get home on. He said he knew he would eventually be paid on his files but he could not afford to stay and work. (From what I saw he was not going to be paid on all of his files). He was fortunate enough to get his old job back delivering medical supplies.
    Tim Johnson
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    Brennan
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    08/13/2007 7:59 PM

    You guys can tell the best stories.  I promise you bud that there are many more stories that would be deemed more tragic than the one you posted.  This can be a tough business, and it definitely is not for everyone.  There are some success stories that can be told also.  I know that there are many many more horror stories compared to the successful ones.  We all had to get started somewhere.  I guess I sometimes get tired of seeing all of the bashing and mean spirited items that are spewed on this site. 

    (I do love to read the positive and informative items!)

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    stephie76
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    08/14/2007 12:32 AM

    I agree with Michael Brennan. It does get old reading all the "old adjusters" give these horror stores telling everyone to run the other way. If it were that bad they wouldn't be in it. If it really is that bad to them, they should run the other way instead.

    I know this isn't going to be an easy job. There are good and bad things about every job. Not every job is for everyone.

    I'm sure there will be a learning curve. I'm sure I will make mistakes. I enjoy reading the advice and stores of others who have experience. Just get tired of listening to all the doom and gloom carp.

     

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    swink_d
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    08/14/2007 1:19 AM
    Posted By stephanie wells on 08/14/2007 12:32 AM

    I agree with Michael Brennan. It does get old reading all the "old adjusters" give these horror stores telling everyone to run the other way. If it were that bad they wouldn't be in it. If it really is that bad to them, they should run the other way instead.

    I know this isn't going to be an easy job. There are good and bad things about every job. Not every job is for everyone.

    I'm sure there will be a learning curve. I'm sure I will make mistakes. I enjoy reading the advice and stores of others who have experience. Just get tired of listening to all the doom and gloom carp.



    Stephanie and Michael

    I don't think these guys are trying to discourage you. I think they just want everyone to have realistic expectations.  Sure, if you go through the history of Cat adjusting  you can find 1000's of story's of successful and many time lucky adjusters or adjusters that  have just gotten by, but you don't hear the 1000's of story's from people that had unreal expectations, made the wrong choices  and either failed to make a living, was removed from an assignment because they couldn't do it, or lost a family because of the committments it  takes.

    The very 1st poster is spot on about what your outlay can/ will be on an assignment. So while adjusting can be rewarding, It is also a "Profession/Lifestyle" that many highly skilled highly motivated people just can't do.

    So my advice would be read everything you can, good and bad. I personally enjoyed hearing all the horror stories the old guys beat me up on, as It enabled me to make better decisions to avoid what they went through.

    Honestly those can be the outlays on your first assignment on a CAT,  even if you make 24K in 2 months ( which is 100 claims with your share being *240.00  each) , all he is asking is " Are you prepared to outlay that kind of money , for that type of return?"

    *I am using 240.00 as that is 60% of a 400.00 fee bill, and new adjusters just do not get assigned claims at ground zero. .

     

     

     

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    nccatadjuster
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    08/14/2007 10:20 AM
    I've been a lurker for about two years but I'll respond with something good. I also was an ASE Master Tech and was tired of working on cars so I had a friend doing CAT work. He kept telling me how good '04 and '05 was, so he got me on for Wilma. I was just thrown in working for SF and did not have a clue what I was doing. I started getting the hang of it pretty quick. I ended up finishing first of the 12 people in my group with the most claims closed. I made the clean up team and only worked one week before they let me go beacause they said they did not have enough reopens.

    I made a little over 50K and had expenses of 7,500 and this includes everything from the time I left home till I got back (except health insurance). Even though SF did supply a computer, printer, and all supplies; I bought my own items because I did know at first if I was working for SF or Citizens.

    Since Wilma I have been doing daily claims and like everyone else waiting on another hurricane. I have not done any other CAT work since Wilma because I was so new in the business at that time and did not make any good contacts because I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I have learned alot in the year and a half since Wilma and will be alot more prepared this year if it happens.

    All I can say is watch your expenses and make sure you enough reserve money to hold you till you start getting paid( I can't emphisise this enough)and be thoughtful of the insureds, because not matter how bad you got it they are in a worse situation.

    Rob Hill
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    malvi
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    08/14/2007 10:56 AM
    Stephanie and Michael

    I am the last person to discourage anyone from trying out a business venture. After all it would be hypocritical for me to do so because in 2005 I quit a very good paying job as a company adjuster and became an independent. Overall I do not regret my decision. I am happier today than I ever was in over 20+ years as an adjuster. Having said that I can also tell you that I have never stressed over money more than I have in the past two years. What keeps me sane is that during the periods when we have made money my "saver bee" hubby, (I am the “spender bee”) makes sure we put money away for the slow times. Today, our checking account has a $65.00 balance (thank God for the savings). I share this not because I want to cry poverty; but because I want to encourage you to read (and think about) every posting you come across that talks openly about the hardships which are very much a part of this profession. If you talk with the people who have been successful over the long haul (10,20,30 years plus) I believe they all have three things in common (in addition to expertise, a sound work ethic, and a commitment to continuing education) which is successful IA’s are planners (have a plan B), successful IA’s are savers (don’t spend all the money you make in the good times), and successful IA’s are realist (know and accept that slow times happen, cash flow crisis are frequent, company adjusters can and will drop you if you sneeze wrong, and some vendors won’t pay you).

    HAve a HAppy Tuesday
    Malvi
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    Brennan
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    08/14/2007 12:29 PM

    First of all I am not new at this game.  I was not trying to encourage or discourage anybody new to this business.  What I was trying to point out is the fact that every storm that has required new adjusters is lined with ugly stories and success stories.  Again, this business is not the wonderful cash cow that some people try to paint.  It is tough work, long hours........ (This has been beat to death don't ya think!)  I am just kind of tired of all of the brow beating and negativity from some of the posts.  Why can't we as a group/community be a little more positive.  That is all I am saying.  I love this work!!!  I want us all to succeed.

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    swink_d
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    08/14/2007 1:08 PM

    I apologize for thinking you were new
    I must have looked up a different Michael Brennan from Ga on Georgia, Tx and Floridas DOI sites before I posted
    That guy was licensed last summer in all three states
    Please continue and again accept my apology

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    LG
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    08/14/2007 2:34 PM

    Want-to-be, Wanna be....

    "Wanna be" is a term most used to describe someone trying to be something they cant be. With that said, I understand how, immediately, someone could feel they were being discouraged.

    There are some really great people on this site including the man who started it.

    Everyone here had to start somewhere. As long as you have a passion to do this, then continue forward. Like anything else, this field is only worth it if you are passionate about it. That passion will drive you to learn more, make more contacts, practice more, and  take attitudes you don't deserve from people. But all of this will make you the best of the best.

    I started at ground zero in New Orleans my first time out. And I worked some daily claims over the past year. I don't know it all, and because of the drastic changes in this field, no one can claim to.

    I appreciate and admire the ones here who are giving you advice that stems from their wisdom, because we need it to grow stronger in this field.

    But like them, I too AM an independent adjuster. And I'm good at it. And in 20,30 years I hope I will always remember that even those just starting out deserve to be respected, if for no other reason because of the dedication they put into a passion we all share.

    Every single person on this site wants to be an adjuster. I have never ever met a wanna be adjuster. Never. 

     

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    jsindallas
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    08/14/2007 4:47 PM
    Where's the post explaining that $299.00, 3 days, and a slip of paper does not make you an adjuster. If you are serious about being successful as a CAT adjuster start out in an office, learn what a FULL Adjustment is (not just just an appraisal of damage) Study and learn the basic policies by heart. Aquire some skills THEN and only then you're ready to drive into a disaster area, take on 100 files (handled to conclusion not just Coverage A) spend 20 hours a day SERVICING the carrier and insureds with the expertise the paid premiums should result in. The more you invest in yourself the more probable you are at being successful in this industry.

    Having said that; the industry is also to blame for improper training of adjusters before they are sent into the field to handle structural losses of the magnitude that hurricanes bring.

    As for the seasoned adjusters....if it were not for the newbies, the re-opens and re-inspections due to errors or improper scopes and coverage issues ie: no ALE, no Contents, no Extra Expense, no BI handled...we'd be back home in 3 months waiting on the next storm season.

    Stay committed, educated, and informed and this field can be most rewarding.
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    01Snake
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    08/15/2007 12:07 AM
    Posted By d swink on 08/14/2007 1:08 PM

    I apologize for thinking you were new
    I must have looked up a different Michael Brennan from Ga on Georgia, Tx and Floridas DOI sites before I posted
    That guy was licensed last summer in all three states
    Please continue and again accept my apology

     

    SCOREBOARD
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    HuskerCat
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    08/15/2007 2:26 AM

    Linda G--

    That was a good positive post, and well written/spoken.  I like to see those types of posts when it seems like the person is having a conversation with you. That will bode you well in your handling of claims..........good luck!  

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    MMELLC
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    08/15/2007 9:41 PM

    I don't understand how all these folks stay in business, they  never make any money. The first hurricane I worked was Rita in La. I worked for 3 1/2 mos., grossed 50+ thousand and had a total of  $9200 in expenses. I was perfectly satisfied with that. I do many other things when there is no day claims. Grant it, day claims don't pay that well, but it is great experience. I saw people with no claims experience do well and some not so well. If I was only making $3500/yr., I would get a job!

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    swink_d
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    08/16/2007 3:33 AM
    The first hurricane I worked was Rita in La.



    what was the 2nd?

    Just ribbing a little.

    I think its a disservice to compare a time when every experienced adjuster was working to the point that they literally were taking people of the street and when fee schedules were paying on the highest scale. and to a place that the cost of living was so low. AND Adjustment file standards had bottomed out <------ I know thats debateable.


    The message is , If your going to do this, do it for the long haul, and BE PREPARED, BE FLEXIBLE Hope for the best but prepare for the worst and you can't look at this guys example of what its like. It can be, but it will take another Katrina Rita & Wilma in 2005, Or Charlie, Francis Jeanne and Ivan in 2004

    Ask the older guys about a Hurricane Isabel in 2003 or a Dennis in 2005, or about 2006, what a cat 1 fee schedule looks like

    Ask what a motel is in Orlando, or Palm Beach. Va Beach , Chicago etc costs

    I don't think anyone anywhere wants anyone to fail. I want talented hard charging capable adjusters to come in and weed out the crackpots, but I also think its a disservice if someone has unrealistic expectations, and these old coots let them continue to believe em.

    Like it would be a disservice to not make it clear that 2004 and 2005 were just unreal years.

    and to the guy above You made 50 k in 105 days were you even trying? thats less than 500 a day

    Mods delete this if it seems confrontational

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    JimGary
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    08/16/2007 5:51 PM

     

    and to the guy above You made 50 k in 105 days were you even trying? thats less than 500 a day .....

     

     

     

    I was wondering if I was the only one that caught that..

     

     

    I know the voices aren't real, but sometimes they're right!
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    Bobabooey
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    08/16/2007 6:33 PM

    I started the post to let "want to be" cat adjusters know that you don't always make 500+ bucks a day.  It is unrealistic to think that a person with no experience can go get a job making 150k a year every year with no experience.  Thanks for responding Rondy.  It is nice to get feedback from "want to be adjusters".  Thank you.

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