My career in restoration has been an exciting one, taking me from the West Coast to the East Coast and back again. I began estimating for my own business starting back in 1989. Since then, prices for things have gone up, as you well know, as has the complexity of the estimating process. What was once a simple act has grown into a technical field all its own and this development has led to a lack of good qualified estimators in the disaster restoration industry.
The disaster restoration estimating process can be quite intimidating to project managers, thereby complicating the issue that much more. Some individuals want to become a disaster restoration estimator, but are too intimidated or have a lack of training and process knowledge.
Today’s disaster restoration estimators:
- Identify the tools and equipment used in the industry and understands how to implement them.
- Use safety programs in estimates.
- Establish the source of damage and the scope of work.
- Sketch, tick, group and use line items in estimates.
- Perform contents retrieval and contents processing.
- Prepare documentation, package and sell the estimate.
- Implement basic program guidelines and requirements for the major insurance companies.
- Market, keep and expand a customer base.
- Follow industry standards and processes for billing and collections.
- Work with sub-contractors and venders in our industry.
Equipment knowledge is essential to estimators, and learning to identify various pieces and their proper use is essential. Look to your equipment providers as a source to help keep you updated in the newest and latest equipment available in the restoration field.
One of the biggest issues that I find with restoration professionals is the lack of safety knowledge. Incorporating safety procedures into the estimate is becoming more and more important. Everyday, requirements from OSHA are becoming more and more technical. With the proper training, these rules and regulations can be followed, and the operation can still be profitable.
Using one of OSHAs’ simplest forms, the Written Hazard Assessment Form, and placing it visibly on your job site can help communicate to all who might enter the job site of possible hazards they could come across. Written Hazard Assessment Forms are required by OSHA to be completed and posted on every job site. I find that most of the job sites that I visit do not have a WHA Form posted, which is in violation of OSHA rules and regulations. This leaves the restoration employees and employers vulnerable for major fines and penalties.
In the training classes that I have taught, I always emphasis how important the Written Hazard Assessment Form is and how this and other safety procedures can affect the safety of the whole company. For example, all companies should have a safety program in place for their workers. Regular safety meetings are required by OSHA. These meetings must be documented with the month, date, time that the meeting was held, topics discussed, along with the names of the individuals and the name of the safety coordinator that is holding the meeting. These are requirements of OSHA. There are also fines and penalties for not meeting these requirements. All of your products and the names and descriptions of any hazardous chemicals must be listed in their own book, along with the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), and must be updated on a regular basis.
If you would like more information on the WHA Form and other safety rules and regulations, you can visit OSHA at www.OSHA.gov.