December 8, 2014 | Adrian Eskew
I was talking to a friend of mine recently that happens to be an independent adjuster as well. We were swapping stories about recent claims when the conversation turned towards how business was going, knowing the inevitable winter/holiday slow-down that we were entering.
Fortunately, my friend is an established adjuster that is in fairly high demand, but even he was concerned about the slower months. This got me thinking about some of the techniques that I have used in the past to survive winter as an adjuster. So, let’s explore some tips you can use to save money, network for claims and learn your way through winter.
It seems obvious but many adjusters forget that the easiest way to save money is to stop spending it. Which means any necessary or expenses that were not budgeted should be eliminated. Spending $100 on an obscure license in December may not make the best sense financially. Hopefully, you have budgeted ahead for winter.
I try to stay in touch with other adjusters, but I admit I’m not as good as some are about it. Luckily for me, I have a good network that likes to keep up with me. Whenever claims slow down or I’m looking for that next opportunity, I always go to those I know and trust before attempting cold calls.
This industry is much smaller than what most realize. There is a good chance that someone you already know can put you in touch with a company that you haven’t worked with before, you just have to ask nicely and be thankful.
As adjusters we are supposed to know everything already, but we can always learn something. The slower months are great for catching up on CE credits or attending a conference, just make sure to remember our number one winter survival tip and not spend money that you haven’t specifically set aside for that purpose. Subscribing to IndieAdjuster.org’s email list would be one good way to learn something new!
Hopefully you worked claims this year that stretched your knowledge and experience as an adjuster. Great! But who will know about your recent achievements unless you tell them? Make sure you update your resume and get in touch with companies that you may not get much work from to share your new experiences. This can tie in with number three as well if you gain an accolade that helps you get more claims, like NFIP certification.
Claims are not the only way to make money as an adjuster or 1099 in the slow months. You might offer your services as a technical writer on a site like elance.com or sign up with a company to conduct underwriting inspections. Anything to keep you relevant in the industry and show diversified experience on your resume.
I am hesitant to even suggest this, but it may not be a bad idea to reach out to some new vendors and offer your services. It’s just been my experience that when claims are slow many adjusters are already doing this. Claims managers quickly become weary of adjuster’s sales tactics, which could hurt your ability to sign on in the future. But first, you should certainly contact your network of associates. Here is a sample of an email you could send:
Dear John Smith,
As you know, claims are generally slow in my area right now, which seems to be the case with most of the country. In order to increase my chances of getting assignments, I am contacting Company X. I know you are well connected in the industry and I was hopeful that you could refer me to someone there.
Nothing fancy, but the key points are to let them know the company or companies you are interested in working for and ask for help. I have had outstanding success with this approach.
If you are insistent on cold calling a company, make sure you get in touch with a real person and follow up often until you get an interview. This approach rarely works for me but feel free to share your tips for making it successful in the comments.
Winter is often short (at least here in the south) and under the right circumstances can be downright profitable. Just remember to be creative and think outside the box, you may have more value than you think. Many companies are looking for experienced adjusters to help produce training materials or audit courses. You might be able to leverage the right relationship into a paying gig.
It’s not often that we get to take a break from claims, and realistically you should be planning ahead for these months so that you can slow down and enjoy this season with your family and friends.
There are plenty of opportunites in the slower winter months, it all depends on your perception. As we’ve seen, you should probably stop spending money so you can stretch your dollars as far as possible (stay in budget). Definitely take the time to learn a new skill or keep in touch with your network of associates. Share your new experience with them and your clients and be sure to diversify.
If all else fails, use the winter cold to make some cold calls, just make sure you are ready to sell hard! Above all, think outside the box and be creative. What have you done to survive a slow winter as an adjuster? Share your tips in the comments.
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