The Need for All Inclusive Technology

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The days of pen and paper are all but obsolete in the restoration industry. The good old days are coming to an end and the evolution of technology is in full force. The days of an adjuster and contractor meeting onsite walking a property, doing a handwritten sketch, walking the property, agreeing upon the scope of work and boom, you were good to go! If you were really lucky the adjuster would ask you to write the estimate, send a copy and he would put his stamp of approval on it, and everybody was happy…including the homeowner!

In a world filled with technology and the harsh demands that insurance carriers keep putting on contractors it’s making it harder and harder to actually do what we all signed up for…work! In the good old days, the mitigation crew would show up to a job, get a work authorization signed, take a few photos (and when I say a few photos I really mean a few) and off to work went the mitigation crew.

It wasn’t all that long ago when a restoration company could show up to a job and within 5-10 minutes of assessing the damages, they could start the job…yes I know that is hard to believe.  Nowadays, you send your high priced $20-$30-hour technicians out to a job, they show up and for the first hour their job title goes from mitigation tech to data input analyst. The poor homeowner is freaking out as the technician takes what seems like an eternity doing data input. 

Whether it be the fact you have to take anywhere from 50-200 photos of the damages, walking around with a special camera having to take special 3D photos, or the tedious task of trying to figure out how to create a special moisture map sketch on your 6-inch mobile screen. All of it unfortunately comes at a cost to the contractor. I’m sure anybody who owns a restoration company can agree with the fact that the amount of pressure insurance carriers have put on the contractor has more than 10X’ed over the past 5-10 years. It almost feels like insurance companies want to see how far they can push before restoration companies break and can’t handle it anymore. 

When a mitigation company shows up to a job and must use 3-4 apps on every job in order to fulfill the demands put on them from the carrier, we all know it has gone too far. Many of the old dogs are throwing in the towel saying, “I quit!”

Let’s think about this for a moment…how many techs like doing paperwork? I would dare say that at one point and time in your business you probably had a bonus structure that would reward your techs for doing a job they are already paid to do. Sounds a bit ludicrous right? Don’t laugh, you have all done it before. Now I want you to think about your techs that must use 3-4 different apps for each job. Same problem as paperwork, right? They either won’t do it, hate doing it, or complain that it takes way too long. If they don’t like doing paperwork, what makes you think they will spend 30-40 minutes extra on every job updating the CRM, taking photos for a Docusketch, Matterport etc, entering moisture points with Mica, Encircle, Clean Claims etc.

Don’t get me wrong, the technology that is coming out is amazing. We know there have been tremendous benefits that have come from it. The fact that people can write estimates without ever having to visit a job sight is pretty remarkable. The idea that a homeowner could look at a moisture map created from software and be able to understand 90% of it without any formal training is pretty awesome. 

Let’s not forget the fact that as software gets better it keeps everybody more honest and makes it harder for the carrier or contractor to pull a quick one. These are all amazing benefits but at what cost? The industry is severely lacking cohesiveness. Is it possible to bring all these technologies under one roof? 

Today, everybody thinks they can make a better sketching tool, moisture mapping software, CRM etc. The plain and simple fact is the technology is already really good.  Can we please stop the invention of another software tool that already exists with ten different competitors? What if you had a CRM i.e.: Dash, PSA, or Restoration Manager that had all of the capabilities of an Encircle, Matterport, Docusketch, Mica, Moisture Mapper, or XM8 that was 100% built into the CRM? How much easier would it make the lives of your production team if they only had to use one app for everything? We know many of these companies will tell you their software is compatible with all of these technologies but what we really want and need in the industry is something that is totally seamless. When you open your CRM, the techs, project managers, admin, etc should be able to do everything from one platform. The amount of duplication that exists in this industry is unbelievable. Nobody wants to use 3-4 different software platforms for one job. 

Oh and by the way, having 3-4 different software platforms is really expensive! On average most of these technology companies are charging anywhere from $200-$800 a month. If you are using three different systems, you are spending thousands per month. 10-15 years ago, those costs didn’t exist. How does a business owner recoup those costs? It definitely isn’t through billing the insurance company; they don’t allow it. As a matter of fact, most insurance carriers are the ones requiring the technology to be used!

Our plea to all those super smart technologies in the restoration industry is to please set aside your software ego’s and try to bring everything under one roof.  Whoever can make this happen first is going to get a ton of business and a lot of happy restoration owners.

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Nathan Cisney

Nathan Cisney is nearing two decades of experience in the restoration industry. During his tenure, he’s helped build and scale multi-million restoration companies, and has been actively involved in training and educating contractors through media and supplier organizations. In addition to holding IICRC certifications, Nathan is a State Certified Instructor for the Division of Insurance, and has led or taught CE courses to more than 1,000 insurance agents. In his free time, Nathan is an avid cyclist!

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