How to Build Your Own Supplementing Department

As a restoration contractor, have you ever wondered what it takes to successfully build your own internal supplementing department?  It can be a daunting thought. With requirements changing from carrier to carrier that always invariably involve return trips to the jobsite, building code research, and a healthy knowledge of each manufacturer’s installation guidelines. That’s barely scratching the surface, too.

While not every job is the same, these 4 components are essential to successfully supplementing your own jobs while growing fast.

→ Technology – If you are a fast growth restoration contractor then you’ll need to employ a system that can scale in order to document, track and complete these supplements. Moreover, in order to do this right you must utilize some decent technology that can power this process. (If you are reading this and you still operate on a paper job file system; It’s time to take the leap!)

We suggest you have the following technologies at minimum:

  • A powerful and proficient CRM: browser based with a phone app.
  • Something for tracking and facilitating all communication among team members and carriers.
  • The right hardware to maintain uptime.

→ People – It takes a team of people to support the flow of your deals from organizing a quality scope, to estimating, to supplementing. Each of these people should own their own part of the segmented process and be proficient with the technology you employ.

Here are some roles you should consider:

  • The administrative role will keep things organized and always moving forward.
  • The estimator(s) should be high quality, armed with accurate macros, and have a deep understanding of the region being written.
  • All estimates need someone to ensure quality control don’t you think? This will minimize errors and avoid embarrassment or even critical remarks made by the assigned adjuster when reviewing the supplement together.
  • Your strongest team member must truly understand how to work with the adjuster while keeping their cool so not to overstep legal guidelines surrounding the conversation about the supplement. At the same time they need to increase the payout and get that check cut!

→ Crafting the estimate – You cannot merely consider this an estimate but instead a strategic document that sets the stage for the conversation you’re going to have with the adjuster. With this in mind, every estimate begins with a strong scope. Short of getting lucky; the odds are that your scope of repairs and the adjusters’ are going to differ. Before creating the estimate; it is important to reference code docs, your damage assessment, Manufacturers’ install guidelines and what the repair method is going to look like.

Once you have a solid scope then you have a fair shot at crafting a decent Xactimate estimate. If you have a copy of the adjuster’s report; you might just set it aside. First, build your estimate based off the damages you get from your well-prepped damage assessment and then reference the adjuster’s estimate for additional line items. Following your initial draft hand it off to someone who can access the same scope and find any holes in your work. Better to find this out now than later!


→ Working with the carrier – At Aftermath we have two main goals: maximize the supplement payout and the turn-around time to keep cash flowing to our customers. Before we dive into some pointers on working with carriers you really should understand how your company relates to these two goals.

One, the amount of money needed to professionally and safely complete the job. Set the amount needed and drive toward that goal. Two, your production schedule is imperative so you need to consider how long you have to work with the carrier before breaking ground and finishing the work. This timeline of course greatly depends on how good you are at supplementing your own jobs but we suggest you give yourself at least 3 weeks worth of runway. Having healthy expectations set with your customer, the policyholder, and your own production team will really help while you work to get the carrier to commit to enough money that makes the juice worth the squeeze.

Now that you have these goals in place it’s important you doggedly work toward them. We use a very segmented process, thanks to the influence of Henry Ford’s assembly line, and you should too.

Here are a few important areas to focus on:

  • Get your scope from the field, organized and into the hands of your estimating team asap. Then get a quality estimate turned around.
  • Get this estimate sent to the carrier and stay on top of them as much as humanly possible in the first few days following the initial email.
  • Be very persistent in getting the adjuster to provide time for reviewing the job with you. The sooner you get this first session established the better. Don’t expect to reach your goals from this first session! Find a pace and walk it out.

During the review with the adjuster you should always request a revised estimate, or their opinions on your estimate, sent to you by email. You need to have a paper trail if you want to keep this thing moving toward your goals and not theirs! Whenever possible, try to establish a specific time for this review and also set the expectation that you want to go line by line through your estimate. This will bring serious accountability to the situation and reveal who knows what they’re doing. If you’ve done your due diligence, then it’s likely that the estimate contains information that the adjuster missed.

The four components we just reviewed should provide a healthy understanding for what is needed in order to successfully supplement your own jobs in a high growth environment. It might take awhile to work the kinks from all of this but giving it a shot might just be worth it for your company. Regardless, you should at least understand how it works. Afterall it is your main profit center and nobody should care more about your money than you!

Some contractors have chosen to outsource all of this. Knowing your options is important to successfully growing your business so consider what is best for you by answering the question, “Should I Supplement My Own Jobs or Outsource?”.

Jonah Story

My core responsibility is to positively impact the total success of our customers in every way I can.

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