How many people do you know who have a college degree and are working directly in the field that they studied for? Over the years of working with and interviewing professionals, there is a much more common thread of hard working people who put their careers in motion, met adversity and found a way to keep themselves moving forward. Thankfully we are a resilient species, we can find means of inspiration in our journey and if we are fortunate, we find people who will help expedite our progress. Andrew McCabe is an entrepreneur who has found ways to improve himself, is building a brand and has joined forces with like minded professionals who are seeking to innovate in their sector of the service industry. Our thanks to Andy for taking to the time to share a bit of his story and some of the snippets of success that have helped bring him to where he is as an independent adjuster, author and founder of a restoration conference.
You don't meet many people that set out to get into the insurance industry, how did you find yourself involved with this profession?
I took a job as a marketing manager for a restoration contractor straight out of college. I have a marketing degree, so I thought it would be a good start. I soon learned that I knew very little about "real" B2B marketing. Colleges don't teach networking or relationship building. I was quickly moved into Project Management with WRT and ASD classes. The rest is history.
Currently you are engaged in several entrepreneurial ventures so let's break down a few of those components. Do I understand correctly that your main gig is as an independent adjuster?
Currently I write estimates for contractors across the country as my main gig. I only recently started working as an independent adjuster out of necessity because we had a CAT [Catastrophic Loss Event] hit Bend, Oregon and it was all hands on deck.
What was the catalyst for launching out on your own?
The catalyst for starting out of my own was out of necessity, I had been fired three years in a row from three different jobs. I decided in late 2012 that I would never be fired again so I decided to work for myself, go figure. So, I started writing Xactimate estimates for whoever would hire me and most folks thought I was crazy and that the idea would never take off. But now we're here we are almost 5 years later there are several companies across country that do exactly what I do; write Xactimate estimates for other people
I feel like the market is changing and the restoration industry which has been historically 15 years behind the time is going to be swept up in these changes. Writing estimates independently is only the beginning of what I see as a automation of the entire industry.
You have written a book and developed a program around that publication titled The 24 Hour Tech, what is the story behind developing this program and what is the elevator pitch for how it benefits the water damage service providers in our industry?
The 24 hour tech is another example of desperation and necessity being the mother of invention. I was working with a ServiceMaster franchise in Scottsdale, Arizona as the sole estimator, project manager and general manager. I was stuck with whomever the owner decided to hire in the given moment and I found myself training and retraining employees two and three times a month. I also found it difficult to find time to get to every single project that I had to estimate in any given day. The TPA [Third Party Administrator] framework made it almost impossible for me to do all the jobs that I needed to do.
I needed to find a way to have the water damage technicians do my job for me in that I could sit back at the office and do estimates while they gathered the data and took the pictures for me. I developed The 24-hour Tech System to accomplish both things. I was able to train new water damage technicians quickly and I was able to get the information that I needed as an estimator back at the office without having to visit every single job myself. The crazy thing in my mind is that the franchise did not provide a system of training or documentation that accomplished what the 24 hour tech accomplishes so elegantly and simply.
One of our taglines is "connect, collaborate and conquer", you have brought together a group of industry professionals and are putting together a conference that will meet this year, Restoration 2.0 Summit. How long has this idea been in the works and what was the catalyst for making it happen?
I had/have been receiving email after phone call from folks who all have the same problems, frustrations and desires. There are so many of "US" out there, that someone had to give it a name and a place. That is the Restoration Alliance. The Rebels are the forward face and voice. But the Alliance is deeper and wider than even I could have imagined. We decided to hold this event in December/January this year. It just felt like the right thing to do.
For those who haven't heard or may be on the fence, what is the primary benefit of attending R2.0?
The primary benefit of the Restoration 2.0 Summit is connection and inspiration. We are all in this together, even those who chose to go it alone.
We've covered three areas of your efforts, what would you say is a key piece advice either collectively or individually for restoration professionals as a collective body?
I've been writing this email for the past several days, and I could go on for pages if I had the time. For brevity's sake I will say this: we need to look for and recognize the humanity in the things we do and folks we see every day. Yes, the "system" is flawed and downright frustrating. If we pause to see the PERSON sitting across from us, and next to us, we can start to find the wins without giving up our souls.
You can find more about Andrew McCabe and his work through claimsdelegates.com, he is on LinkedIn and tweets as @claimsdelegates. The Restoration 2.0 Summit will be hosted in Bend, Oregon on September 29, 2017.
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer