Excerpt from the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2010

Given the current economic climate, many appraisers are searching for new assignments and clients. If our practices are going to grow and thrive we need to continually be on the look out of new opportunities. Logan Adams wrote an article for the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies on building relationships and business with the moving industry. The work may not be a glamorous or exciting as some other high profile work, but it can also be a mainstay of an appraisal practice.

Next weeks excerpt is from Jerry Sampson, ASA on Establishing the Appraisers Library.   Click HERE to order your copy of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies and for more information on this exciting project.

Logan Adams writes

It is most important to know who is your client – who are you work-
ing for, who is paying your bill? Is it a big national mover or a local company representing a national company? A local company can be out of your immediate area. If you have not worked for a local mover that is giving you an assignment, you might want to ask for upfront payment.
There are three categories of clients that may be sources of damage
claims work.
1. A national carrier.
2. A local carrier.
3. A shipper. You can work for the shipper, making the same detailed
on-site examination of damages. However, you would not ask for
the inventory packing list in this case. You will develop a report in
this instance based on what you see and what the shipper is telling
your. They are paying you to assess the damages, not to review their
paperwork. You are telling them the cost of making them whole. A
shipper may also be a source of work for providing a pre-move in
Building Bigger & Better Business with the Moving Industry 207
section. This is especially true if the shipper has antiques and collectibles.

You will want to develop a network of associates to provide you
with information helpful in completing your claims report. Develop a
network of third party shops and experts both in and out of your area.
These can include local furniture upholsterers, repair technicians and
refinishers, steam cleaning companies as well as suppliers of glass, marble, etc. Recommend third party services, if necessary, with estimates of their charges. You may add a charge for your services to the third party estimate if you want to broker the repairs.

Colleagues in your professional societies are good sources for third
party associates.

After you have done your on-site inspection and developed your report, there are other issues that you should reflect on such as billing and collection.
1. Develop a sliding scale for billing based on the number of items inspected and the number of locations you visited.
2. Develop a fee structure for travel considering mileage and driver time and photos.
3. If you have military bases in your service area, you may be asked to
inspect moving damages for a shipper moving in from out of the United States. Be sure your bills for these carriers are requested in US dollars.
4. Be prepared to offer appraisal services. Items may appear on claims that you recognize as needing more examination than a cursory inspection or there may be a very high dollar item on the claim. Contact your adjuster and ask to send in a copy of your résumé showing your qualifications to handle this step up assignment. Carriers may have an appraiser on retainer but it does not hurt to offer these ser-
5. Don’t overlook the possibility of becoming a broker for repair services. You will already have your third parties lined up and can oversee the repairs and settlement of the claim. If you broker repairs, be sure to note the authorization level. A repair assignment
may give a “not to exceed authorization amount.” This can be negotiated if repairs become more involved than anticipated.
6. Whether doing an inspection or a repair assignment, get a signoff from the shipper that the inspection has been done or that the repairs are completed. These signoffs may be required and they will speed up the payment process.
7. Follow up making sure that your bill has been received. Often FAXs or emails are misplaced or never received even though confirmations have been received. It never hurts to make sure the adjuster has your bill.
8. If you are activated by the carrier, never share your report or bill with the shipper or their representative without authorization from the carrier. You are working for the carrier, not the shipper.
9. Occasionally, you will receive assignments from both the carrier and the shipper. Typically, you will have received the assignment from the carrier first and will decline working for the shipper.
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