Claiming your position with the adjusting firms: Adjustments in Life Podcast (E 11)

In this episode, Alan speaks of how to gain the upper hand and position yourself at the highest level with the firms when it comes to deployments. Alan reflects on what he did to prove his worth and place himself on the first call list with the many firms he works for. This is an episode for adjusters of all experience levels.  Another great podcast you don't want to miss.

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Alan: Alight well, welcome back folks. This is Adjustments in Life podcast. I’m by myself again today. Jason Dyson, my trusty cohost, is not with me in the studio today. With all the business of the claims that have been coming in around the Dallas-Fort Worth area from the storms approximately three weeks to a month ago, he is busy; I’ve been extremely busy.

So I’m sliding into the studio today to get caught up on getting some content out to you guys. Today’s content that I wanted to speak on is something that’s continually being asked me. That’s one of the things I wanna do with this podcast. I want to be able to give you guys the information that you want.

It’s not just about my opinion on everything, but I want to know what you guys wanna hear. I want to know the content that you’re looking for. So I try to gather the information of questions I get when I’m teaching schools with The Adjuster Guy and out in the field with everybody in and hearing what what people are struggling with. 

That’s the true meaning of what we’re here to do. So one of the things that I constantly get asked and not just coming from brand new adjusters, it comes from adjusters who have been out in the field for several years and maybe still struggling. a

How do you claim your spot or how do you make yourself available and known? How do you claim your spot amongst the field? 

Before we get too far I want to answer a question that’s probably coming up in your mind right now. Yes, I sound different than I normally do; and that’s because I am hoarse right now—between the long days, lots of dealing with claims, lots of weather changes, possibly maybe a touch of a cold mix. I’ve got a little bit of chest congestion going on, and it’s making my voice pretty hoarse.

Yes, I do sound a lot different today probably than what you’re used to hearing me sound like; but it’s just something I’m dealing with and again this will revert back to the conversation that we’re gonna have here in a minute. 

I one of them guys that it takes a lot to get me down. I made a commitment to be here for you guys, to continue to produce content, get the information out to the field that you guys wanna hear. So I’m not gonna let up a little bit of a chest cold get me down. 

I want to continue to be here for you, regardless of the situation. Hopefully, you can bear with me with my hoarse voice this week. Know that I’m here for you, and that’s why I’m willing to push through this.

So again claiming your spot amongst the field. Everybody wants to know this. Everybody wants to know how to become somebody at the firm—how to be that adjuster that always gets the phone call or what we call being on the “first call list.” That’s what everybody wants.

But in order to understand what it’s going to take to be on the “first call list” or claiming your spot—earning your spot—in the field of adjusting with at least one firm maybe multiple, we got a back up and we got to understand meanings of what we’re doing here. 

So my first question for you is are you in adjuster—are you just in adjuster that’s out running claims—or are you a business? Because that makes all the difference in the world on how your mindset is when you’re approaching how you’re going to perform as an adjuster for the firms that you’re working for. 

I can’t answer that question for you, but I can answer that question and what it was for me. And when that question was brought to me—because this is something that I had to understand and a question that I had to getting into this trade—I had a guy ask me the same question.

“Are you just an adjuster or are you a business?”

My answer was a business; because I want to approach this as a business so that I can set myself up for success and that my business maintains and grows and becomes more than just a guy running claims. 

A business model is what you need in order to get where you want to get. And I’m not saying it’s the only way to do it. Again I don’t have a magic wand that I wave. I don’t have a secret that no other adjuster has. 

What I can give you and what I’m sharing with you is what worked for me and what made me successful. And there’s a lot of successful adjusters out there. I don’t feel that I am above anybody else; I’m just the guy that’s here sharing with you what worked. 

You might find a better way to do it then I did it; but for me it was approaching the business with a business model. 

So what does a businessman do or a businesswoman do when they are approaching a new endeavor or a new business and they want to make it successful? 

First of all, you have to look at it as it’s not just me bringing home a paycheck. What do I have to think about, how do I have to structure myself in order to be sustainable.

Well, for me the first thing was was I have to look at what does a new business to do in order to gain credibility and gain a name for itself? a

Well if you look at the spectrum of businesses—small businesses—starting up, what do they generally deliver? They make every effort anyway to deliver a product above and beyond what everybody else is doing—generally at a lesser price than what everybody else is charging. That’s how a new business will generally gain their ability to grow fast and produce products that are as good or better for a lesser price.

That doesn’t mean that companies is always going to maintain that model; hopefully, that company always maintains the model of “I’m going to produce my product that’s above and beyond everybody else.” 

That’s what every business should have a model. But starting out you’ve got to make your product more attractive than everybody else so you’re willing to do it for a lesser price. In the insurance industry as an adjuster, I’m not telling you to go to the firm and take less percentage for the claims that they’re willing to offer you because you want to get more claims. 

That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you’re probably—as a new adjuster—you’re probably going to get put on the accounts that pay less because they need to vet you ,they need to educate you, and they need to get you moving up the ladder so that you can perform better and do a better job at what you’re supposed to be doing out there.

Ao don’t be afraid to go work harder, do more, go more places, and give more then every other adjuster out there—even if they’re putting you on a deployment that pays the least. When you’re starting out, you have to be able to do that. 

That’s the only opportunities you’re likely to get. You’re not gonna be a starting out adjuster going to the highest paying account. That takes years to work your way up. 

I suppose there are probably some that get lucky and get placed on those accounts because when they enter the field they are in a position they need anybody they can get and they’re filling every spot they can possibly fill and you just happen to look out and get put on that account. 

It doesn’t mean you’re gonna be there forever that just means that that particular deployment you got an opportunity to hit a lick that you didn’t expect to get. But if you set yourself up as a business model, thinking “I’m OK with the lower pay because I’m going to educate myself, I’m gonna grow and build a better product than everybody else, and I’m OK with having to over perform in order to build my reputation as delivering a good product at any cost at any price anything they’re willing to give me.”

Some adjusters are going to make fair wages; some adjusters are gonna make good wages; and some adjusters are going to make outstanding wages. And generally the guys are making the outstanding wages are the guys that have earned their stripes. 

So that’s really my next topic. That’s what I want you to think about now is “OK I understand that I am now a business. I’m not just a guy running claims, I am a business.” 

In order to build a successful business, you have to earn your stripes in that business. 

How do we earn our stripes? Well first of all as an adjuster how do you earn your ability to get out to go to work? Well we’ve talked about this before guys —say yes!When they call say yes every time. 

Do you want to go to Minneapolis and run whatever claim we got? Yes. Do you want to go to Florida? Yes. Do you want to go to Washington State? Yes. Do you want to go to California where we’re gonna put you one day rate for $550 a day? Yes.

OK you’re gonna be there for a year. Yes, no problem. Go wherever they go. That’s call quick response. Be the person that has quick response. When they call, don’t say “well I need to talk it over with my wife, because you know we were going to go out to dinner with friends on Friday. And I haven’t seen him in six months.” 

No! When they call you say “yes I will go” and that’s being willing to go anywhere any deployment they have. That’s what it takes to earn your stripes. I’m sorry to say you’re gonna end up going places you don’t want to go when they call you in January and say we need you in North Dakota and pack warm clothes because it’s -40. 

That’s not fun. That’s not fun to go up there and sit in a hotel room at -40 and make $500 a day. To experience adjuster, no, I’m probably not going to take that deployment. 

But if you’re new and you’re coming in or you’ve been around for a while and you’re not getting anywhere say yes. You need to say yes. That’s not a bad gig for you. Say yes! 

Have a quick response and go anywhere they’re willing to go. Amongst that being willing to go anywhere they want you to go, you need to have a good attitude. You need to say happily “absolutely, I’ll go. When do I need to leave? Can I leave in the morning or do I need to leave sooner? If I need to pack my bags and leave tonight, I’ll leave tonight.” 

They want to see good attitudes. That’s earning your stripes. Again we’re going forward and we’re relying on the things that I’ve already said to back up what we’re doing. 

A business is not going to turn down a contract to go to go take on a job or build a product when it’s guaranteed if they all I gotta do is show up. That’s all you gotta do is show up, say yes, and show up in order to make money.

Say yes and show up. It’s that simple; earn your stripes. By doing these things you’re going to move yourself up the ladder just because you’re responding well, you’re going anywhere they want you to go, you’re performing well when you get there, you’re willing to perform above and beyond what the requirements are, and you’re probably getting the least amount of hate to do that. 

But that’s OK, because at the end of the day you’re earning your stripes. And earning your stripes is going to get you closer to claiming your spot amongst the field and getting you to the top of the “first call list.” And that’s where every adjuster wants to be. 

Before we go on about the “first call list,” let me tell you something about is a licensing, training, and membership community for adjusters just like all of you that are either already licensed and looking for a community of people that you can confide in for good solid educational answers and help with where you’re trying to go or for brand new adjusters that are looking to find their way into the trade and how to approach that and how to get that accomplished. is basically a school that my wife and I started, because we wanted to take the success that we’ve been able to accomplish throughout our career and share that with you. There’s so many failures that take place in the field of adjusting and so many simple things that could change to ensure that the success happens. 

We wanted to point those out to you, present those to you in a little different way, and help you walk through those things to move you further along. So when you get a chance, check us out 

We also have what we call of the private community. If you are looking for a private community that you can be a part of on facebook, we are there to answer questions, give tips, and help you with any situation.

You may be on deployment and it’s 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon whatever time maybe—and you don’t have it you, you’re struggling with something, you want to finish an estimate, and you need to get it done that night; you can pop on the Facebook page, throw out a question, and probably within a few minutes one of us—either myself or one of my train experts—will be on there to help you out. 

So check us out. and The Adjuster Guy private community. 

OK so let’s get back on track here. The “first call list.” What’s the “first call list ?” The “first call list” is the place where every adjuster wants to be. That’s right. If not with one firm, with five firms. 

We want the opportunity to work first—first one out of the box on whatever account we want. Typically that comes from earning our stripes; we put in the time, we put in all the effort, we proved ourselves; and now we get to pick and choose who we wanna work and where we want to work if it all possible and how long we want to be there. 

Sometimes that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the “first call list” isn’t going to get you the cream of the crop. Sometimes the “first call list” is going to put you right down in Ground Zero of the worst disaster you’re ever going to be involved in; and it’s going to be the toughest claims you’ve ever worked in your life. 

That’s still an achievement. That’s still being part of the “first call list.” That means you have the education, the ability, and can successfully be placed in the hardest place of the storm to work. It’s not always fun. 

Congratulations! Kudos to you. You got there. You earned your stripes. Generally, when we earn stripes you know, us that are seasoned ,we want the gravy. Sometimes we don’t always get the gravy either. We got to go work all the hard stuff.

That’s OK. I’m OK with that, because I earned my way there and sometimes that stuff seems hard—more than I want to work with—but I make a lot of money doing it because I’m writing big estimate. 

Again first call you earn your way there. This is what it means to be on the first call list. OK you were dependable. Out of all the adjusters on the roster, you were one of the most dependable. 

You’re probably one of the fastest of all the adjusters on the roster. You’re one of the guys that completes the most amount of claims in the fastest time. You’re honest. You are honest which means you go out ,you do your claims, you write good estimates that are accurate to the damage. Those estimates get reviewed and closed and go away. 

And last but not least, you responded well ,you perform well, and you’ve earned your stripes; and now you’re on the “first call list.” That’s a heck of an achievement guys. That’s where every adjuster wants to be. 

I know you say “well I don’t know some of that doesn’t sound so good, because I don’t know if I wanna work all them hard-hit areas.” I don’t know if I always want to work those hard-hit areas; but that’s part of it. 

Do you wanna go down the ladder? No, because again you’ve earned your way there. It’s OK to take those difficult deployments to work. You earned your stripes. That’s the kind of adjuster you are. 

But if you have earned your stripes and you don’t wanna work those heavy hit areas at that point, you also have the ability to tell them “I don’t really wanna work that area. I don’t like working those big messy claims. I would rather be in a different area with some less involved claims.” 

If you earn your stripes, you’re going to get that chance to go “OK will move you over here. That’s totally fine.” They want you to be happy too. They want you to be working the claims you’re working because if you’re happy where you’re working and you’re having success and you’re moving along and you’re running claims and you’re not gonna knocking them down, there doing well off of you. 

They want you to be there. They want you to be in the place that you fit the best. If you don’t fit those big heavy claims and you tell him that after you earn your stripes, it’s OK. You can do that. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind; but earn your stripes first. You’ve got to work your way up the ladder. 

Listen to what I got to say. The key to making yourself successful and being on the “first call list,” earning your spot—claiming your spot amongst the field of thousands and thousands of adjuster.

Here’s the key: make yourself the most dependable, deployable, hardest working, best adjuster that firm can find; and I’m here to testify right now in this day and age, in the industry, in 2021 that is not a difficult task. 

I don’t care what you see amongst the industry or what anybody tells you. Finding yourself on that “first call list” and figuring out how to find that key in this industry is easier now than it’s ever been. 

All you got to do is jump in, give it all you got, be dependable, work hard, go anywhere they tell you to go, work any claims they want to give you, always say yes, have a quick response, all of the above. I speak with people after people after people that say I never get a chance to go to work. 

Did you call them? Did you bug them? Did you get out there when you got a chance to deploy? Did you work so much that you only got two hours sleep a night if that on your first appointment? Were you in the help room making sure you understood what your job? Were you listening to what they said to do? Were you responding quick? Were you willing to go do anything they needed you to do at any point in time? 

If you weren’t, the next opportunity you get to deploy, go do it. Make it a point to say “I’m going to do whatever it takes when I get deployed to stay deployed or to become one of the best adjusters they’ve ever seen.” 

The attitude that you have to commit yourself to doing that is what’s going to help you find that key. They’re all looking for you—every manager, every firm owner or operator, anybody that has anything to do with recruiting or deploying is looking for you to show them that you want it.

If you want it, you could be brand new on your very first deployment and could be stumbling and stumbling and stumbling; and if you show the response, the respect, and the will to have a quick response and want to be there and show that you’re willing to do whatever it’s gonna take to be successful, you’re going to get on that call list so quick—it’s crazy. 

I can vouch right now at what took me five years to accomplish—in the industry today, if you have enough general knowledge of operating Xactimate and running claims right now, you can work yourself to the “first call list” in two years; and it took me five to get there. 

Some guys before me, it took 10 years to get to that “first call list.” That should tell everyone of you there listening to this podcast “all I gotta do is work a little bit harder than the adjuster next to me and I’m gonna make it.” But don’t stop there. Don’t work just a little bit harder. Forget about the adjuster standing next to you or sitting next to you. 

Find your manager, make it known to them that you want to earn your stripes, “show me what I need to do for you to earn my stripes,” and do everything I’m telling you to do on this program today. 

Say yes! Again say yes, go wherever they want you to go, out perform, work harder than what they anticipate you to work, don’t be afraid to go take claims regardless of the price. Those claims may pay low, again, they may pay lower than what you hear everybody else is making; but you can either take them and make whatever you get off of them and learn and grow and become dependable and become somebody that they request and they want to use or you can turn them down and wait for maybe an opportunity one day to work the claims that pay the most. 

But the likelihood of all of it is that you’re going to have to earn your stripes, you’re going to have to work your way up the ladder, and again it’s not going to take you very long if you’re willing to put in the time, the training, and the effort to do so. 

Guys I could go on for weeks and weeks and weeks about this, because I see so much potential for people to move up the ladder quickly in this industry now than i ever have. And I’m not lying to you when I tell you this industry is starving. It’s starving for new adjusters willing to be successful. 

You just have to raise your hand and say “I am ready and I’m gonna do whatever it takes.” And then two years time, things are gonna change for you. If you’re married and have kids, be prepared you’re not gonna see them much for two years, if you’re really working hard to be successful at this. 

Unless you’re gonna pack them up and take them with you, which can be a positive can also be a negative. I’m not telling you not to take your wife and kids with you if you want to take them with you. Mine traveled with me everywhere I went from day one.

They now choose to stay home more often; but they used to come with me everywhere I went. And that was a plus for me, because when I would go long distance, I would get out there and I was not in a hurry to go home. 

I had my wife and kids with me. I was ready to stay they’re in work. And they knew they could count on me to be the one that would sit there and clean up the whole storm, because I didn’t need to run home to my wife and kids. My wife and kids were already with me. 

But you also have to understand it’s a different career trying to handle claims with your wife and kids with you. It’s a very strenuous job, takes a lot of your attention, takes a lot of your time. So they may be with you; but you’re not always with them. 

Regardless of that, if you want longevity and you want to be successful, it doesn’t—specially now—it doesn’t take very long in this career to get you to the point where you get to start making more of your own choices and leaning the direction of your career where you wanted to go. 

But again you have to start it like a business, you have to earn your stripes, and then once you’re on that “first call list” you start getting a little more ability to do what you want. 

Guys thanks for bearing with me today. I just want to share with you what you’re asking me to share with you. I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy doing this for you. It means a lot to me to be able to share my experiences along with everybody else and help you to grow to be successful. 

We are about to develop and put in place a podcast email so that you can speak directly to me through email. I encourage you right now to go ahead and check it out, we post every week on Facebook page. 

When the podcasts come out, we give the information on how to get into those podcasts. We’re available on Spotify and Apple amongst several others; but those are the two main sources of podcast that we deliver this to you on. 

Feel free to get on there, I hope everyone of you are willing to give us a five star review. We would love to hear from you. Leave us comments on there. Get on the Facebook page of, tell us what you wanna hear.

We’re here, we’re open ears, we want to know what information you need so that we can better your careers and help you with your success.

So folks thanks again for tuning in. Next week we should have Jason Dyson back on with us; and we got some good stuff coming up for you, so I will see you again in two weeks. Thank you.

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