FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some of the questions we frequently encounter at Assistimate Estimating Services, LLC (Assistimate). If you don’t find an answer here, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us for assistance.

 

What are the steps to ordering an Estimate?

Step 1:  Print a Scope Sheet and fill it out by hand.
The Scope Sheet is where you list all the information about your project, including the scope of work you want to appear in your estimate. Once you’ve filled out and completed the Scope Sheet, you will scan it and save it as an image file (i.e. PDF, JPEG or TIF).

Step 2:  Send us your completed Scope Sheet.
Upload your completed Scope Sheet along with the following documents (if applicable) to our online Order Form:

Photos (if your combined photos total more than 11 mb, please upload them to the cloud and send a link instead)
Insurance company’s estimate
Any subcontractor estimates

Step 3:  Wait for our invoice and pay it.
We won’t bill you anything until we have reviewed your order submission and made sure we have enough information to write your estimate.  Once we have that information, we will email you an invoice through PayPal.  As soon as you have paid that invoice, we will begin writing your estimate. Our fees and billing processes are explained on our Pricing page.

Step 4:  Work with us to perfect your estimate.
As soon as we have the first draft of your estimate ready, we will email you a link to a non-downloadable, non-printable preview version of your estimate. If you requested that we look for potentially overlooked items in your scope of work, those items (if found) will appear in that preview estimate for your consideration. You can always request to remove these items if you decide you don’t want them. You can also request to make any other changes to the estimate at that time. Our goal is to help you create an estimate that meets your exact specifications.

If you find that changes are needed to your preview estimate, you can email us with a list of those changes. We will then repeat this step as many times as necessary to perfect your estimate.

Step 5:  Finalizing your estimate

Once the preview estimate is to your liking, we will be ready to finalize and complete your order.

If the total of your estimate is less than $9,999 for a Building project, or less than $6,666 for a Contents project, then your estimate has been paid in full via your initial payment. We will email you your finalized estimate as a downloadable and printable PDF document. 

If your estimate totals more than $9,999 for a Building project, or more than $6,666 for a Contents project, we will email you a final service invoice through PayPal for the remaining balance. Our fees and billing processes are explained on our Pricing page. Once that invoice is paid in full, we will email you your estimate as a downloadable and printable PDF document. 

What is Xactimate?

Xactimate has quickly become the estimating tool of choice for most insurance carriers. Nearly all adjusters, whether trained in commercial or residential claims, use Xactimate as a tool to determine fair prices they will pay for covered damages. These prices vary for more than 470 geographic regions via monthly “Price Lists” issued by Xactimate. Nearly 10,000 line items are included in each Price List, including costs for time-and-material, labor productivity, labor-and-burden overhead, and equipment. In short, whatever you’re bidding on and wherever the project may be, Xactimate likely has a price for it.

What is a Scope of Work? (aka Scope of Repairs or Repair Scope)

For purposes of an Xactimate estimate, a Scope of Work (aka a Scope of Repairs or Repair Scope) is a document or set of documents describing the damage to a structure or contents and/or what is needed to repair those damages. At its basic level, a Scope of Work is a detailed list of all work needed to complete a particular project. At a minimum, a Scope of Work should always include:

  • A floor plan, diagram, or dimensions of all affected rooms/areas (for Building a estimate)
  • A description and quantity of the damaged items
  • A list of tasks and/or labor hours needed to complete the tasks and/or repairs

It is sometimes helpful when a Scope of Work also includes:

  • Photos

Because Xactimate estimates costs in various units of measurement (i.e., per square foot, linear foot, board foot, etc.), it is rarely ever necessary to list material costs or labor costs in your Scope of Work. After all, the whole point of submitting a Scope of Work is to have it converted to an estimate so you can find the costs. In rare cases, however, a task/item in your Scope of Work may not be available in Xactimate. If that ocurrs, it may be necessary to estimate the task/item by the time and material method (i.e., estimated labor hours plus estimated material costs). If this ocurrs, we will request further information from you to help accurately estimate the item.

What items or tasks is Xactimate capable of estimating?

Xactimate is currently capable of estimating several thousand items/tasks under the following trades/categories:

ACCESSORIES – MOBILE HOME

ACOUSTICAL TREATMENTS

APPLIANCES

AWNINGS & PATIO COVERS

CABINETRY

CLEANING

CONCRETE & ASPHALT

CONTENTS: CEILING/WALL HANGINGS

CONTENTS: CLEAN – GENERAL ITEMS

CONTENTS: CLEAN – HARD FURNITURE

CONTENTS: CLEAN – LAMPS OR VASES

CONTENTS: CLEAN APPLIANCES

CONTENTS: CLEAN ELECTRIC ITEMS

CONTENTS: CLEAN,UPHOLSTRY & SOFT

CONTENTS: GARMENT & SOFT GOODS CLN

CONTENTS: PACKING,HANDLNG,STORAGE

CONTENT MANIPULATION

DOORS

DRYWALL

ELECTRICAL

ELECTRICAL – SPECIAL SYSTEMS

EXCAVATION

EXTERIOR STRUCTURES

FENCING

FINISH CARPENTRY / TRIMWORK

FINISH HARDWARE

FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS

FIREPLACES

FLOOR COVERING – CARPET

FLOOR COVERING – CERAMIC TILE

FLOOR COVERING – RESILIENT

FLOOR COVERING – STONE

FLOOR COVERING – VINYL

FLOOR COVERING – WOOD

FRAMING & ROUGH CARPENTRY

GENERAL DEMOLITION

GLASS, GLAZING, & STOREFRONTS

HAZARDOUS MATERIAL REMEDIATION

HEAT,  VENT & AIR CONDITIONING

HEAVY EQUIPMENT

INSULATION

INSULATION – MECHANICAL

INTERIOR LATH & PLASTER

LABOR ONLY

LANDSCAPING

LIGHT FIXTURES

MARBLE – CULTURED OR NATURAL

MASONRY

METAL STRUCTURES & COMPONENTS

MIRRORS & SHOWER DOORS

MISC. EQUIPMENT – AGRICULTURAL

MISC. EQUIPMENT – COMMERCIAL

MOBILE HOMES, SKIRTING & SETUP

MOISTURE PROTECTION

ORNAMENTAL IRON

PAINTING

PAINTING – LOW OR NO VOC

PANELING & WOOD WALL FINISHES

PERMITS AND FEES (LOCAL JURISDICTIONS NOT AVAILABLE)

PLUMBING

ROOFING

SCAFFOLDING

SIDING

SOFFIT, FASCIA, & GUTTER

SPECIALTY ITEMS

STAIRS

STEEL COMPONENTS

STEEL JOIST COMPONENTS

STUCCO & EXTERIOR PLASTER

SWIMMING POOLS & SPAS

TEMPORARY REPAIRS

TILE

TIMBER FRAMING

TOILET & BATH ACCESSORIES

TRAUMA/CRIME SCENE REMEDIATION

WALLPAPER

WATER EXTRACTION & REMEDIATION

WINDOW REGLAZING & REPAIR

WINDOW TREATMENT

WINDOWS – ALUMINUM

WINDOWS – SKYLIGHTS

WINDOWS – SLIDING PATIO DOORS

WINDOWS – VINYL

WINDOWS – WOOD

Will the insurance company agree to my Xactimate estimate?

Xactimate is the most widely used estimating software in the property insurance claims industry. As such, it will likely increase your chances of reaching an agreed repair cost with your adjuster. However, just because your estimate is written in Xactimate does not guarantee that it will be agreed to. For example, opinions may differ with regard to damages and necessary scope of repairs, and coverage may not always exist under the insurance policy. Contact the insurance company for questions on this matter.

Once my order is placed, how long will it take to get my estimate?

In most cases, we will complete a first draft of your estimate within 24 to 48 hours. However, situations may vary depending on the complexity of your order and current order volume. As such, it may sometimes take longer. If your order is expected to take longer than 48 hours, we will make an attempt to notify you by phone and/or email shortly after your order is placed. At that time, we will allow you to withdraw your order if we can’t complete it within your specified time-frame.

How will I be billed for my estimate?

Upon submitting your order, we will review your project details for completeness. Once we have enough information to process your order, we will send you an invoice through PayPal for $99.99, our minimum fee for any order. We begin processing your order only after payment of $99.99 is received through PayPal.

If a Building Estimate ends up totaling $9,999 or less, your estimate will be sent as soon as it is finished. If your Building Estimate ends up totaling more than $9,999, there will be an additional service fee based on 1% of the Building Estimate total, minus your initial payment of $99.99. Before the additional service fee is calculated, we will send you a non-downloadable, non-printable preview version of the estimate for your review and approval. You are free to request any changes to the estimate at that time, or you can approve the estimate as-is if it already meets your needs. See “Why do you send a preview of the estimate?” Once you have approved the estimate, we will calculate the additional service fee based on the finalized estimate total and send you a supplemental invoice. After the additional service fee is paid, your completed and finalized estimate (on your letterhead and without the watermark) will be sent.

If a Contents Estimate ends up totaling $6,666 or less, your estimate will be sent as soon as it is finished. If your Contents Estimate ends up totaling more than $6,666, there will be an additional service fee based on 1.5% of the Contents Estimate total, minus your initial payment of $99.99. Before the additional service fee is calculated, we will send you a non-downloadable, non-printable preview version of the estimate for your review and approval. You are free to request any changes to the estimate at that time, or you can approve the estimate as-is if it already meets your needs. See “Why do you send a preview of the estimate?” Once you have approved the estimate, we will calculate the additional service fee based on the finalized estimate total and send you a supplemental invoice. After the additional service fee is paid, your completed and finalized estimate (on your letterhead and without the watermark) will be sent.

NOTE: If any additional service fee has not been paid within seven (7) calendar days of the supplemental invoice date, we will send you the partially completed estimate and close your order.

Why Do You Send a Preview of the Estimate?

We send a preview version of the estimate until you have reviewed, approved, and/or paid for the estimate in full. We do this to ensure we are fully paid for our services on estimates where service fees exceed our minimum order fee.

Can my estimate be put on my own letterhead?

Yes, your estimate will be put on your own letterhead once our service fee has been paid in full. Just upload your logo image and enter your business info on the Scope Sheet and we’ll do the rest. Your letterhead will be left-margin justified (default by Xactimate) on the header of each page of your estimate, and on any add-on reports as well.

How does Xactimate know pricing for my zip code?

See “What is a Price List?

What is a Price List?

A Price List is a set of unit costs for labor, equipment and material as determined by Xactimate. Xactimate states these are based on market surveys performed in each geographical area. There are over 10,000 items in any given Price List, and over 470 unique Price Lists for various geographic areas across the U.S. and Canada.

What happens if an item I need isn’t in the Price List?

Every once in a while, Xactimate’s Price List may not contain a certain item. This usually only happens with a very specialty item or if an item is obsolete. If this occurs, we will notify you by email or phone and ask you for a specific price to input or an alternate item to price.

How often are Price Lists updated?

Typically, new Price Lists are issued by the first of each month for each geographical area. However, in special situations where material or labor costs have suddenly increased due to supply or demand issues, Price Lists are sometimes updated mid-month. When this happens, we will always use the most current Price List unless you instruct us otherwise.

What is a Minimum Charge or Labor Minimum?

Minimum Charges are costs that Xactimate estimates tradespersons will charge at a very minimum for their work. For example, if we have a 100 SF wall that needs to be painted, and if it generally costs $0.38 per square foot on average to paint a wall, one would expect the wall might be painted for a total of $38.00. However, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a painter to paint the wall for only $38.00 since it could conceivably cost the painter more in gasoline just to show up. As such, the painter probably has a minimum charge, which Xactimate might estimate to be $165.00. In theory, then, the Minimum Charge of $165.00 would allow for the wall to be painted, plus several hundred more square feet at $0.38 per SF. To be exact, up to 434.21 square feet could be painted under Xactimate’s Minimum Charge for painting.

If I forget to add an item to my scope of work, will you look for missing items and add them to my estimate automatically?

Generally, no. You dictate the scope and we convert it to an Xactimate estimate. If we notice a glaring omission in your scope, we may try to notify you by phone or email to address the issue, but generally we try to strictly adhere to your scope.

Can I send you an Eagleview, Pictometry or other satellite measurement report to help in assembling my estimate?

Yes. Just upload these documents in the Order Form where you upload your Scope Sheet forms.

What is an Opening Statement?

An Opening Statement is an optional field on the Cover Page of an estimate where disclosures and/or other information may be displayed by the estimator to the reader of the estimate.

What is Overhead and Profit (sometimes called “10 & 10,” “O & P,” or “OH & P”)?

Overhead and Profit, sometimes referred to as “10 & 10,” “O & P,” or “OH & P,” is an extra 10 percent overhead and 10 percent profit added to the subtotal of an estimate, which increases the estimate overall by 20 percent. Carriers sometimes allow for this when a general contractor will be utilized or when there are three or more separate trades involved. However, opinions and allowances can vary from carrier to carrier and adjuster to adjuster. Generally, there are no guarantees a carrier will pay for it if three or more trades are involved, and some carriers will not allow for O&P on certain trades at all.

What is “roof pitch”?

Roof pitch is the measure of steepness of a roof. It is expressed as “rise” over “run.” In other words, pitch is determined by the amount of vertical rise a roof makes in inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run (or span) that it makes. For example, a roof with a vertical rise of 6 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run (or span) would be considered a “6/12 pitch.” The greater the rise number the steeper the roof. The rise number will always be a variable while the run number will always be a constant (i.e., 12). Most modern roofs do not exceed a pitch of 12/12.

How many stories, technically, is my building?

Typically, the number of stories of a building is considered to be all floors at and above ground level. Basements are not included. However, if your project involves replacement of a roof AND you have a walk-out basement on the same side that the roofer will use to access the roof, you should consider your building to be 2 stories. This will signal us to include an additional labor charge that most insurance carriers will allow.

What version of Xactimate does Assistimate use?

Our estimate writers currently use version 28.

What are the Assistimate Terms of Service?

The Assistimate Terms of Service can be found here.

What is your Privacy Policy?

The Assistimate Privacy Policy can be found here.

My estimate contains errors. What should I do?

We strive to maintain a high level of accuracy in all estimates that we write. However, in rare cases, an error may occur. If this happens, we will promptly correct any error that we may have made free of charge. Please email your issue directly to service@assistimate.com. Please do not use the order form for error corrections as unnecessary charges may occur.

Are revisions included with my estimate?

We will honor a reasonable amount of revisions to an estimate, wherein “reasonable amount” is determined by the discretion of Assistimate Estimating Services, LLC. If any revision results in an estimate totaling higher than the estimate totaled prior to the revision, the difference of those totals may be subject to additional billing based on 1% for Building estimates and 1.5% for Contents estimates. 

What is Replacement Cost Value (sometimes called RCV)?

Replacement Cost Value, or RCV, is commonly considered to be the cost to replace an item with one of like-kind and quality. Refer to your insurnace policy for more details.

What is Actual Cash Value (sometimes called ACV)?

Actual Cash Value, or ACV, is commonly considered to be the cost to replace an item with one of like-kind and quality, minus depreciation. Refer to your insurance policy for more details.

What is depreciation and how is it determined?

Depreciation is commonly defined as a reduction in value of an asset with the passage of time. Depreciation is usually calculated by taking into account one or more of the following factors: age, condition, wear and tear, deterioration, use, obsolesce, and expected useful life.

Depreciation is usually only applied to items being replaced, and not to items being repaired (i.e., depreciation is usually applicable only when betterment occurs). For example, if a shingled roof is warranted to last for 20 years, and if it is 10 years old at the time it is damaged, depreciation could be expected to be up to 50 percent. However, if the roof were in extremely poor condition, depreciation could be expected to be greater. Conversely, if the roof were in extremely good condition, depreciation could be expected to be less.

Can Assistimate and I import/export ESX (Xactimate estimate) files with each other?

Sending us your ESX file

Our estimate writers currently use version 28. No matter what version you are using, we should be able to import your ESX file without a problem.

Getting your ESX file back from us

Our estimate writers currently use version 28, which generates ESX files readable only by that version. If you are using an older version, you will not be able to import our ESX file. However, you will still be able to receive your estimate back in PDF format.

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