Don’t you wish there was an independent adjuster calendar that would clue you in on what to do each month?
I’ve been getting a few questions around “How long does it take to get started?” or “Work slowed down, is that normal?”
I figured giving you a month by month breakdown of what I’ve seen over the last 13+ years in our industry and what I’ve seen our 750+ adjusters and appraisers in our IA Path Community experience, may help you have proper expectations and be able to create a plan.
I’ll give some tips on what you should be doing month to month for both new and working IA’s.
Ready? Let’s do this!
There is an audio version you can listen if you’d prefer below.
(warning, this is over 3k words. I wanted to make sure I over delivered in this Independent Adjuster Calendar. It will give you an overarching feeling of how our years typically go and likely fill in some knowledge gaps that have been bugging you)
You download a free Independent Adjuster Calendar you can print off with the highlights from this right in the page below and read on for the full thoughts of what you can do month by month as an independent adjuster.
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Independent Adjuster Calendar – Month by Month
Let’s start where the calendar begins, the new year.
So you want to become a working independent adjuster or auto damage appraiser?
This is the month many new IA’s begin actually putting thought into action. This is month they decide “I’m doing this, I’m going to become an independent adjuster.”
So what should you be doing?
- Get Your Adjuster License from Adjusterpro, If Needed (to do daily auto claims most states don’t require a license to handle claims as an auto damage appraiser)
- NACA (National Association of Catastrophic Adjusters) Conference
- Start Your Training
- IA Path Mentorship Community, Training & Help Room (digital adjuster mentors and auto & career training)
- AdjusterTV (online catastrophic property training
- Mocat (in person catastrophic property training)
That’s a busy first month!
Now you may be thinking, I’ll take the free/lost cost training from an independent adjusting firm instead of choosing one that costs money…
OK, sure, but be warned. Showing up to the person who is looking to hire you and looking like a newborn adjuster baby is a sure fire way to lower your ranking in the eyes of the IA Firms. (and yes they rank you)
You wouldn’t show up to someone who is looking to hire you to paint their house and say, “Can you show me how to paint?”
It’s the wrong mindset, plus their training only counts for THAT ONE COMPANY. There are hundreds of independent adjusting firms and having training that only one company cares about is a mistake.
You should know that by the end of the first month you CAN get your first claims if you really put your head down.
We have dozens of independent adjusters and appraisers each month complete our Auto Damage Certification and get work.
For property and other claim types it may take longer.
If you are already working you’ll want to expect that January is usually a slower volume month compared to what you’ve seen leading up to Christmas.
So what should you do with all your extra time?
- Take Time Off
- Onboard With New Companies
- Learn New Skills
Many of our IA Path graduates take off the month of January to rest up for the busy year.
Often throughout the year you are working so hard you need to find time to refill your batteries, this is the month to do it!
Coldest month on the independent adjuster calendar.
Now that you’ve got your license (if needed) and your training started, it’s time to wrap it up.
Complete your training!
Earn those certifications and begin the process of onboarding with IA Firms.
Onboard with as many as you can stomach.
The volume typically starts to return.
If you are working property claims sometimes there are large winter events during this time of year giving you a nice surge.
For auto, things begin to look more and more normal as you get closer to the end of the month.
If you plan on working hail claims for catastrophic adjusting firms or paintless dent repair companies, you’ll want to begin onboarding with them.
You can also complete your taxes.
YUCK! I can’t believe I had to even say it, but you should have received all your documents by now. Knock this out and get it done so when the volume goes gangbusters you aren’t scrambling to get stuff to your accountant last minute.
This is the best month of the year on the independent adjuster calendar!
Well it’s my birthday month and hail season officially kicks off!
This is typically the first month that an independent adjuster could hope to score a catastrophic deployment.
Look for the first hail storms to drop from the East Coast to Dallas. I remember many Marches spending a week or two handling the first hail storm of the year.
BUT, as a new person the chances of you getting a deployment are slim this early on.
If you aren’t already working daily auto claims and are dead set on catastrophic or property claims here is a list of what you should be thinking about.
- Get Reciprocal Adjuster Licenses in Hail Prone States (as many as possible)
- Minnesota (ask Koby Hearn!)
- North Carolina
- South Carolina (don’t forget the South Carolina Appraisers license as well)
- New Mexico
The other hail prone states don’t require a license, so you are golden.
Having extra licenses make your more valuable to the independent adjusting firms even if it doesn’t hail in that state. It’ll incentivize them to get you working for them so “those other firms” can’t get you.
Trust me, it’s a great strategy.
Your volume should be back to normal if you are handling daily auto claims.
Property and catastrophic auto adjusters you should be watching the weather and contacting IA Firms when a hail storm drops significant hail or there is a major tornado outbreak.
I use CoreLogic free weather reports. (if you go there scroll down and it’s the bottom square on the page that says “Free Daily Map Alerts”)
Each day that hail falls you’ll get an early morning email telling you what they rank the storm on a scale from 1-5. I only pay attention if they rank it a Level 4 or 5 storm.
If there is a level 4 or 5 I head over to StormerSite hail reports and confirm that it had damaging hail (usually 1.5 and above) and that it was in an area with population. If it hailed on cows, well that doesn’t get us work unless you are a livestock adjuster and then you and I need to talk!
Hail and tornadoes pick up even more in April and the Weather Channel is like your favorite streaming series on repeat.
Be careful not to get stuck watching it or obsessing over the weather during this month of the independent adjuster calendar, there is still much you can do.
If you have been working as a daily auto damage appraiser for a couple months, now it’s time to turn up the earnings.
Learn how to handle heavy equipment claims. It is the easiest way to get a higher income stream than standard auto claims in less time. Plus the same companies you are getting work from assign heavy equipment claims as well.
If you are chasing catastrophic or property claims I’d be attending every industry or company training, orientation, virtual training they offer.
Don’t think of the in person training as training (you should have already done that!) think of it as a way to show them you know how to actually do the job.
This will increase your odds of getting a deployment. Showing up looking like an untrained noob is a great way to tank your chances and fall to the bottom or a deployment roster, DON’T DO IT!
If you really want to up the ante and lock in your opportunities to get work, get your New York Adjuster’s License.
Did you finish your taxes yet? Didn’t think so.
Get it done!
Also you should be saving your pennies from the boom you are seeing from those spring floods, tornadoes, and hail storms.
Typically business is in full swing and you are beginning to be buried.
You need to focus on running your business and not letting your business run you. Avoid adjuster burnout at all costs, we are just at the beginning of the year.
Master your scheduling, invest in Autoforms and other tools to fast forward your workflow in your business.
You may consider hiring someone to handle photo only claims on your behalf and turn off those companies that aren’t sending you valuable work and are hard to work for.
Now is the time to decide the companies you want to double down on the rest of the year.
Who helps you close claims quickly and easily and are a joy to work for? They don’t have to be the highest paying company to be the one that brings you the most profit.
This is the month of hail on the independent adjuster calendar!
When I worked as a catastrophic hail adjuster I typically was deployed all of May, June, and July.
Colorado, the hail capitol of the world, finally starts to be warm enough to get it’s first chance of hail storms.
You should be getting standby texts if you are on a lot of rosters.
This is typically the where swarms of newer independent adjusters start getting their first opportunities for catastrophic deployments.
Being prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally for your first hail deployment is so important.
Most new adjusters don’t know what to expect. In my book, Hail Adjuster’s Playbook, I break down exactly what you need to pack and expect for your first hail deployment in addition to how to handle hail claims like a pro.
You need to be ready to shine and deliver a superior product, this is the month of proving yourself. If you do well you could be working for the next 3 months.
Continue to handle the onslaught of claims you have coming in.
Eat healthy, get your sleep, and don’t fall trap to the “I stayed up until two in the morning writing estimates” trap.
That is garbage and every veteran worth their salt knows it. You need to close claims, consistently, for a long period of time. Don’t fall victim to the short term game.
Getting too little sleep is a great way to ruin your health, your relationships, and for you to experience burn out.
No IA firm that cares about their adjusters would ask that of you. If they do, give what you can and then go to sleep, and ignore their pleas for you to trade your life for $$$.
Their greed (or yours) should NOT dictate how you live. If you are struggling with the endless pursuit of money, feeling like life should be more than living on a hamster wheel, then I recommend checking out the Misleading Money Mantra. (it’s free right now on my website)
It’s a book I wrote inspired by seeing independent adjusters ruining their lives chasing money and losing the freedom, the whole reason they became an IA, pursuing the almighty dollar.
If you aren’t working, get networking! You should be. Possibly consider switching to daily claims to get your income up if it’s a slow year and you’ve been focused on catastrophic.
June is the official start of hurricane season on the independent adjuster calendar.
I can’t believe we are here already.
It’s time to double down on getting more adjuster licenses.
The more coastal state licenses you have the better your odds of scoring a catastrophic hurricane deployment will be.
Go ahead and use your licenses reciprocity to get any coastal states you don’t already have.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina (don’t forget about the SC appraisers license!)
You already know what to do, survive!
By June veterans are typically running at the highest level possible for over a month.
I remember hitting day 62 straight on deployment and feeling like every day was so easy and I could do it forever.
You get drunk counting the money you are making. (if doing well) I never counted it as day 62, I called it day $31,000 or whatever the income for that deployment was.
You should have found your groove whether in daily or catastrophic claims. If you are working catastrophic claims, if possible to take a day or two this month to recharge. You have at least a whole other month after this of non stop work.
If working daily claims be sure to AT LEAST TAKE SUNDAYS OFF! You’ll likely be busy until October and need to maintain this pace for months.
Just when you think it can’t hail anymore, it does.
If you haven’t gotten working or just started trying to become an IA, now is the time to strike, while the iron is hot and there is a lot of heat to go around. This is your month on the independent adjuster calendar.
Other than when a major hurricane makes landfall, this is your best chance at getting work.
Whether its a property, catastrophic or daily auto, or liability deployments the adjuster pool has been depleted and IA Firms and insurance carriers need more adjusters.
Continue to contact IA firms and don’t give up! Network, network, network.
If you aren’t sure how to continually follow up with IA Firms you can check out the Networking Adjuster’s Playbook for an entire networking process, tips, and email templates that are proven to work.
Hang on, you are in the heat of it now, literally.
Drink a lot of water, use an umbrella to provide shade during inspections, and suck up Starbucks air conditioning while you write claims. (Because you know your car A/C can’t keep up with the heat of Odessa Texas!)
Watch your cycle time.
Each July my cycle time spun out or control and I started to fear losing clients.
Communicate clearly and often to all the IA Firms your workload. Set realistic expectations for time frames of inspections and prioritize initial contact over stuffing one more inspection in the day.
Be sure to take a few days off, maybe 4th of July could provide a great excuse to take a nap!
If you are looking to deploy to a hurricane in the fall, inform your companies of your intent. You want to maintain good working relationships with all your daily companies and if you disappear when a hurricane hits without prior notice it’ll hurt your work opportunities in the future.
If you aren’t busy enough contact your IA Firms and ask them where in the country they could use you to help fill the gaps for a few weeks. I’m sure there is somewhere you can go make thousands of dollars a week, in addition to expenses.
You’ll want to have attended any IA Firm orientations, gotten your licenses I mentioned, and have your bags packed and ready.
August and September are the months on the independent adjuster calendar for hurricanes.
If you aren’t already on a hail storm by August you most likely won’t get on one this year. You either need to double down on getting deployed on a hurricane (if a major one makes landfall this year) or switch your tactics to pursuing daily claims so you can feed your family this winter.
This is your time to decide which it is.
You’ll finally start to catch your breath, if you are lucky.
If a hurricane hasn’t hit yet you may want to schedule a few days off, chill out, kiss the spouse, and enjoy life.
This may be your last slow down of the year, if you plan to work hurricanes.
I know several veteran IA’s that plan vacations in January and August. This makes sure they have two different vacations to look forward to.
Sure you may miss out on some money, but your life currencies of time, energy, and relationships are infinitely more valuable than stupid old money. Invest in them this month.
And be prepared for a busy fall!
This is a huge month on the independent adjuster calendar. If a major hurricane is going to hit, this is the month it’ll usually strike.
The peak of hurricane season makes for a perfect time for a new independent adjuster to get an opportunity.
Any early hurricanes will have deployed the veteran adjusters, but now is your time.
Make sure you stay in constant contact with the IA Firms you onboarded with and continue to network with other firms.
Have your car, ladder, cat bag, family, and finances in order so you can survive your first big deployment.
If trying to handling auto claims be sure to utilize the IA Path Community and Help Room and if wanting property claims utilize AdjusterTV+ to be sure you have all the resources you need when you get claims.
You probably already are working, but now it’s time to make hay while the sun shines.
Just like earlier in the year focus on longevity over short spurts of manic energy. It’s easy to be excited for a week or two and burn yourself out and miss the long term income you could have made.
Be a scheduling master and if needed hire someone to help with contacting owners, writing estimates, or driving you around.
September – November are usually big earning months!
If there wasn’t a hurricane and nothing is on the horizon the chances are slim that October will product work for new adjusters.
The weather typically calms down across the country and you see a lull in cat claims, unless you are already deployed to an event.
You’ll want to turn your focus to daily claims or desk deployments.
Whatever good things you’ve got going keep em going! Holiday are coming up and baby needs a new pair of shoes.
You’ll want to be able to take it easy in November, December, and January so it’s another big month.
The deer also start running out in front of vehicles increasing auto claims.
Hopefully any hurricane deployment you took is rocking out and you are close to being set for the winter.
All the veterans are either working or starting to take it easy, but not you.
You’ll want to dive in and find out where IA Firms need help. Filling in for a vacationing IA or traveling 3 hours to cover an hour that no one does, is a great way to earn the trust of an IA Firm.
The deer are at peak season and the first snow and ice events are happening so auto claims are skyrocketing.
As the holidays come up so will your chance to prove yourself.
The pressures of the year are starting to take their toll on you and you anxiously wait for the time off you expect to come in December.
You’ll want to notify all the IA Firms you work for about your scheduled time off.
The first three weeks will likely be a mad house as you try and get enough claims closed so you can disappear for Thanksgiving week.
One of the hardest months on the independent adjuster calendar if you are new.
Often as a new IA you are needing additional income and yet everywhere you look it’s time to spend money on licenses, training, software, Christmas, etc.
Don’t let this month beat you down. YOU CAN DO THIS.
Claims typically are slower in December and January so even if you got a small start your inbox may not be full of claims.
Network with new companies and position yourself for next year to be your best.
Your hard work has paid off and you finally are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Take this time to do a review of your year.
Did you hit your goals?
How is your income?
Were you able to save enough?
Which companies do you want to fire?
Which do you want to do more work with?
How do you want to expand your business next year?
Enjoy your family during the holidays, you’ve earned it!
Whew, that was a lot.
I hope this independent adjuster calendar helps you visualize what a year as an independent adjuster can be like month to month.
Obviously, this is just one person’s perspective based on what I’ve seen and every year is different.
If at any point in your IA journey you feel discouraged, beat down, like this journey will never lead you to anywhere good, email me or join the IA Path Community and get some support.
You aren’t alone in this, I want to help anyway that I can. (that’s why I just spent hours typing this up!)
Your guide and digital adjusting mentor,