Pros and Cons of an Independent Auto Damage Appraiser

Do You want to become an independent adjuster or daily claims appraiser?

You may ask what are the pros and cons of an independent auto damage appraiser?

We have already covered the different options you have as an auto damage appraiser in past articles. I’ll do a quick recap here;

Career – Working as an appraiser or adjuster full-time

Part-time – Using auto damage appraising as a side job to help pay off debt or increase your income

Gig Economy – This is where you work only a few claims a month when its convenient for you, not steady income

And last time we covered The Pay of these different options

Career – $60,000

Part-time – $2-3k/mo. Working 2-3 days a week

Gig Economy – You earn an average of $50 a file and could potentially earn $500/mo.

Now this time we will cover the different pros and cons of an independent auto damage appraiser.

The Pros and Cons of an Independent Auto Damage Appraiser

I personally really, enjoy being an auto damage appraiser for many reasons, but I’m going to go over my 3 favorite perks here.

The Pros

  • Your Car – I love being able to take my own car, listen to my own music/podcast, it is as if you are the king of your world. Being in the car is a huge part of the job so it’s great to get to enjoy it!
  • Your Schedule – The flexibility of being an auto damage appraiser is as amazing as you let it be. Yes, you have work hard, but many times you can schedule around your life events. Let me give a real-life example, your wife is flying in at 8am tomorrow morning and you won’t be able to get her back home and you get to your first appointment until 11, so you schedule your first appointment at 11 and the rest of your day after that. It’s super that you don’t have to get a request off from work, take a sick day, or feel guilty for not showing up on time. It is YOUR SCHEDULE.
  • Your Conversations – I love getting to meet interesting people and boy do I get to meet a lot doing this! The stories you get to hear and the people you get to connect with will keep you interested all day. You’ll hear about their collision, their job, their family, and tons of crazy stories. It reveals something that we miss many times, a part of humanity that we don’t often get to observe. It’s as if you get to peer into someone else’s life, their struggles, and their life events. You don’t get to see this driving and living in our own bubbles called life.

The Cons

  • Feast or Famine – This is the biggest obstacle to overcome in auto damage appraising. Many times you’ll be overwhelmed with too much work only to turn around and run out the next month. There are some ways to minimize this, such as working for at least 3 companies, but this is tough! Now if you are working it as a side job or as a gig economy it won’t be as challenging, but working it full time is a test of budgeting, planning, and realizing when you are running out of work.
  • Free Supplements – A supplement is when a body shop begins repair on a vehicle and finds additional damage you either didn’t see or forgot to put on the estimate. (whoops!) This can very discouraging if you need to go out and re-inspect the vehicle, especially if it is out of your way all for free. Technically it’s built into the money you received on the initial inspection, but it doesn’t make it feel any better. It is another great reason and motivation to try to get everything as close to perfect as possible the FIRST TIME!
  • Negative People – Some people at body shops look down on and are negative about independent auto damage appraisers because we don’t focus as much on the estimating and miss certain items a body shop estimator would never miss. This is due to shops having inherit advantages about writing estimates, knowing processes, and having a different focus than we do, but hang in there it’s ok!

That wraps up my 3 major pros and cons of an independent auto damage appraiser. I’d regret not mentioning that having to do your own taxes is also a major pain. Don’t forget this con in addition to the other 3, but I don’t think it should have any bearing on the outcome of your decision to become an auto damage appraiser.

Your Guide,

Chris Stanley

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