Update: Designers: Nearly all of you have submitted logos that involve some sort of stylized C and H together. While many of these look nice, I want to see more graphics and shapes. I would like to see some logos with a 3D appearance as well.
Thank you for entering my design contest. I am in the process of starting a new business. To give you a little background, I work as a full-time independent claims adjuster in the United States. This means that I work as a subcontractor to various insurance companies (State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Safeco, Allstate, Citizens, etc) and adjust property damage claims for them. Primarily I handle residential property insurance, usually homeowners claims.
In my job working for the insurance companies I’ve seen a huge need. The insurance companies all use a software called Xactimate (http://www.xactware.com) to write the estimates we use to pay claims. Many contractors who work for the homeowners also use this same software, but MANY MANY do not.
Here is the usual process: A big storm happens and the homeowner suffers damage. The file a claim and a field adjuster (like me) is sent out to write an estimate in Xactimate. Many times though the field adjuster ends up short changing the homeowner. Usually this isn't intentional though, it's because the adjuster isn't very experienced, isn't very good at their job, doesn't have the necessary construction knowledge, or is just overworked.
The homeowner then looks in the phone book or online and finds a contractor (or several contractors). Those contractors come to the house and look at the damage, and most of the time the homeowner shows them the insurance company provided Xactimate estimate. The contractor then has to do two things. First, they have to sell themselves to the homeowner, the second (assuming they get the job) they have to convince the insurance company that they should pay the contractor based on his estimate and not the one the field adjuster wrote. Assuming the contractor is hired, usually they write their own estimate and submit it to the insurance company. Then the insurance company adjuster and the contractor negotiate the final scope (a scope is a list of the actual things that need to be done) and cost of the repairs.
If a contractor isn’t writing their estimate using Xactimate they are at a huge disadvantage. First, Xactimate estimates lend to credibility. That credibility is needed when more than one contractor is trying to get the homeowner to hire them. Xactimate estimates are very professional and detailed. When a contractor is hand-writing an estimate they just don’t look anywhere near as professional to the homeowner and may lose the job even though they’re the best contractor for the job.
Contractors are also at a huge disadvantage when dealing with the insurance company if they’re not using Xactimate. First, insurance adjusters are trained to read Xactimate estimates. When a contractor uses a different format it's like trying to communicate with someone in the wrong language. Additionally, a properly written Xactimate estimate presented to, and negotiated with an insurance company will nearly always mean more money in the contractor's pocket for the same amount of work.
So here is an example. Jimmy the Roofer sells roof in Nowhere, Kansas. In Nowhere, he can usually sell his roofs for $8,000. He’s been selling roofs for five years at $8,000 and that’s just the price he normally gets. One day a hail storm rolls through Nowhere, Kansas and Jimmy is able to sign-up several customers. Jimmy turns in his $8,000 hand-written estimate to State Farm who a week or so later calls Jimmy and says, “Jimmy, we’ll agree to your $8k bid – go ahead and start the work.” The problem is, Jimmy is basing his roof price off of the cost he has been getting for all these years not knowing that if a proper scope of work were estimated in Xactimate, State Farm would have been willing to pay up to $11,000 to replace that roof. Jimmy thinks he’s a winner, but actually left $3,000 on the table.
After a while Jimmy keeps seeing these insurance company estimates in the same format even though they come from lots of different companies. He also hears his contractor buddies at the local pub talking about the roof they’re selling for $11,000 and Jimmy tries to figure out what they’re doing differently that gets them so much more money. Finally, Jimmy finds out that the insurance company estimates he’s see are written in Xactimate, and he hears some of his buddies are using Xactimate too. He wants to use Xactimate because it’ll absolutely ensure he’ll make more money. He goes to their website and sees that a monthly subscription costs $350, and Jimmy isn’t really a computer guy anyway. He does some more research and finds out that getting proficient in Xactimate takes anywhere from months to get a basic understanding, to years in order to master it. Jimmy likes swinging his hammer and putting on roofs, and isn’t interest at all in being a keyboard pounder. Plus, he’s not really that good at negotiating with these slick insurance company people who after all, Jimmy thinks, are just trying to rip everyone off.
This is where my business comes in. Jimmy gets called by a homeowner and goes out to the house. He writes down his notes of what work needs to be done, takes measurements, and takes pictures. He tells the homeowner he isn’t going to go back to the shop and write up his estimate and will email it over to them in a day or so. Jimmy comes to my company and provides us with the scope of work he wants to bid on, provides his measurements, and uploads his photos. Because Jimmy is an established customer of mine, I already have Jimmy’s company logo saved in my files as well as the address, phone, fax, etc of Jimmy’s business. I take all the info Jimmy gave me and write him up an Xactimate estimate with his company logo and contact info at the top, and I forward that back to Jimmy to present to the homeowner and the insurance company (if he gets hired by the homeowner). This is the most basic service we offer.
Jimmy can choose other packages as well. He can choose a package where I obtain for him a diagram of the roof with all of the measurements (this is a product I purchase from another company called EagleView and it puts the diagram of the roof directly into the estimate). This saves Jimmy HOURS of time schlepping around a tape measure and graph paper. Jimmy can also choose a package where I work as Jimmy’s representative (an adjuster with almost 15 years of experience) and I call the insurance company and negotiate the most money on the job. Simply providing an estimate to the insurance company is one thing, but convincing them that your estimate is correct and the one their field adjuster wrote is wrong, well, that’s a whole different story.
I know this has been a tremendous amount of information, but I felt that unless you understood the business I’m working in you wouldn’t understand the product I want to sell, and thus wouldn’t be able to design a logo that conveys the proper message.
Also, because the product I sell centers around a specific software, Xactimate, I want the customer to have the same emotional and psychological response when they see my logo that they have when they see Xactimate's / Xactware's logo. I think similar colors, and quite possibly similar design would be beneficial. Please look at their website at http://www.xactware.com
I like deep vivid blues and metallic grey colors. This is just a starting point and we could end up with something very different. Also, the logo and color scheme we come up with will be the basis for a website I have some designing.