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  1. #131
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    seattle
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    2

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    I don't understand why we'd need to save gas receipts or keep separate track of our miles. Come tax time, won't we just claim the difference between the federal standard and the $0.40? Our miles are already recorded on the payroll page.
    That I don't know. Seems reasonable.

    Why does this make a difference? As long as we claim it on our taxes, we're getting no more or less than we ever were, right? The $0.15 difference is still non-taxable income.
    Only if you itemize deductions. I take the standard deduction.

    The increase in tax is pretty minimal, pennies per case in my urban area, but it's one little thing after another. None of it is too bad on its own, but nothing actually gets easier or cheaper for me over time, to offset the incremental accrual of more time and cost per case.

    Some of the issues might be different for you depending on location and customers, of course.


    Of the last 11 errors I've had, I consider 5 contain at least partial errors on the part of QA. "Partial" errors include things like asking FR to note how dog's breed was determined.

    Huh. I wonder if they were challenging the determination and just wanted you to justify it so it was on your head and not theirs. Weird, though. "Breed determined through reference to Mueller training materials. Duh!"

    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance 2

  2. #132
    harvey kelly's Avatar
    harvey kelly Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    [Maybe there's more to it, I don't know - perhaps there's a tax break they can take somehow.

    Why does this make a difference? As long as we claim it on our taxes, we're getting no more or less than we ever were, right? The $0.15 difference is still non-taxable income.

    I see it as cash flow. They are reducing there expenditures and increasing the reps out of pocket expenses. I commend the .51 cents that they were giving as there are very few companies out there that even pay that much. The rep has to pay that difference now out of his pocket and wait to get any thing back when it comes to tax time. Here's the kicker, if your in the 15 percent tax bracket you can only reduce your taxes by that amount 15 percent. Now if you are using the standard deduction you don't have enough deductions to itemize and you are getting what you would normally with no real benefit. The rep has more out of pocket expenses and hopefully they are still making enough money ( or your spouse) for it not to matter that much. That is what Mueller is hoping for.


  3. #133
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    But they've never paid us anything for mileage! All they do take mileage out of our fees and give it back without taking taxes out.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  4. #134
    Margare Thompson's Avatar
    Margare Thompson Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello, I'm new to the forum. Just wondering if anyone here is from NY area? I'm interested in starting with Mueller (if they will accept me). Any advice would be appreciate. Thank you!


  5. #135
    C Daniel's Avatar
    C Daniel Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi all. I'm new to the forum. I decided to reply here because I see there are some considering working for Mueller or new hires just starting. I've been working since Dec 2011. I've come to the conclusion that a rep's experience with Mueller is largely dependent on where he/she lives. I'm in a fairly rural area. And there's a lot of Nationwide. That means lots of drive time, gas, and wear and tear on my vehicle. Nationwide requires prenotification calls and at least 25-50% of them are interior/exterior. That means a lot of phone time to prenot and make appts. I also don't get many cases. Sometimes weeks go by without a single one. My average is about 7/week. My weekly pay ranges from $20-190. I think once I made $205. But, taken as an average over 6 months, the pay is ok (just ok) for part time work.
    I've found the work easy, but there are a lot of details to keep track of. And if I make a mistake, it's a very long drive back to a risk on my dime. Most of the time QC is right when I make a mistake. But, sometimes it can be ridiculous. For example, a farmhouse had a porch with no handrail. The foundation was 3 cinder blocks. It was obvious from pics the porch was no where near 36" high. But, I had to go back out and take pics of a measuring tape showing it was not 36 (it was 29"). The notes state: "When in doubt, measure. IF hazard, need photo..." It was a 30 minute round trip to take those pics. The result is I don't pay attention to my error%. I'm also seriously considering quitting. I'd make the same amount of money working at my local Hardees - without the gas and wear 'n tear expense.


  6. #136
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    "Location, location, location." Definitely a big factor in how much you can make at this job!

    Interesting that you say Nationwide requires prenotification. They don't here. Must be a regional thing?

    Margare, it's been awhile since I went through training, so what was true then may not be true now, but when I did it, it was partly a chance for Mueller to evaluate trainees. Only 60% made it through and got hired. They like to see that you can be organized and complete modules and assignments quickly. Once you've been accepted and made it through training, come back and post again, and there may be additional advice we can give you.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  7. #137
    harvey kelly's Avatar
    harvey kelly Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Margare Thompson View Post
    Hello, I'm new to the forum. Just wondering if anyone here is from NY area? I'm interested in starting with Mueller (if they will accept me). Any advice would be appreciate. Thank you!
    Make your resume as strong and relevant to the residential home industry as possible. Stress anything that will highlight your ability to self manage your time and your familiarity with real estate and home construction. Finish the self paced training as soon as you can as this will impress them more than taking a long time to complete it. If they need someone in your area ( which is the key), then they will give you a call. Otherwise they probably will keep your resume on file. In my opinion this job is good because you can set your own hours, and work from home. The bad is location is everything. Some areas there is plenty of work and in other the work is very limited. Don't let QC scare you as they are just doing there job. Your relationship with your manager is the key and completing the work on time will keep them in your corner. Also look for other companies that perform residential home inspections, as there is nothing wrong with double dipping and working for more than one company. Good luck
    and watch out for dogs in the backyard. Once one dog starts barking then the whole neighborhood gets into the act. The key to keep them quite is to bring doggie treats.


  8. #138
    Mueller FR's Avatar
    Mueller FR Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello everyone, good to hear I'm not the only Mueller field. I have been with Mueller for about 5 years. I live and work in a pretty well populated area so the volume is very high. I am part time but I have a full time case load of about 60-70 cases a week. It has been like this for the last 8 months or so. Most of my cases are centralized. It might take me 30-40 miles to get to my first case, but I can knock out 20-30 exteriors easily in a day. Kelly from Queens can probaly do more then that in a day and the $ she's making is correct if not more per week.
    This is the first time I've read this forum and loved hearing all that was said. I agree with most of what everyone said. I have been through 8 managers (more or less, I lost count) and the latest one is the best. When I first started the reports were a lot simpler and fast to do. The longer I've been here, the longer the reports have become. To me, it's the worst part of the job.
    I have never had a problem with asking for more $ when needed. I like the job, but my main motivation is money. If you are driving out 30 miles each way and only doing 1 interior, that's a mistake. I will ask my manager if he has any exteriors in that area and to assign them to me. This way I can make the trip worth while. All of my managers told me that they did not want to see me lose $ on a job. I guess it helps that this is my only job. I knock out a lot of work in a week so I guess it makes me valuble. I am retired from an other job with a pension but I can't live on it alone.
    All and all, if you don't have a degree like me, and you are looking for work that pays a decent wage ($20-$30 an hr) if you hussle, and like being on your own without anyone looking over your shoulder and making your own hours. It's not too bad. But........If your not making $ doing it, don't do it. This is a personel choice for everyone to make because all areas are different.


  9. #139
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Welcome to a veteran FR!

    Wow, $20-30/hr if you hustle. First, I think it should be made clear to all the people considering working for Mueller that from what I've heard and experienced, that is not typical, especially at the beginning.

    So, I'm interested in the factors that enable people to make that much, and I would very much appreciate it if you (and any others FRs out there) could answer a few questions, especially since you're anonymous and can be honest.

    - Do you work for insurers that require labeling of photos?

    - Do you measure part of an exterior and calculate the measurements of the rest?

    - How much measurement do you do by estimation? After 5 years I'm sure you would get very good at just eyeballing the shorter distances.

    - How long does it take you to do a HV, and what methods do you use? For example, do you tally the materials for each room then calculate when done, or take notes, or what?

    -There are lots of things mentioned in the training materials that we're supposed to look at, but aren't directly covered in the paperwork (whether the water pipes are properly supported, if the washing machine hoses are in poor shape, if the cables are frayed where they enter the house, etc.). Do you look at this kind of stuff, or just cut to the basics? Do you try to figure out if there's aluminum wiring in use? I used to, but it takes so much time trying to read a whole bunch of wires and I never once found any, so now I generally don't bother.

    - Do you use something like Streets and Trips to plan the most efficient route? Do you keep accurate track of your times?

    Wow, that's a lot of questions! Sorry. I'm sure I could think of more, too. Maybe others will chime in - that would be great! I'm very curious how other FRs do their jobs, so I can become more efficient. Any tips are much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  10. #140
    Mueller FR's Avatar
    Mueller FR Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi Kristi,
    I can usually average in the field about 4 to 5 exteriors an hour. I am in and out of an interior in about 15 minutes depending on the complexity of the house. High values can be a little longer. Remember, time is not your friend. It is good that you take your time but the less time you take, the more $ you make.
    Remember just to asked the same questions all the time. This way you don't have to worry about printing all the forms. Make up a cheat sheet and tape it to your clipboard. Ext, Int, HV and commercial. Same questions all the time.

    I do a lot of bi-levels and private dwellings. If the house is rectangular, I only measure front and 1 side. No reason to measure all 4 sides because they all have to match anyway. I measure decks and porches if they are over 5 or 6 ft. I really am careful about the measurments because the home owner doesn't need to be paying for any more sqft.
    I use micro soft streets and trips. It works well with Mueller web site where you can just check the one's you are going to and download to the program. This is something one of my managers showed me how to do. This program maps all the stop and tell you the best route to take to get to them. It is a Mueller must.
    When I do interiors, I take into consideration the year of the house. If it is fairly new (late senenties and up), I don't worry about aluminum wiring in these houses. They stopped using it in the 70"s. Most high values are in good shape no matter how old it is so it's going to take less time for safety issues. I would also recommend that you make a template like one of the other field reps said. I can finish that high value form in about 10 minutes. Saves a lot of time and time is money. I get USAA and Travellers that require photos being labeled. Not very happy about that. I hate to say this but when gets to be the 11th hour on Sunday, I send in the report without the photos labled. When (and if) it gets rejected I correct it then.
    Materials are estimated like moldings. About 70ft per room X how many rooms.
    Recessed lighting is another thing. I asked one of my managers about % of recessed lighting. He told me after checking with someone that a house should not be more than 2%.
    When I was hired, I was sent to Buffalo NY for training for 4 days. I think this was a very good way to get trained because they emphasized that speed with accuracy is the only way to make money here. We went out in the city and measured and took pictures all 4 days with a little classroom too. They also told me that this job wasn't for everbody. One guy in particular told me that most jobs you have to work your life around. This job you can work around your life which did turn out to be true.
    I probably sound like a Mueller commercial but I am getting closer to being fed up. They keep adding on all kinds of things to these reports except for money. In they 5+ years of service, the time on the computer has increase 4 fold. I hate doing the computer work. I woulod rather drive around all day and measure than putting the work on the computer.
    I hope that some of this helped you. The whole key is time savings. Try to group all your stuff together and get it done in 1 or 2 days. I make my calls on Monday and try to schedule them for the rest of the week. I give my appointment times in hour windows ex:10 and 11, 12 and 1, 1 and 2. This will give you time to work around appointments with exteriors. The one's I can't make an appointment with this week are my first priority next week. I very rarely have a problem getting in house during the week. I will work to 6pm if I have to not not much more. I also don't do weekends unless the are very close to my house and I'm around. Don't worry about errors and lateness unless they are pulling your cases. Then that's a problem. Always take care of your que and always request extensions when needed. If you show them that you can take of your que and that you can bang out the work they give you then you will be able to reason with them and maybe get more $ per case.
    Sorry for the long winded answers. If you need any other questions answered, just let me know here or email me.


  11. #141
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Wow, thanks! Those aren't long-winded answers, they're just complete. I really appreciate the time you've taken. So in the 5 years you've worked there, I bet they haven't increased the fees at all - I am right? Geez, computer time has increased 4-fold, that's amazing. But then, I've only worked there 8-9 months and they've added more requirements, so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised.

    You're fortunate that you got the training you did. That's one thing I thought was a major drawback when I was trained. Absolutely no guidance on the job, in the real world. Two weeks of internet stuff doesn't prepare you for going it alone. And it really is alone. When I started I felt so isolated. The only connection I had to any Mueller staff was a very busy manager (whom I like a lot, but still), and communication among FRs was not available until I found this site. I guess they now have a field component of training. I think someone posted a while back that it was just confusing, though, because whoever did it didn't follow the same protocol as was taught online.

    I started a letter to Mueller about the training program when I first "graduated" suggesting ways it might be improved. It ended up getting quite long. I never sent it, and was only reminded of it again yesterday. A lot of it was concerned with factual errors. There are a couple glaring ones, and it makes me wonder how many FRs ever learn about the mistakes. How many reports go in saying a residence has 800A service, and does QA catch them? You'd think after training 1000s of FRs they would correct the modules.

    At least 75% of my cases require labeling of photos. Maybe the new system will be faster, I hope so. The new method of uploading photos sounds like a real hassle to me, but we'll see. At least there won't be any more $3 lender occupancy cases - I don't know if you had those, but they were a pain.

    Anyway, I'll stop venting for now! Nice chatting with you. Thanks again for the reply!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  12. #142
    Rich Tillo's Avatar
    Rich Tillo Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    If anyone is interested in working for these "low paying" companies like Mueller realize a few simple things. You need to be in a highly populated area to make a good living. You will probably need to contract for multiple companies to do well. Try to find a company that does mostly external inspections that do not require appointments. If you land a couple contracts and are in a populated area you will make money. I have 2 contracts and have made over $110,000 each of the past 3 years. I work about 50 hours in the field per week and another 20 at home or so but in my humble opinion is well worth it. Sitting on the computer with sportscenter on tv doing busy work is hardly work. When you really get to know the job your speed will increase big time...don't get discouraged early. Dont listen to all the negative Nancy type people on here, just realize you need to work a lot to make a lot of money. I have no clue where this hourly rate comes from, all my experience with these type of inspections pay per report. In a highly populated area a good inspector can complete 4-5 exterior inspections per hour in the field and maybe another 30 minutes at home to do the uploading and online report forms. Most exterior reports pay $10-$15 each. Most of the negativity comes from inspectors that were used to making an easy 2 grand a week back in the housing market boom doing their 5-6 full inspections per week. I was there as well, but instead of being negative and complaining about life being tough, I chose to adapt and work harder. I had to laugh while reading some of these posts about guys complaining about having to work 3 hours and drive 30 miles to make $100 on a commercial inspection while they sit on their couches at home making 0 dollars. I take every inspection sent my way even if it requires more work and drive time.....it seems to add up. When you always say yes to the contracts they notice and they send you more! It's funny how that works. There are a ton of companies out there that do this type of work, search "inspector" in craigslist jobs or "insurance inspector" in job websites and you will find them. Understand it is a lot of work to make a lot of money and make sure to have discipline to get it done on time. The better your time service is, the more orders they will send you regardless of the company and the more you will make. Feel free to contact me for more info about the companies I contract for and which ones I think are better than others. The start up costs are low unless you don't already have a computer and a vehicle. You will need a measuring wheel, a decent camera, and I would highly suggest getting Microsoft Streets and Trips for route planning. Measuring wheels usually crap out after a year or so for me but only cost about 80 bucks and is a write off. I use a Sony camera that is shock and weather proof since they take a ton of abuse in the field. Stay positive people and I will gladly help anyone that asks questions. Do NOT work for a occupancy inspection company that does mainly foreclosure work. They pay $3-5 per report and are horrible to deal with especially when everyone you see is very upset with you being there....I learned that real fast.


  13. #143
    June of Mueller's Avatar
    June of Mueller Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello friends,

    I just graduated training for Mueller and have my first assignments waiting for me. One appointment, and mostly exterior and occupancy.

    I've been following this thread for a few weeks and thought I would ask if you have any best practices or tips for someone just starting out?

    Thanks

    J


  14. #144
    harvey kelly's Avatar
    harvey kelly Guest

    Smile Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by June of Mueller View Post
    Hello friends,

    I just graduated training for Mueller and have my first assignments waiting for me. One appointment, and mostly exterior and occupancy.

    I've been following this thread for a few weeks and thought I would ask if you have any best practices or tips for someone just starting out?

    Thanks

    J
    Just jump in and get it done. You have done the training. Just follow their guidelines. Use this website as it need as it contains a lot of information. Some of it doesn't apply to what you are doing. Search for the document pertaining to determining age of water heaters and HVAC systems as these will help you to identify the age of these items. Learn to ID FPE stab lok electrical panels. Use the tax records to confirm your measurements and the age of the building. Don't use the records in lieu of actual physical measurements. You can use wheeled measurement device which is easy to use. Just remember that they will go bad fairly quickly depending upon how much you pay for one. You should calibrate it regularly. You can do these by measuring a part of your house like the garage and remeasure it in a couple of months to verify that you are getting the same measurements. If you are getting different measurements then the thing is going bad and you will have to go and buy another. Also they do not work well on uneven terrain like thick grass, weeds and rocks and gravel. They will throw off your measurements. I have gone to a tape measure as I am tired of spending 50 dollars for those wheel measured device. I am getting carried away here. Just do the work as quickly as possible and you will get more work. You will develop your own methods as time passes and do what works best for you.

    good luck
    and remember QC is your friend.


  15. #145
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Don't get discouraged. It's hard at first, takes quite a while to get used to it, but it will come. Took me about three months.

    Personally I would not use tax records to confirm measurements. Often they are far different from what I get. There are various ways of measuring living area - you don't know if they're using interior measurement, finished basement area, or even how old they are - there could have been an addition since the data for the record were collected.

    I use a measuring tape most of the time, especially on more complicated structures. A heavy-duty 35' tape will support itself for at least 10'. Easier to carry, more precise (makes balancing a diagram easier), hills aren't such a problem...and if there's snow in winter where you are you'll have to get used to it, anyway.

    If you see "married" (Mueller's word) circuit breakers, which appear to be separate switches tied by a bar across them, don't add the numbers! This is a big mistake in the training module. If it says 100 twice, it's still 100A. Never add anything when looking at circuit breakers.

    Unless people more commonly write dates on things where you are, you will end up doing a lot of guessing about ages of various things, especially CB panels, furnaces, fuse boxes and pipes. Just try to get it in the ballpark. It's one thing that gets easier over time. When there's no obvious plumbing renovation and the PH can't help, sometimes one thing they might know is approximately when the water heater was installed, and you can use that as a plumbing renovation.

    Try to be efficient when driving to your cases. Lots of Mueller FRs use Streets and Trips. If there are one or two cases far from home and any other cases, wait a few days to see if your manager gives you more in that area.

    QA may be your friend, but they make mistakes, too! Make use of your manager for questions, or post a thread in this forum if applicable.

    Enjoy it!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  16. #146
    harvey kelly's Avatar
    harvey kelly Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Personally I would not use tax records to confirm measurements. Often they are far different from what I get.

    That is true that they are sometimes wrong. But they are sometime right and this is a good way to verify that the Rep did a good measurement. Sometimes towns may lower the square footage in order to reduce tax rates.and they use software where user error may cause a incorrect measurement. If your measurement is close to the tax records then you will become confident in your ability to do measurements and can go with your findings. If there is a 200 to 1000 sq ft difference between the tax record then either the rep got it wrong or the tax entity go it wrong. Any way this give the rep the change to go over their notes and if you confident in your measurements then go with it. By double checking your findings you may find simple errors like placing the wrong sq ft on the wrong side of the building. Trying to do 4-5 inspection in an hour means that you are rushing thru the inspection. If the Rep made a mistake then it may come back to bite you. Because the insurance companies do look at tax records or there may be a significant difference from the previous Rep measurements or the insurance agents information. Tax records are a good way to confirm your findings or at the least double check them. Insurance rates are affected by square footage, so it is important to get it right. Also I find that doing exteriors on homes that have attached garages, you sometimes have to estimate where that garage stops especially along the side. By checking tax records you can get a idea of what they have and adjust yours accordingly and increase or decrease your living space measurements. Because in the end the living space is more important than the garage. Tax records are a tool and should be used especially if the records are available online. I believe this is beneficial especially to new reps because it builds confidence. The mistake is to use tax records in your report without bothering to take measurements for the sake of doing inspections faster.


  17. #147
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi June ,

    I would advise to read the "Notes Regarding Survey" in the body of first page of the survey order. There you find the peculiar requests of the specific underwriter youre dealing with. Some may require labeling photos, some require pools to be measured and some have different requirements. If you are diligent in reading this area and complying for every order it will save you trips back to the site to gather additional information.

    As far as measuring a risk i never use a measuring wheel. I use a tape measure and a digital laser measuring device (100 dollars at home depot). The laser is really quick at getting any measurement with inside corners and i use a reflector board (i use sign board and use reflector tape i get at walmart to make the boards) for outside corners. It also comes in handy inside a risk where you dont have to worry about damaging anything inside with a tape measure.

    I hope you much success......Charlie


  18. #148
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Interesting that there are others who don't use wheels. I actually used mine today for the first time in months.

    I have to strenuously disagree about the tax assessor data thing. How do you know when they are right or wrong? I especially disagree with adjusting your own measurements to come closer to the records. It may be fine to do where you live, Harvey, but it certainly isn't where I do, and we don't know where June lives.

    I can go to a City of Minneapolis records site and find this:

    Bldg area: 2108
    Above ground area: 1340
    First floor: 768
    Second floor: 572
    Bsmt: 768

    Then look at the Tax Assessor area included in the software, and it says 2800, more than the above ground and basement area combined in the other record. Does the tax assessor data you're provided ever show half-stories? Mine doesn't.

    That's just one example, others are just as unequal. Unless you know for sure that the assessor used exterior measurements, calculated any half stories as we are taught to do, didn't include any basement, and made the measurements since there were any additions or conversions (e.g. porch to living area), there's no way to compare what we get to their figures. If you aren't confident with what you're measuring and diagramming, you have work to do to gain that confidence.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  19. #149
    harvey kelly's Avatar
    harvey kelly Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post

    Interesting that there are others who don't use wheels. - Did you calibrate your wheel or assume that it is still accurate? Verification

    How do you know when they are right or wrong? - If you get the same measurements then they must be right. If you get different measurements then they are wrong. Verification

    I disagree with adjusting your own measurements to come closer to the records. I states specifically that on exterior inspection you do not know the measurements of the garage unless you go inside the garage. Therefor you estimate it, if it an exterior only inspection. If the tax records says 460 and I estimated it to be 520 then I would adjust it and add the 80 sq ft onto the living space. That just me. I do have faith in the Tax authorities because I verify my findings and they are right sometimes.

    Unless you know for sure that the assessor used exterior measurements, calculated any half stories as we are taught to do, didn't include any basement, and made the measurements since there were any additions or conversions (e.g. porch to living area), there's no way to compare what we get to their figures.

    Yes I know Mueller calculates half stores by saying that if the first floor is 800 then the second floor is 400. This is just estimating and not a actual measurement. Not that there is anything wrong with estimating. Sometimes you got to do it.

    Any conversion from porch to living area requires some type of building permit and the city should add this into the tax records. Does it always happen especially 50 years ago,, No but you make your adjustments based on what you measure and see at the site. .

    If you aren't confident with what you're measuring and diagramming, you have work to do to gain that confidence.
    If I am a good parent and my kid are good kids, I am still calling the other parent when my kid tells me that he is sleeping over a friends house. Confidence is gain by verifying that you did it correctly because by the 100th time you are confident in your assessment. The first time you do it and you are confidence and you do not verify anything then that just getting caught up in the moment.

    Reasonable people can disagree and half a discussion.


  20. #150
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Virginia
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    Cool Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    In reference to the earlier comment on the reduction on mileage. I was hired on an hourly basis like most of you. Without conversation I was placed into the flat rate fee. At first I complained, however as I got faster with the inspections, the more it was a benefit to me. The quicker the inspections, the more money that you make.

    It is also less of a headache documenting starting and ending times, keeping track of mileage etc.. I also get to deduct the entire amount of mileage, gas, vehicle upkeep and so forth I have found this better than keeping track separately of the wages earned, and the amount of mileage paid by the company. Yes you have to keep the receipts, however its no different than doing your regular deductions each year. I maintain all of the receipts, mark on the top Gas, Vehicle Upkeep etc.. Once a week I organize these into file folders and at the end of the year they are ready to go. Being anal from my training, I also enter them into my Word documents to show what the expenditures were for and again at the end of the year they are ready to go,.

    The one negative is to be careful. A couple of weeks ago the manager tried to lower the amounts on the external inspections. After a go around I had to show the manager what had been paid consistently in the past and stuck with my guns. Judging from some of the comments earlier, I dont know if this is directly related to Mueller trying to cut corners or if it was a brain freeze that we all experience from time to time.


  21. #151
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Did you calibrate your wheel or assume that it is still accurate?
    I haven't come across a wheel that can be calibrated, though they're probably out there. Calibrating means adjusting it to make it accurate, not just verifying whether it is. It's easy to verify accuracy by measuring it against a known quantity, like a measuring tape.

    If you get the same measurements then they must be right. If you get different measurements then they are wrong.
    This is circular reasoning, not verification. It is impossible to verify square footage against a tax assessor's data because it's a comparison with an unknown quantity: you don't know that they are including the same area in their estimate, or calculating it in the same way. You can have 4 possible outcomes:
    - the measurements match and you are both right
    - the measurements match and you are both wrong
    - the measurements don't match and the tax data is right, but you're wrong
    - the measurements don't match and the tax data is wrong, but you're right.

    I tried a comparison yesterday with a nice, easy 1.5 story rectangular house. My figure was 1200 sf. The tax figure was 2000 sf. When I used the tax figure instead of my own in the RCT, the replacement cost increased by $80,000 (40%).

    You're right that 1/2 stories are estimates. They are based on average building costs. But as soon as you alter a sketch, you increase or decrease not only what you actually measured, but the cost of the foundation and any floor above it. This is not an estimate, this is altering the data. It's not fair to the homeowner.

    Why do you think they pay us to measure a risk, when the assessor's numbers are free? And why do you think finished basement is calculated differently from above ground floor space? It's because the walls are already there, so the building cost is different. Same kind of thing for attached garages: it's cheaper to build a garage because the foundation and finishing costs are lower. In reality we are not measuring living area at all, we are estimating building cost.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  22. #152
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    Talking Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    My territory is spread out over parts of four and sometimes even five counties. I have found that counties measure properties differently. Some will give the total footage which includes porches and other attached structures. In my opinion my figures are going to be more accurate than a tax site with the exception being my figures for a 1.5 or 2.5 story house. My footage for the half story is locked in because of how the software works and my measurements. The tax assessor will measure inside and probably be more accurate for that reason on half stories. I still use my figures and never adjust to find agreement with tax assessor numbers. Just my two cents worth.
    As for the measuring wheels i do use them when doing a lake house that have piers and docks. On regular houses i find them a bit cumbersome to carry and too finicky on uneven terrain or high grass. I love my laser and the measuring tape is irreplaceble. One method i use on outbuildings is only measuring to the center of the door (if it is centered) and multiply by two. On a lot of outbuildings it is easy to estimate an 8 x 12 or 8 x 8 etc. I have double checked by measuring and it seems that is one of the few talents i have .


  23. #153
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Being able to estimate up to 8 or 12 feet is indeed a nice skill to have! I imagine experience helps with that, too. Having done carpentry is a bonus in many ways.

    Replacement costs of half stories aren't proportional to their estimated living area: it costs more than half as much to replace a half story than a full story. I compared a 1.5 story, 1500 SF with a 2 story 2000 SF in the RCT, and it cost about 20 (for basement) or 23% (for slab) more to build the 2 story, not the 33% more you would expect if going strictly by living area. On the other hand, going from a 1 story 1000 SF to 1.5 story 1500 adds about 41% to replacement cost (slab foundation). And it makes sense. When you make a half story into a full story all you're really adding is a few vertical feet of exterior walls, and ceiling joists. Adding a half story means adding (usually) a few vertical feet of exterior walls, all the finish work, and interior walls. Finish work is particularly expensive because of the labor costs.

    The point is that whether the estimated living area of a half story is off by +/- 100 SF is less important than whether there is a half story. Living area alone is only part of the picture.


    Harvey, I'm glad you said, "Reasonable people can disagree and have a discussion." I don't mean to jump all over you here, I'm just trying to state the case clearly. I'm probably going overboard, but it seems like an important point and I think new FRs should understand it. FWIW, I brought it up with my manager, and he said our measurements should not be adjusted.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  24. #154
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post

    I'm just trying to state the case clearly. I'm probably going overboard, but it seems like an important point and I think new FRs should understand it. FWIW, I brought it up with my manager, and he said our measurements should not be adjusted.
    Then why does Mueller diagram program have a option that you have to put into the diagram that says
    * SOME MEASUREMENTS ESTIMATED *
    It seems to me that the Rep are allowed to make adjustments in certain circumstances. Situation come up where you can't get an accurate measurement. IE beware dog sign, no access road in back to view back of house, Snow. A row of condo's where you need to get the measurement of one unit. There probably are a few more circumstances. Reps are called on to make estimates and adjustments all the time when drawing that diagram. New FR are gong to be called on to make estimates. I for using anything that will help in making that call. That is my only point.


  25. #155
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by harvey kelly View Post
    Then why does Mueller diagram program have a option that you have to put into the diagram that says
    * SOME MEASUREMENTS ESTIMATED *
    It seems to me that the Rep are allowed to make adjustments in certain circumstances. Situation come up where you can't get an accurate measurement. IE beware dog sign, no access road in back to view back of house, Snow. A row of condo's where you need to get the measurement of one unit. There probably are a few more circumstances. Reps are called on to make estimates and adjustments all the time when drawing that diagram. New FR are gong to be called on to make estimates. I for using anything that will help in making that call. That is my only point.
    The estimated measurements are for, as you said, when you are unable to access the property fully due to a fence, dog, terrain, etc. In those cases, you are only meant to estimate if the structure is simple enough that your experience allows you to do so. However, if you have full access to the property, you shouldn't be adjusting the sketch to make your measured square feet match up with the tax records.

    As Kristi said, we don't necessarily know what the tax assessors are using to get square feet, or if they were being more or less accurate than us.


  26. #156
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Reps are called on to make estimates and adjustments all the time when drawing that diagram.
    An estimate is not the same as an adjustment. Reps should never make adjustments, except very minor ones for the purpose of balancing the diagram. Do you say in your report that you adjusted your diagram to come closer to another source of data? If there's a condo you can't access, you are allowed to use other data as long as you report it and name your source, but in that case it's neither an adjustment or an estimate - you're simply using another data source because that's the only option.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  27. #157
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    An estimate is not the same as an adjustment. Reps should never make adjustments, except very minor ones for the purpose of balancing the diagram. Do you say in your report that you adjusted your diagram to come closer to another source of data? If there's a condo you can't access, you are allowed to use other data as long as you report it and name your source, but in that case it's neither an adjustment or an estimate - you're simply using another data source because that's the only option.
    KRISTI WORKS FOR MUELLER


  28. #158
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hee hee, well of course I do! Most of the posters work for Mueller, or are considering it.

    Hey, Harvey can do it any way he wants, I don't care. Everybody does the job differently. To me it's all about the other people who read this. This thread has over 40,000 views...maybe 45,000 by now. Many people get their information here when they are starting off, and this discussion has raised some good points.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  29. #159
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I'll start by saying that when I started working for Mueller 1 year ago this month, I was working in 4 counties because I live in a very rural part of my state with nothing but cows and corn. I was putting in a minimum of 12 hours a day between field and office time but was grossing about $6-700 per week with actual fuel costs about $80. For the last several months, however, Mueller has been aggressively finding ways to cut down on their expenses. Now I can appreciate that as I was the owner of a small construction company for 30 years, but it has really hurt my income in the process.

    What Mueller has been doing over the last several months is flooding each county with FR's to keep FR's mileage low. They also reduced the mileage allowance. The idea is to keep mileage for each case low to avoid case block errors (fee is below Muellerís minimum rate of pay). This avoids the need for Mueller to adjust fees upward to keep in compliance with their minimum standard of $12 per hour. As a result, I am only getting an average of about 5 cases per week and since my county is so unpopulated, most of my income is spent on fuel.

    I don't see it getting any better so I'm going to apply to several other companies that do the same thing. Ultimately, I'd like to apply as an independent, but at the moment, I can't afford the $3000 per year for Errors & Omissions insurance so I am just going to apply as an employee. With Mueller, I didn't have to send a resume. The Want Add on Craigslist just said to call, did a phone interview and the training began. The other companies all want resumes and I have a few questions regarding my resume.

    1. Do I list on my cover letter that I'm currently working part time with another company doing the same thing?
    2. If so, do I list Mueller as the company?
    3. If not, what's the best way to explain my experience?
    4. Do I list Mueller in the employment section of my resume?
    5. If so, would I list it as 2011 to 2012 or 2011 to present?

    I know this should be simple, but I haven't had to do a resume for almost 30 years and don't know how it works these days and I really need more work. My plan is to be able to save enough money to get my Home Inspection license ($4500 for the required training coarse) and $3000 for insurance so I'll be ready when the housing market picks up. Inspectors in my state are getting on average about $500 per inspection.

    Any advice on the resume would be greatly appreciated.


  30. #160
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Do any field reps have a manager that is modifying the time frame that is listed on your inspections by reducing your allotted inspection time and then stating that they will not give you assignments unless you have completed all of your assignments within the reduced time frame?

    I am being told that Allstate Urban have to be returned in 4 days. Typically you receive a batch of assignments on Friday and have to turn them in no later than the following Wednesday. The inspection sheet shows a deadline 5 days later.

    I am sure that several inspectors have brought up the fact that it is confusing when a due date listed on the assignment is different than what the Manager is demanding of you?

    Just wondering if it is throughout Mueller or just a regional thing. Are the reps that are doing the work on time being punished for a few that do not get their assignments in?


  31. #161
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    You should definitely list Mueller on your resume, 2011 (plus month you started) to present. Whether you discuss it in your cover letter is kind of up to you, but I would since it's a related field. You can say you're working for them now, but you're interested in other companies doing the same thing because... You might not want to directly say it's because you want more money. You could put something vague, like you're not happy with some of the policy changes during recent months, and leave the particular reasons for the interview. Or perhaps better, put a more positive spin on it and say what you are looking for in a different company, for example, "I would like more cases than Mueller currently provides." Only write that if it's true and you think the other company will provide more cases (hard to know).

    It wouldn't hurt to get a resume book out of the library so you can write a good one, and have someone look it over who knows something about resume writing.

    Good luck!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  32. #162
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi...This is my first post here. As a pioneer in the message board world with over 1 million posts since 1993, I can easily say that MBs can be a timesuck. I have hesitated to post here for that reason, but now I'm finally jumping in. I will just shave some FB time down to accommodate IN, lol.

    I have been a FR with Mueller for about 6 months. I love my job. From what I have read in this thread, I can divide the posts two ways:

    GLASS HALF EMPTY PEOPLE:
    1. Pay is low
    2. Mileage isn't paid
    3. QAs only have bad news
    4. Photos take too long to process

    GLASS HALF FULL PEOPLE:
    1. Pay is fair
    2. Mileage is actually accounted for in your pay
    3. QAs are teachers
    4. Photo time is part of the job.

    To expand on that...

    1. People who complain that their pay is low should get another job and quit complaining. Mueller backs up what they promise, which includes adjusting your pay to make your time worth at least what they said they would pay you by the hour. If you are still not making enough money, complaining here will not increase your pay.

    2. I average about 10 miles a day when I shoot houses. If I had any other job with a 5 mile commute, there wouldn't be mileage pay on my paycheck, but I would still be driving 10 miles to work on my own dime. Average out all your pay including mileage. If you're not making enough, it doesn't matter how many miles were recorded, you just need to make more money to be happy, and that's probably working for someone else.

    3. QA people aren't the bad guys. If you don't want so many rejections, stop goofing up so much. One of the great things about this job is that you are not judged by some manager's subjective opinions. Your error % is...what it is. If you have all green stars, you are fine, management leaves you alone, and that's that. If not, Mueller offers training and support to lower your score. It's pretty academic, very supportive, and relieves you of the stress from subjective evaluations that happen other lines of work. The QA people teach me stuff all the time, which allows me to do my job better and make more money.

    4. If you keep the resolution way down in your camera, you will still get great shots, and the photos will upload in seconds. Nobody is shooting waterfalls. Lower the quality setting and the entire time issue goes away.

    I have enjoyed the almost contact of other FRs here, and appreciate the advice I got from reading some of your posts. Thanks for reading this long, first post. I look forward to returning to IN and having more inspection fun. -Carlos


  33. #163
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi Carlos, and Welcome! I'm glad you decided to join us.

    The thing that sticks out most for me in your post is that you average 10 miles a day. As many have said already, location is a very important determinate of how much you earn. I think before dividing people up like you have you might consider how often circumstances can contribute to what an FR is paid for time and expenses. They say expenses are paid as part of the fee, but that means that someone who travels 200 miles/wk has lower net income than someone who travels 40 miles/wk, all else being equal. This job doesn't pay everyone the same, so you can judge everyone the same. And it's very hard to find a job these days.

    I agree that QA is there to teach us - in theory. But they make too many mistakes lately, which lowers their credibility with me. There are other things they could do that would be more effective.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  34. #164
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    TY Kristi...You are right. I wasn't considering other locations, and travel time is a real issue. Even the definition of urban/rural is so broad that it will vary greatly. Anyway, the point I was making is that pay is fair if you know what to expect up front. BTW, I never put people in lists...haha. I learned quite a bit just reading stuff here.


  35. #165
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello All,

    Can anyone tell me what questions they ask during the phone interview for Mueller? Thanks ahead of time!

    --Jessica


  36. #166
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi again!

    Loving the work so far. Having a blast!

    Got my first HV assignment this week. Any tips from the call to set the appointment through the finished report?

    Thanks!!


  37. #167
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Bigger more expensive properties can be more difficult to physically approach sometimes because they are on a secluded private road or gated property. Make sure you have easy access to find the place when you make the appointment so you are not late. Arriving late which can be real upsetting for some people.


  38. #168
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    So.. reading through this thread I'm curious and this is probably an obvious answer.

    are FR for Mueller W-2 employees or 1099?

    Are you all paid per job that adjusts to the per hour I see kicked about or are you straight wage?

    Thanks.


  39. #169
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Most are employees, but there are contractors, too. We are all paid on a fee basis - the hourly wages people talk about are simply a way to compare what we are able to make in our circumstances.

    June, glad you're liking the work! I remember my first HV well. It was a very modern structure and had a huge curved sound barrier covering most of the front. A real challenge to measure and diagram. Take lots of photos and good notes. HVs can be a challenge, and it takes a while to get used to them, so don't be surprised if you spend a lot of time at first. It's all about developing your own method, what works for you. I take notes about each room in abbreviations. One part I find difficult is trying to guess what a good equivalent for something is, because it's not listed in the software - doors and windows particularly.

    Something that has not much been talked about in this or the other Mueller thread is personal predilections, styles of doing things generally. After 10 months there, I finally got my field training, ostensibly so I could make more money. I hear they're trying to give everyone field training (or they are checking up on our work!). Anyway, my trainer was good, and I did pick up a few hints, but his style was different from mine. It turns out he makes less hourly than I do (same fees, longer time per case). He does some unnecessary things, like take photos of every room in a normal interior. But that's what he was comfortable with.

    My foible is chatting with the homeowner. I enjoy meeting people, and these folks are allowing us into their homes - we see every nook and cranny. I get right to business, but I think homeowners are more forthcoming and helpful with information if you're nice to them, and they love compliments on any facet of their homes. Sometimes you meet interesting people; Iíve even made a few friends while on the job. Often older folks are happy to have a visitor, and are eager to chat. If I talk much, I'll subtract 5 or 10 minutes from my reported time. That doesn't happen often, though.

    That raises another issue Ė how people report their times. Iím sure some are very precise and add up every minute on the phone, printing stuff out, whatever. Others probably estimate. And I believe the (subconscious) desire to feel one is making lots of money causes some to underreport their times so the hourly wage looks high. I try to be good about recording times, but Iím afraid Iím sometimes guilty of both estimating and underreporting. Sometimes it just doesnít seem worth keeping careful track, when the money is the same regardless. However, it gives Mueller a skewed sense of what is realistic.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  40. #170
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I would have to agree that one of my weaknesses is conversing with the insured especially on interiors/high values. Recently I did an interior/exterior and met a guy who was stationed where i was in west Texas albeit 4 years removed. He did however know some of the same people that i did and it made for pleasant reminiscing.
    As far as the high values I print my own sheets with a space for room name and then sub categories for types of material in the room. In a high value i also photograph each room to aid in the narrative at end of report (unique features). On some of the high values the diagram can be challenging so it is wise to make sure you know where the number of stories changes and get good measurements. I like to do the exterior first and that allows me to confirm any problem measurement areas on the interior.
    One question for the other reps on here. Do any of you guys get your pay adjusted because of below scale rates? Since I have had my new manager she insists mueller no longer does this. What she does is add a an adjustment and then subtract that at the end of the week when the rest of the cases you submit averages out to minimums established by mueller.


  41. #171
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I've done the same thing with HVs. It's much easier than flipping back and forth through 18 pages of lists, trying to find what you want. Sometimes those forms drive me crazy. There are 5 (undefined) choices for marble wall tile, but none for slate. You can choose laminate flooring (under "Wood," for some reason), but not engineered wood.

    What about site work? Do you guys measure all the driveways and sidewalks and stuff? It's practically impossible to actually measure the area of irrigated yard; I just estimate that.

    "What she does is add a an adjustment and then subtract that at the end of the week when the rest of the cases you submit averages out to minimums established by mueller."
    Wow, is that even legal? That's really crazy. You might want to ask someone at the Texas Dept. of Labor (or equivalent) about that. I haven't needed to have extra added for a few weeks, so I can't say whether things have changed. When did she tell you this? I don't fully trust anything that Mueller management says.

    I've wondered how they calculate the minimum, and what it actually is. I've had paychecks well below the $12 standard. I think there must to two ways they do it: a minimum the software uses when accepting cases, and a separate minimum calculated over time, probably something like a 3-month rolling average, similar to the was error rates are calculated. Wouldn't it be nice if they actually told us these things?

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  42. #172
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    To be honest I dont use any of Mueller forms for types and classes of building materials. Instead I have made my own custom sheets where I have room for 6 rooms to be defined on one sheet of paper. I make tables in microsoft word and leave enter room name at top and then i have made categories under the room name for floors, ceilings, walls, built ins, fireplaces, ceiling fans, and a couple of spaces for mechanical and special features. All I do when i enter a room is fill out the blanks under room name. This is much less tedious than trying to work through all of those confusing lists that are less than intuitive. As far as measuring fences on property I will estimate. Raised patios I will measure and count as patio cover per instructions for some carriers. Driveways I estimate.

    As far as how long has my manager been refusing to adjust rates, it has been since she was hired. This is has been at least four or five months. My personal feeling is that managers somehow get rewarded financially or in some other way for minimizing the adjusted fee totals. But again I have to say this is just speculation. When i have a case that needs adjustment her normal strategy is to just push it through without being adjusted which in effect blocks my queue. I have tried to explain this to her to no avail. I have even asked her why Mueller has the pay below scale feature if there is no longer no such adjustment made and she has never answered this question. I am guessing that what Mueller is trying to do here is to have cases behind the case that needs adjusting make up the slack. My old manager who by the way regularly gave me higher rates and always adjusted my pay whenever i sent her a request is much missed. By the way she has won vacations from mueller because of her outstanding work. I sorely miss her.


  43. #173
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    Smile Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello, I'm a newbie here. I applied with Mueller yesterday through a Craigslist add for my county (Morris, NJ) yesterday. I received a response this afternoon for me to call for a phone interview. I didn't find much negative reviews on the company yesterday (apparently I didn't search in the right places though) but seem to be finding quite a bit of complaints tonight and am beginning to wonder if I am making a mistake applying with them. I am a stay at home mom looking for some part time work while my toddler is in preschool. I have experience of working with insurance companies and was a claims adjuster at my last job before my son was born and thought an insurance inspector sounded interesting. I'm not looking to make a lot of money (I don't need to work but want something to do) and I don't mind hard work but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. I'm happy to see some positive reviews but can someone please tell me if I am wasting my time with Mueller and should look for something else or give them a try? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks


  44. #174
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi fellow reps!

    New to this board but not new to Mueller. I have read most of the posts in this thread and wanted to add my two cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carpenters Helper View Post
    As far as how long has my manager been refusing to adjust rates, it has been since she was hired. This is has been at least four or five months. My personal feeling is that managers somehow get rewarded financially or in some other way for minimizing the adjusted fee totals. But again I have to say this is just speculation.
    Yes managers do get compensated for minimizing fees. Mueller will charge a flat rate for doing a survey to the insurance company. Out of that fee they keep a percentage for themselves and the remainder is split between the manager and the FR. The less the manager adjusts your pay then more they keep for themselves. If you are not compensated at a minimum of $12 an hour for your work then you need to complain to someone higher then your manager. Reps are hired with the guarantee to make that minimum so it is your right to do so. I would also suggest that you should always calculate your hourly rate every pay to make sure that you are making the minimum. I check every pay and have found several that have not met the minimum.


  45. #175
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Ins Inspector View Post
    Hi fellow reps!

    New to this board but not new to Mueller. I have read most of the posts in this thread and wanted to add my two cents.



    Yes managers do get compensated for minimizing fees. Mueller will charge a flat rate for doing a survey to the insurance company. Out of that fee they keep a percentage for themselves and the remainder is split between the manager and the FR. The less the manager adjusts your pay then more they keep for themselves. If you are not compensated at a minimum of $12 an hour for your work then you need to complain to someone higher then your manager. Reps are hired with the guarantee to make that minimum so it is your right to do so. I would also suggest that you should always calculate your hourly rate every pay to make sure that you are making the minimum. I check every pay and have found several that have not met the minimum.
    Are you sure that's how the manager pay works? I was under the impression they were on a salary. Is that split fee part of a bonus they get?


  46. #176
    harvey kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Tammy Lorimer View Post
    Hello, I'm a newbie here. I applied with Mueller yesterday through a Craigslist add for my county (Morris, NJ) yesterday. I received a response this afternoon for me to call for a phone interview. I didn't find much negative reviews on the company yesterday (apparently I didn't search in the right places though) but seem to be finding quite a bit of complaints tonight and am beginning to wonder if I am making a mistake applying with them. I am a stay at home mom looking for some part time work while my toddler is in preschool. I have experience of working with insurance companies and was a claims adjuster at my last job before my son was born and thought an insurance inspector sounded interesting. I'm not looking to make a lot of money (I don't need to work but want something to do) and I don't mind hard work but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. I'm happy to see some positive reviews but can someone please tell me if I am wasting my time with Mueller and should look for something else or give them a try? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

    It is easy work if you don't mind traveling and working outdoors. You generally make up your own schedule within the window that they give you to complete the job. If you are looking to get out of the house and earn a few bucks then this may work for you. It will depend on how much work they will have available in your area. Give them a call and see if this is what you are looking for. You can always say no, if it is not what you want. Good luck.


  47. #177
    Mueller Fieldrep's Avatar
    Mueller Fieldrep Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hey Fellow Field Reps, been away for a while and had a chance to catch up today. I think I can help out with the pay issue. As far as the message you get regarding a pay level below your pay scale. Here is the deal. Mueller does not want you to earn less than $12 per hour. Let say you have a $3 occupancy case that take 20 minutes between travel time and office time. That only works out to $9 per hour. As you add more cases, yor pay scale will go up and the system will allow you to submit the case.

    Now, there is another problem some of you mentioned. If you are not earning at least $12 per hour, something is wrong and you NEED to speak with your manager about it. You should be receiving a mix of cases that gets you to that hourly wage. Having said all that, you can earn much more than $12 per hour if you make good use of your time. I have not earned less than $20 per hour since the first month I worked for Mueller. Don't jump all over me and tell me that isn't possible. I have prior experience in the business and went thorugh the training in about 25 hours. Not saying I am special, I just knew the information and could get through it quicker.

    In regards to the changes that Mueller has made. They suck and I hate to be the one to say it. more bad changes are coming. The $3 cases are horrible and are costing me money since they don't take the 5 minutes they are supposed to. They are never close and you have only 3, sometimes 2 days to complete them. This means you are going to an area that was not planned when you made your appointments. I work in an urban area so these cases are usually close. However, since I get all my fieldwork completed in the few days after it's issued, I get these cases and have no other work in the area. This is becoming an issue and I have made it clear to my manager that it needs to change. I know someone who works with one of these companies and found out what Mueller is being paid for these cases (PM me and I will give the amounts). It is almost criminal what we are being paid for these types of cases. This wouldn't be the case if they assigned at the same time as other cases.

    This brings me to another issue. I have been to homes for exterior surveys. As per policy, I always knock when I reach the property. On multiple occasions in the recent weeks, I have been told by the propery owner that Mueller was there last week or a few weeks ago. When I questioned my manager about, they hemmed and hawed and provided a BS response. Basically, Mueller is checking on it's employees.

    Lets switch gears for a minute. I have some tips for the new field reps and maybe some information for the people who want to work for Muller.

    First, always knock at the front door of the home. I know it's policy but it's real easy to ignore policy when you are in a hurry. Some people have nothing better to do than sit and look outside all day. Neighbors will call the policyholder, police can show up or you can just walk into a yard with a pool and happen to see the policyhlder and his wife swimming au natural. It happens. I don't agree with all of the policies but this is a good one.

    High Value Surveys - These should take you no more than 45 minutes on site and at the very most, an hour office time. I usually get them complete in about 90 minutes total. I also complete 6 or 7 a week. They get easier.

    Don't be a pain to your manager. They have 80 people just like you. As someone said above, don't be that squeaky wheel.

    QA - where do I begin. The people who work in QA can't stand me. This isn't a guess. I have been told my manager that my responses to my rejections are not welcome. I am not sure about this, an I have been unable to find an answer, but I believe when QA receives your cases, your name or number is not attached. This has to be the case since QA would then begin forming an opinion about the field rep and that would be prejudicial. If I disagree with QA (who doesn't) I will not change my notes or diagram. As my manager has told me, I was at the house, I measured the house, I saw the house. My manager has backed me up on this numerous times.

    I know my manager reads this and I know that the owners probably have it saved a favorite. Please pay attention to this. I have been with Mueller for a while and I like my job, I like my manager. They pay is competitive and you can make your own schedule. Overall it's a good job.

    We want and need feedback other than red light green light. Please stop keeping us in the dark about changes within the company. As people above have noted, we get nervous with management changes. I don't know who said it, but one person above has had 8 managers. That's Burger King material. You guys say you are the leader in the field. How about telling your employees that? How about realizing that your employees are your most valuable assets? We aren't asking for more money, what we are asking for costs nothing. How about an email thanking us for our hard work. How about saying you understand how hard it is to work in a thunderstorm or 8 inches of snow.

    I saw that someone above mentioned above that office employess have a on site yoga class. Was this a joke, plese tell me it is since we can't even get a shirt, jacket or hat that identifies us as employees.

    Now that I am done with my rant, if anyone would like information I would happy to respond.


  48. #178
    Join Date
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    Laurinburg, NC
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mueller Fieldrep View Post
    This brings me to another issue. I have been to homes for exterior surveys. As per policy, I always knock when I reach the property. On multiple occasions in the recent weeks, I have been told by the propery owner that Mueller was there last week or a few weeks ago. When I questioned my manager about, they hemmed and hawed and provided a BS response. Basically, Mueller is checking on it's employees.

    I saw that someone above mentioned above that office employess have a on site yoga class. Was this a joke, plese tell me it is since we can't even get a shirt, jacket or hat that identifies us as employees.
    I believe they do audits on field reps from time to time. As for the office employees, I thought I had seen that somewhere as well, and I completely agree with you - field reps should absolutely be getting a shirt/hat/something of substance to identify you as an employee - it gets tiring constantly appearing/sounding suspicious (I still haven't found a way to make appointment calls not sound sketchy...).

    Also, somewhat off topic, but what is everyone's preferred method of dealing with rain. I don't mind that I get wet, but the second paper gets even slightly damp, it becomes near impossible to write/draw on it. Umbrellas are to clumsy to really work, and I have tried a bag, but found it difficult to see what I was doing. Does anyone just stop working once the rain gets too heavy?


  49. #179
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Dalessio View Post
    I believe they do audits on field reps from time to time. As for the office employees, I thought I had seen that somewhere as well, and I completely agree with you - field reps should absolutely be getting a shirt/hat/something of substance to identify you as an employee - it gets tiring constantly appearing/sounding suspicious (I still haven't found a way to make appointment calls not sound sketchy...).

    Also, somewhat off topic, but what is everyone's preferred method of dealing with rain. I don't mind that I get wet, but the second paper gets even slightly damp, it becomes near impossible to write/draw on it. Umbrellas are to clumsy to really work, and I have tried a bag, but found it difficult to see what I was doing. Does anyone just stop working once the rain gets too heavy?
    Re: working in the rain, I have the laminated diagram sheet I got in training and use it, clipped to the board, to cover the paper underneath. If you really want to work a long time in the rain, you can always put a piece of typewriting carbon paper (yes, they still sell this) and a piece of paper in a sheet protector, then draw right on the sheet protector in the rain. It rains 200 days a year where I live, so I've sketched a lot in the rain. There's less traffic.


  50. #180
    Mueller Fieldrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Dalessio View Post
    I believe they do audits on field reps from time to time. As for the office employees, I thought I had seen that somewhere as well, and I completely agree with you - field reps should absolutely be getting a shirt/hat/something of substance to identify you as an employee - it gets tiring constantly appearing/sounding suspicious (I still haven't found a way to make appointment calls not sound sketchy...).

    Also, somewhat off topic, but what is everyone's preferred method of dealing with rain. I don't mind that I get wet, but the second paper gets even slightly damp, it becomes near impossible to write/draw on it. Umbrellas are to clumsy to really work, and I have tried a bag, but found it difficult to see what I was doing. Does anyone just stop working once the rain gets too heavy?
    We have had a few days here where it gets too bad to work outside. I used giant zip loc bags from walmart. My entire clipboard can fit inside and there is still enough room to write. I don't mind working in the rain. Lightning is another story. I take my lunch with me so if its raining that hard, I will just pull over and eat.


  51. #181
    Mr. Fieldrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Ok guys, here is my first post: I've been with Mueller for 2.5 years and here's my two cents.

    Rainy days, a day for staying home and inputting cases. But when I have to go out in the rain, I use waterproof paper. Its a bit expensive but worth it. 200 sheets for $30 but I can fit several diagrams on it when needed. It can downpour on the paper and no problem. I use an erasable pen or a pencil. Here is a link to buy:
    Rite In The Rain Paper & Waterproof Pens - Fast Delivery

    As several have said, time is money and efficiency is the key. Dont get bogged down in things that are not needed. Go out during the week day when people are not home. Takes less time not interviewing. When you do here is my quick pitch: "Hi Ms. Jones, I'm John Doe with Mueller Services on behalf of ABC Insurance Company and your agent XYZ. They've asked me to come out and ask you a few quick questions, take some measurements and take a picture of the front and back of the house. Can you tell me approximately what year the house was built?" Then quickly go into the other questions like # of baths, heat type, etc. You make it sound very routine and I rarely get any objections.

    If you have been doing this for a while you should be able to rattle off the questions in your sleep. If you are new, make up a form and print it out on the back of your ticket. Take pictures of all major and minor hazards, even if you think its not necessary, much better than having to go back out for some reason for things like overhanging trees, missing downspouts, no railings on porches and stairs. You all know the deal.

    I use Microsoft streets and trips, a must to calculate the most efficient route for the day. I hope you all use a GPS in your car. I also use a laser measuring device. Haven't used a wheel in more than 2 years. Gets tricky sometimes but you learn the tricks but not all laser devices are created equal. If you are thinking about one make sure it has a tilt sensor. This way you can shoot the point high or low and it will calculate it as if it is straight. Example: Measuring the front wall and there is a bush in front of you. Point to the gutter above at the end of the wall and that's it. For those who don't use one, you have to bounce the laser off something to get a measurement such as an adjacent wall, window sill, gutter, etc.

    I average about $20 per hour. For you newbies it will take a while to get there and then it will depend on the nature of your territory, urban or rural.

    Yea me too, rather be out in the field than inside doing reports but gotta get paid. I download my pictures into folders named with the date they were taken, makes for easy finding. Also, make sure your digital camera has the correct date and time setting especially now for needing to add the time info.

    Well that's it for now. Hope this is helpful for some..


  52. #182
    Mueller Fieldrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fieldrep View Post
    Ok guys, here is my first post: I've been with Mueller for 2.5 years and here's my two cents.

    Rainy days, a day for staying home and inputting cases. But when I have to go out in the rain, I use waterproof paper. Its a bit expensive but worth it. 200 sheets for $30 but I can fit several diagrams on it when needed. It can downpour on the paper and no problem. I use an erasable pen or a pencil. Here is a link to buy:
    Rite In The Rain Paper & Waterproof Pens - Fast Delivery

    As several have said, time is money and efficiency is the key. Dont get bogged down in things that are not needed. Go out during the week day when people are not home. Takes less time not interviewing. When you do here is my quick pitch: "Hi Ms. Jones, I'm John Doe with Mueller Services on behalf of ABC Insurance Company and your agent XYZ. They've asked me to come out and ask you a few quick questions, take some measurements and take a picture of the front and back of the house. Can you tell me approximately what year the house was built?" Then quickly go into the other questions like # of baths, heat type, etc. You make it sound very routine and I rarely get any objections.

    If you have been doing this for a while you should be able to rattle off the questions in your sleep. If you are new, make up a form and print it out on the back of your ticket. Take pictures of all major and minor hazards, even if you think its not necessary, much better than having to go back out for some reason for things like overhanging trees, missing downspouts, no railings on porches and stairs. You all know the deal.

    I use Microsoft streets and trips, a must to calculate the most efficient route for the day. I hope you all use a GPS in your car. I also use a laser measuring device. Haven't used a wheel in more than 2 years. Gets tricky sometimes but you learn the tricks but not all laser devices are created equal. If you are thinking about one make sure it has a tilt sensor. This way you can shoot the point high or low and it will calculate it as if it is straight. Example: Measuring the front wall and there is a bush in front of you. Point to the gutter above at the end of the wall and that's it. For those who don't use one, you have to bounce the laser off something to get a measurement such as an adjacent wall, window sill, gutter, etc.

    I average about $20 per hour. For you newbies it will take a while to get there and then it will depend on the nature of your territory, urban or rural.

    Yea me too, rather be out in the field than inside doing reports but gotta get paid. I download my pictures into folders named with the date they were taken, makes for easy finding. Also, make sure your digital camera has the correct date and time setting especially now for needing to add the time info.

    Well that's it for now. Hope this is helpful for some..

    Hey Mr. Fieldrep,
    It seems we have both been with Mueller around the same time. Maybe we can trade some secrets. Have you met any other field reps? Just a general answer, but what part of the country are you in?Have you had any of these new occupancy verification surveys yet?


  53. #183
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fieldrep View Post
    Ok guys, here is my first post: I've been with Mueller for 2.5 years and here's my two cents.

    Rainy days, a day for staying home and inputting cases. But when I have to go out in the rain, I use waterproof paper. Its a bit expensive but worth it. 200 sheets for $30 but I can fit several diagrams on it when needed. It can downpour on the paper and no problem. I use an erasable pen or a pencil. Here is a link to buy:
    Rite In The Rain Paper & Waterproof Pens - Fast Delivery

    ...
    Thanks, Mr. FR...I used the waterproof paper from RITR as you suggested today and it works great. Pretty slick stuff. It will rain at some point on most field days where I live from now until April, and this stuff makes it that much easier. I also got the waterproof pen, but a pencil works great too. If anyone thinks $30 is too much of an investment, consider this: if you wasted a whole sheet just for one house, that's 6.6 cents not to have your sketch melt in the rain while you scramble to write while leaning over the board. CP


  54. #184
    MRausch82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I have been with Mueller for nearly a year. You can make money if you know how to. That said, it is slowing down for me right now, and I am concerned. I have an extremely rural territory which makes it difficult. My advantage is that I know my territory. I don't think Mueller quite understands the territory I cover and the roads I travel, i.e. dirt, gravel, mud, mountain roads, seasonal roads, etc. All of which add time to things. Aside from that, I like the job. I'd like to find some extra work, however. Anyone have any suggestions? PM me if so. I'd also like to meet some other Mueller folks in my area.


  55. #185
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Speaking to the earlier topic of Mueller "minimum wage" - the last few weeks I've been earning $10/hr. Yes, $10/hr. Someone got fired, and they need people to cover the territory, so my mileage and drive time are much higher. Plus I had a few problematic cases, don't know the area, and apparently neither does my GPS. I spent October in Europe and got back to a new manager, new territory, and was totally discombobulated and everything went wrong. But anyway, what I was getting to is that I think the $12/hour minimum might be a running average. I was making enough before to make up for it. Either that or they ignore it and hope no one notices.

    This time of year is slow, until about February. People don't buy houses around the holidays.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  56. #186
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    As I understand compensation from the general terms I read and discussed early on, you can only make more than your hourly wage, not less. This isn't only logical, it seems the only way to legally pay w2 employees. In other words, if you can complete multiple cases quickly, you might make more than your hourly wage, but if long drive times/distances cause a lower hourly rate (due in part to the mileage rate and/or traffic), then the company should compensate you for the balance to reach the hourly rate you were hired at.


  57. #187
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    I spent October in Europe and got back to a new manager, new territory, and was totally discombobulated and everything went wrong.

    This time of year is slow, until about February. People don't buy houses around the holidays.
    You had that issue as well? I wonder if you and I have the same manager, or if something bigger happened? As for being slow, I hope it is just the time of year... I usually have something assigned, but nothing in the past week. I have a few cases left over, but they'll be complete by Friday.


  58. #188
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Speaking to the earlier topic of Mueller "minimum wage" - the last few weeks I've been earning $10/hr. Yes, $10/hr. Someone got fired, and they need people to cover the territory, so my mileage and drive time are much higher. Plus I had a few problematic cases, don't know the area, and apparently neither does my GPS. I spent October in Europe and got back to a new manager, new territory, and was totally discombobulated and everything went wrong. But anyway, what I was getting to is that I think the $12/hour minimum might be a running average. I was making enough before to make up for it. Either that or they ignore it and hope no one notices.

    This time of year is slow, until about February. People don't buy houses around the holidays.

    Hi Kristi its been a while. In regards to your manager, things are happening. Some of the dead wood is being moved out. Did your manager just move or are they no longer with Mueller?

    From what I understand, Mueller is moving people around and combining areas. I am not real happy with this since there is a chance my manager will change and that is something I don't want.

    Hopefully it will pick up soon and you will get some more cases. If you aren't making more than $12 per hour, your manager should be adjusting your fees to get you to that point. Managers are given a fee for each case. You get a part, Mueller gets a part and your manager gets the rest.

    Have you made your manager aware of the fact you have dropped below $12 per hour?


  59. #189
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    My previous manager was moved to a field rep position, apparently by choice. No idea what happened there. I really like my manager now. She does a good job I feel. I hope she is not going to be moved or worse...


  60. #190
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Sorry it's taken me a while to reply. I've been busy, and trying to stay away from chatting to much online.

    I did bring up the wage issue with my manager. She said $10/hr is my "base wage," whatever that is. She and I are going to discuss in on the phone tomorrow.

    Apparently I'm working very inefficiently, with times quite a lot higher than average. Averages including desk and site time are 45 min. for an int/ext, 30 for ext., 2 hours for HVs, and 16 min. each for OV and ext. without diagram. Does this strike anyone else as odd? 45,30,120,16,16. They are all very nice, round numbers. Averages usually aren't so...average.

    OK, now I have to vent!

    I HATE the territory I have now. It's bigger than my old one, and centered 20 miles north of me, my cases scattered all over the place. I hadn't even heard of some of the towns I work in. I drive 60-70 miles every day I go out. The houses are mostly in new developments, and have that atrocious complexity the suburban wealthy seem to favor these days. Instead of 2-components, there are 10. Hybrid garages, cathedral ceilings, overhangs everywhere. A foot of snow fell last weekend and for some reason these developments don't get plowed. Measuring tape full of ice. Paranoid people not permitting inspections. I've had 5 cases for risks that haven't even been closed on. It has not been fun, and I'm making squat.

    Whew. Nice to get that off my chest. Thanks, guys!

    I did finally splurge and order a nice laser measuring device that has a function for indirect measurements using the pythagorean theorem, so you can measure a wall with nothing but the wall to aim it at.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  61. #191
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Sorry it's taken me a while to reply. I've been busy, and trying to stay away from chatting to much online.

    I did bring up the wage issue with my manager. She said $10/hr is my "base wage," whatever that is. She and I are going to discuss in on the phone tomorrow.

    Apparently I'm working very inefficiently, with times quite a lot higher than average. Averages including desk and site time are 45 min. for an int/ext, 30 for ext., 2 hours for HVs, and 16 min. each for OV and ext. without diagram. Does this strike anyone else as odd? 45,30,120,16,16. They are all very nice, round numbers. Averages usually aren't so...average.

    OK, now I have to vent!

    I HATE the territory I have now. It's bigger than my old one, and centered 20 miles north of me, my cases scattered all over the place. I hadn't even heard of some of the towns I work in. I drive 60-70 miles every day I go out. The houses are mostly in new developments, and have that atrocious complexity the suburban wealthy seem to favor these days. Instead of 2-components, there are 10. Hybrid garages, cathedral ceilings, overhangs everywhere. A foot of snow fell last weekend and for some reason these developments don't get plowed. Measuring tape full of ice. Paranoid people not permitting inspections. I've had 5 cases for risks that haven't even been closed on. It has not been fun, and I'm making squat.

    Whew. Nice to get that off my chest. Thanks, guys!

    I did finally splurge and order a nice laser measuring device that has a function for indirect measurements using the pythagorean theorem, so you can measure a wall with nothing but the wall to aim it at.
    Hi kristi,

    I also drive 50-60 miles. Luckily, there's ko traffic to speak of, but I do drive/work in the rain 5 months a year which can be challenging sometimes, but not anywhere near as bad as traffic.

    West of me is easy sketches with bilev boxes on slabs but in the hills south of me it's sketch hell. Round rooms, architechural multi-level decks, multi foundations and everybody is on a hillside. If it's 3:30 and one of those houses answers the door, it's my last house for sure. As soon as I open the side gate and look down the hill and see a pool past the gazebo and some crazy deckwork, there's no chance I'm makingbit to the next house by sunset not this month, anyway).

    I don't think the numbers you mentioned are surprising, but there really isnt a set rule on time since areas, driving, risks, and territory size can vary. Some houses take me 10min, and some take 35. If you are concerned about your desk time, look at ways to maybe shave a few min by uploading pics in a faster browser or even shooting smaller res pics. I use two monitors and frequently use one for pics of the risk while I sketch on the other. It makes the multi component risks go faster. I also use the second monitor as a pallete for survey remarks and notes.

    Good luck out there and happy holidays.


  62. #192
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi Carlos!

    Rain would be a hassle, for sure. Waterproof paper would be a worthy investment, for sure! Even with snow I often manage to get wet paper. I think I even have a Write-In-The-Rain notebook somewhere from my days studying rainforest, I should dig it out.

    I suppose if traffic isn't an issue, you're probably on rural highways a lot? Or is it just a small community? I usually have over 2 hours drive time for 8-12 cases. I can't wait until the days get longer!

    I didn't mean that the averages were surprising in the length of time they represent, I meant that averages are usually numbers like 47.4 or 31. They aren't nice, round multiples of quarter hours, or identical for two different tasks. That makes me think that they aren't really showing us a calculated average. It could be near that, and perhaps they are rounding off. I'm skeptical by nature.

    "there really isnt a set rule on time since areas, driving, risks, and territory size can vary"
    That's what I'm trying to get across to my manager. I was doing fine before getting this new territory.

    Thanks for the tips. I have been using two computers sometimes, or open the sketch window before choosing the photos and sketch while they upload. I use the lowest size photos.

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were somewhere on the Mueller site where FRs could post their tips?

    My manager told me a couple weeks ago about a way to sketch without a mouse; the keypad and arrows are used instead. That will make things faster especially once I get used to it. Crazy that they don't teach it in training! It still doesn't fix the problem of the software making assumptions. Do other people have a problem with long thin rectangles being turned into triangles?

    And speaking of software problems, I find that sometimes if I scroll through photos too quickly using the scroll bar, it causes my browser to close. And sometimes if I click on one of the thumbnails at the very top of the screen, it doesn't open and I can no longer scroll through the report. I have to close the survey and reopen it. Do others have this happen?

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  63. #193
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Hi Carlos!

    Rain would be a hassle, for sure. Waterproof paper would be a worthy investment, for sure! Even with snow I often manage to get wet paper. I think I even have a Write-In-The-Rain notebook somewhere from my days studying rainforest, I should dig it out.

    I suppose if traffic isn't an issue, you're probably on rural highways a lot? Or is it just a small community? I usually have over 2 hours drive time for 8-12 cases. I can't wait until the days get longer!

    I didn't mean that the averages were surprising in the length of time they represent, I meant that averages are usually numbers like 47.4 or 31. They aren't nice, round multiples of quarter hours, or identical for two different tasks. That makes me think that they aren't really showing us a calculated average. It could be near that, and perhaps they are rounding off. I'm skeptical by nature.



    "there really isnt a set rule on time since areas, driving, risks, and territory size can vary"
    That's what I'm trying to get across to my manager. I was doing fine before getting this new territory.

    Thanks for the tips. I have been using two computers sometimes, or open the sketch window before choosing the photos and sketch while they upload. I use the lowest size photos.

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were somewhere on the Mueller site where FRs could post their tips?

    My manager told me a couple weeks ago about a way to sketch without a mouse; the keypad and arrows are used instead. That will make things faster especially once I get used to it. Crazy that they don't teach it in training! It still doesn't fix the problem of the software making assumptions. Do other people have a problem with long thin rectangles being turned into triangles?

    And speaking of software problems, I find that sometimes if I scroll through photos too quickly using the scroll bar, it causes my browser to close. And sometimes if I click on one of the thumbnails at the very top of the screen, it doesn't open and I can no longer scroll through the report. I have to close the survey and reopen it. Do others have this happen?
    I live 7 miles west of portland. If I drive 20 min east, there are parking meters and flashing walk signs and merging interstates. If I drive 40 min west I'm in farmland, cows and all. 15 min more and I'm in the mountains going to a christmas tree farm. Most of my cases are in the burbs, with a few farmhouses thrown in. I am very fortunate to live, drive and work in a beautiful place. Driving is actually a hobby (I built my car, another hobby), so I dont mind driving at all. It would be nice if we got $20 a mile but oh well...

    I can't use the little thumbnails, they never come up. I just use the source folder on the other screen (it's an extended screen, actually) and view pics there. Another prob is that when I use the scroll wheel to zoom in sketch, the toolbar doesnt stick so it zoom! Flys off the screen. I can only use the actual zoom tool with a hundred clicks to reposition a sketch and it's a mini time-suck. The sketch software is not horrible, but a modern one would be cool. The new photo uploader is an improvement from the dinosaur age thing we were using before with the lableing tool from 1983. Any upgrade in mueller software will be great and will happen eventually.

    If you are having a numbers issue, you will be surprised how easily you can improve them with not much effort. You may not double your %, but a few points into the green feels like a lot.


  64. #194
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Pineiro View Post
    Another prob is that when I use the scroll wheel to zoom in sketch, the toolbar doesnt stick so it zoom! Flys off the screen. I can only use the actual zoom tool with a hundred clicks to reposition a sketch and it's a mini time-suck. The sketch software is not horrible, but a modern one would be cool.

    If you are having a numbers issue, you will be surprised how easily you can improve them with not much effort. You may not double your %, but a few points into the green feels like a lot.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble with zooming in the sketch tool! I don't remember it being such a problem before, but now it's a real hassle. I thought it was just me doing something wrong.

    Not sure what you mean by numbers issue and %.

    I love Oregon! Wish I were driving around there. My outer 'burbs territory is flat and boring, housing developments interspersed with strip malls and hay fields. I just hope they fill the position soon, so I can get back to a territory I know well.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  65. #195
    Kevn Horton's Avatar
    Kevn Horton Guest

    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello everyone and Merry Christmas (2012)
    I am new to this board so sorry if I F it up
    I have been reading all the post here dated back to 2007 or so and there is a lot of talk about Mueller sounds like they pay like crap..
    I am here in So. Calif and they have advertisments running of which I have applyed to and then never heard back from them. ( maybe a good thing )
    MY Background : I have been doing Mortgage Field service work for a few years and than last year went to full time as a contractor doing Homeowners Insurance inspections for one company, where I take photos ( front, right, left. &, back if homewoner is home and an address number) then do a 5-10min online form with sqft drawing, & down load the photos, for which I get 20.00 to 65.00 depending on the destance I have to drive, I do 120 to 170 a month, I work in the fireld
    2-3days (8-10Hrs, ea.) doing 40-50 jbs per day and then on the computer 2 days ( 6-7 hrs, ea) I also do a few Commercial inspections a week that pay 50.00 -125.00 but take more time, however if I plan right I can slip them into my reg day.
    I am looking for more work maybe one day a week 40-50 more jobs
    does anyone know were I can go to find other compines that do work in my area ( Bakersfield, Lancaster, Barstow, etc.)
    thanks for your help
    Kevn


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