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  1. #261
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    Missouri
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    Default Mueller FR - new to this forumn

    I am a Mueller FR in a large midwestern city. I have read many of the posts here with interest and see that many people have the same issues that I do. I have already learned some things and think that sharing problems is a great way to discover solutions from each other. I will be posting more comments and sharing ideas that I have utilized to make this job easier. I welcome any and all requests, comments or questions and will gladly share what I have learned so that we can all be successful in this job. Looking forward to hearing from any and all of you.

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #262
    Join Date
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    Portland, OR
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Nick View Post
    I am a Mueller FR in a large midwestern city. I have read many of the posts here with interest and see that many people hhiave the same issues that I do. I have already learned some things and think that sharing problems is a great way to discover solutions from each other. I will be posting more comments and sharing ideas that I have utilized to make this job easier. I welcome any and all requests, comments or questions and will gladly share what I have learned so that we can all be successful in this job. Looking forward to hearing from any and all of you.
    Hi Mr. Nick...welcome.
    The best advice I have for making this job easier is to eliminate situations where you have to stop and think. For example: I never have to stop and think of which order to put photos because I always shoot in order and always the same direction (for me, that's counter clockwise). If I want to check if a room has a cath ceiling, one glance will tell me which pic because I know I started at the door and circled to the right when I was inside. I use preset stamps for everything, and have a second monitor as an extension space of the main monitor that I use as my pallette. The extension either has a photo I can look at of the house I am sketching or commenting on, and my stamps are comprehensive enough to cover everything. Roof moss is a list of 20 varying degrees of "x>1", x overall", so I just select the line then copy and drag to the other monitor with the form. The second monitor also has the source file of the photos for reference, which eliminates scrolling up and down to the photos in the case.

    As far as forgetting key photos (who out there hasn't had to drive back out for a missing shot? LoL), I eliminate thinking there by keeping that routine as well. I always do the front shot before I sketch, I always do address # last, and always do roof ver right before address #. When you attach certain tasks to other tasks, they become a reflex which minimizes mistakes and eliminates over-thinking.

    I use IE to sketch because I have to. I E is slow. I do all my sketches first, using the photo source file as a reference, then switch to chrome to fill out all the forms. If I could figurebout how to use the sketch tool in chrome I would save even more time, but unless I'm mistaken, the software doesnt work with other browsers.

    When I'm making appointments, I personally like to shoot on particular days, so I tell the ph that "my days in the field are tuesday ad friday" or "I'll be in your area friday. Does that work for you?" This usually keeps people from asking about saturday or any other day. I also tell them that I can make an appointment for a specific time if they are the first house of the day, but if they want to do it in the afternoon then I will need a 1 hour window of time since I don't know how long the preceeding houses before them will take. This gives me flexibility, eliminates having to run yellow lights to rush to risks, and eliminates doubling back to areas just to make appointments. It also minimizes chances to be late since you have a window. If the ph can only do it on saturday on a break from work at 1pm, that's fine, but let THEM tell you that after offering your own preferred days and times.

    Also, my camera is set to 4mp. Pics load fast enough while I'm filling out forms, but there's enough resolution to crop and enlarge on a photo editor if you forget a close-up. CP


  3. #263
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    PS...photoshop takes too long to load, so I use photoscape just for mueller. It opens quickly, and has the basic tools like crop and resize if you need to create a forgotten closeup. Google Maps is also very handy when sketching and you need to see the risk from above. CP


  4. #264
    Casey Jones's Avatar
    Casey Jones Guest

    Default New to Forum

    Hello,

    I'm also a field rep who has stumbled upon this forum. Which has eaten up alot of my time as I've read post after post. Some very interesting stuff here for sure. I'm sure I could learn alot from all of you. So, before I forget, I mind as well start by asking what you guys do to protect your papers when it's raining hard?

    Besides that, I'd like to add my two cents also. The opinions on here are very diverse. Mostly, I try to respect everyone's opinion. And we all have a right to our own. There are a few people on here which I see things much different from. I don't agree at all with those slandering Mueller, and those putting the position of a field rep underneath that of a person flipping burgers. I've seen that quite a few times actually, a person (or persons), saying flipping burgers would be more productive and fair to them. Well my first statement to them is, you probably won't have a problem getting hired.

    See, I see things different than most. While I appreciate those of you who care so much about our pay, and understand that when we do more, we deserve more compensation, I don't dismiss the fact that we don't have it so bad. First of all, I highly doubt any field reps went through a tough interview process. So basically, we walked on the job. Secondly, I'm reminded so much of the talks we have in my macroeconomics class (I'm a 28 year old back in college) where we compare the GDPs of our nation to other nations, and the spending power of our earnings compared to others. Not trying to get sentimental, but things could be ALOT worse! Most importantly, we chose this. Nobody put a gun to our head. I get that finding a job can be difficult. But if you're not happy, then do what you gotta do to get happy. Sorry to tell you, but blaming others for your circumstance is weak. Maybe you should start blaming the person in the mirror.


  5. #265
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi Casey,
    Firstly, I'll spare you the grateful dead jokes you have already heard, and if that's your real name, you have.

    Some people vent about their jobs over a beer after work just for the sake of conversation, and some people are serious, cronic complainers about their job they will never do anything about. Not just mueller, but all jobs. Having been in the bar biz for 37 years, I know this to be true of all people in all occupations. I've heard them. The 1or2 dozen reps who post here out of the 1100 of us that exist is clearly not a representational sample, and it's obvious that staffing and budgets are different based on the locale, so it's apples and oranges all around.

    The waterproof paper you want can be bought online. The name is Rite in the Rain, and a few vendors carry it. You can stand in the pouring rain and sketch ko prob. They sell special $5 pens (regular pens dont work) but pencils work fine. You cannot work rainy days without this paper, since shielding reg paper from the rain is stupifyingly hard, especially if it's windy. $30 for a box of 200 sheets sounds like a lot of $, until you are parking your car in the pouring rain then 7 cents sounds like nothing.


  6. #266
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I don't complain about the pay per se, and I certainly don't come here in order to complain. People are missing the whole point with the "if you don't like it, leave" attitude. I like my job and the drawbacks aren't enough to make me leave. Every job has drawbacks. But whether someone likes a job is different from whether ones feels their employer treats employees effectively and fairly. Are there no such things as legitimate complaint and constructive criticism, or is it all just bitching and blaming? Even Carlos complains about the sketch tool. Some people write in this thread hoping management will read it - they're not idly complaining, they want to make a difference. Finally, as Carlos pointed out, everybody's experience of the job is different.

    This thread is a good illustration of the result of the company's practices. What percent of posts are about how to do the job better, rather than faster or more easily? How many talk about cutting corners? Compare this thread with the rest in the forum, in which the overwhelming majority are about doing a job well, not simply getting it done. How many FRs take advantage of the knowledge here to learn to do their job more accurately? How many work mindlessly, doing things like adding all the numbers on "married" main breakers to find amperage, as our training tell us to do? How many consider their job important because of the safety issues they identify, or think about doing right by the homeowner and the insurer?

    How many race through the job, ignoring whatever won't show at QA? Fudge the diagrams? Estimate large distances?

    I think the root of many FR complaints isn't so much the pay as the fact that they feel they're being taken advantage of. It's also very impersonal, though it may be getting slightly better. People get tired of getting errors and never hearing any good things about their work. I've been an FR for 1 1/2 years and can count on one hand the times I've had good feedback (actually, my current manager is better that way).

    I don't know how hard it is to get hired there now. When I applied the interview wasn't tough if you had the right experience and equipment. A lot depended on the practical exam, and I'm sure many didn't do too well. Then 30% didn't make it through training. I wouldn't say people waltz onto the job. It's not an easy thing to get the hang of.

    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. #267
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Kristi made some excellent points. I think the "taken advantage of" aspect has a lot to do with the physical disconnect we have in our autonomous job. The good part is working without constant supervision micromanaging, the bad part is the lack of support when you need management and even if you reach them in 24hrs, they are not physically there to see and handle the aspects of your specific issue, so their response can be general, and maybe not helpful.
    I also like the point Krisi made re posts here, and the lack of positive input. I try to include helpful tips whenever I post. I would also like to see more helpful posts here. And if there's another forum on the web where mueller people post other than IN.


  8. #268
    Casey Jones's Avatar
    Casey Jones Guest

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    I don't complain about the pay per se, and I certainly don't come here in order to complain. People are missing the whole point with the "if you don't like it, leave" attitude. I like my job and the drawbacks aren't enough to make me leave. Every job has drawbacks. But whether someone likes a job is different from whether ones feels their employer treats employees effectively and fairly. Are there no such things as legitimate complaint and constructive criticism, or is it all just bitching and blaming? Even Carlos complains about the sketch tool. Some people write in this thread hoping management will read it - they're not idly complaining, they want to make a difference. Finally, as Carlos pointed out, everybody's experience of the job is different.

    This thread is a good illustration of the result of the company's practices. What percent of posts are about how to do the job better, rather than faster or more easily? How many talk about cutting corners? Compare this thread with the rest in the forum, in which the overwhelming majority are about doing a job well, not simply getting it done. How many FRs take advantage of the knowledge here to learn to do their job more accurately? How many work mindlessly, doing things like adding all the numbers on "married" main breakers to find amperage, as our training tell us to do? How many consider their job important because of the safety issues they identify, or think about doing right by the homeowner and the insurer?

    How many race through the job, ignoring whatever won't show at QA? Fudge the diagrams? Estimate large distances?

    I think the root of many FR complaints isn't so much the pay as the fact that they feel they're being taken advantage of. It's also very impersonal, though it may be getting slightly better. People get tired of getting errors and never hearing any good things about their work. I've been an FR for 1 1/2 years and can count on one hand the times I've had good feedback (actually, my current manager is better that way).

    I don't know how hard it is to get hired there now. When I applied the interview wasn't tough if you had the right experience and equipment. A lot depended on the practical exam, and I'm sure many didn't do too well. Then 30% didn't make it through training. I wouldn't say people waltz onto the job. It's not an easy thing to get the hang of.
    I agree with alot you've said. And it's important people express their critisism in hopes higher ups see it. Otherwise things would be stagnant, with no development. And there is a fine line between constructive critism and bitching. My post was aimed more towards the ones I felt were bitching endlessly. The ones putting a fast food job above ours, and just putting down our jobs constantly. And I definatley agree with you about the feedback we recieve. This job is a different animal in that sense. Where we are rarely congratulated, but constantly reminded of our mistakes. That's something for sure the higher ups could improve upon. This job is impersonal period. Theres a great book called "the 7 habits of highly effective people," by Stephen Covey, which I believe any person in a management position should read. I disagree with you about the interview process though, I think the only reason 30% don't make it through training is probably laziness, and I still feel the majority of people with a decent work ethic can pretty much waltz on the job. Thats just my hypothesis though, I have nothing to back that up.


  9. #269
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    @casey...I disagree that the reason people dont make the cut is attributed to laziness. I am sure a significant number of people dont make it because they just dont want the job badly enough. Since the job doesnt pay bundles of money, one has to like the combined aspects of working outdoors, with the public, with houses, forms and driving. What I find interesting is that the things I just listed are all things people generally dislike, and this job is a collection of all of them. If one actually likes all those aspects (like me), this is a great job.
    The lack of back-patting is relative to who your particular field manager is. I may not get much contact from corporate or my regional, but I do get support from my regional, who was originally a fr and has had a couple of doors slam in his face and a few days sketching on the cold and rain. It's easy to see a real disconnect, though, if I had a non-communative/unsupporting manager. If that were the case, I would probably be less motivated.


  10. #270
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    The training has changed a lot since I went through it, they totally reorganized it right after I graduated. Impossible to make generalizations about it, since it's still changing.

    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.

  11. #271
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    *"support from my field manager" I meant to say.


  12. #272
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I would like to clarify the pay structure:

    You are either an employee or I.C. There is no other option. As an employee, everyone has a minimum set wage you can never fall below (regardless if hired hourly or fee based). For those hired hourly, your minimum threshold is typically at a higher amount than a fee based rep. If you are fee based, you want your threshold to be at a lower rate so you always make your fees. If you do not work efficiently, you will make your threshold. Even if you are hired hourly, you can still make the case fees which typically exceed what you are hired at.

    Ex: hired at $12.00/hour, exterior survey case set at fee at $13.00.

    If you can complete 1 exterior survey per hour (drive, field, online), you will make the higher amount at $13.00. If you take longer than an hour, you will make your hourly rate.

    As an hourly employer, you should still make your case fees for the majority of your surveys. However, if your field or online time is too high, you will make the lower amount. In my area on average, I can complete 1.5 exteriors per hour (includes all time involved). I see about 20-25 cases per week in approximately a 35 mile radius.

    The incentive for an hourly employees is to work efficiently to make the case fees.

    My Manager sent me the expectations of
    Exterior Diagram 15 minutes field 15 minutes upload
    Interior 25 minutes field 25 minutes upload

    I asked my Manager my stats so we could have an educated conversation abut my fees knowing my site and field times meet, and at times exceed, these expectations of the company.

    Case fees are negotiable with your Manager - even if you are hourly. Do not complain about the pay if you do not understand it or have not asked for additional compensation first.

    If you are fee based with a low minimum threshold (never below minimum wage), talk to your Manager about increasing your threshold.

    Mueller does not have any intent to "take advantage" or "not pay someone for what their worth". In any business, companies have expectations and goals. it is up to the employee to hit or exceed these realistic expectations. If your Manager has not expressed what your expectations or goals should be, this is lack of communication and vision for both the employee and management.

    Last edited by Current FR; 05-10-2013 at 01:34 AM.

  13. #273
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Thank you, current. I knew how payroll works, but hesitated to discuss company policy specifics online. I am glad you did. Superb post.


  14. #274
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    Wink Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    A lot of the contributors here have valid points about the enjoyment level in this line of work, though its not for everyone. This cannot be understated, and the wages are clearly better than minimum wage alternatives in this economy.

    To the point of some of the earlier comments regarding low fees - my main gripe was about the absolute lack of fee increase over an extended period of time (6 yrs, 15,000 surveys in my case) especially when overhead costs increased dramatically during this time frame. I cannot for the life of me imagine a situation where anyone should tolerate $0 increases from an employer over a 6 year period or proven performance...I wouldn't!

    It's still early in the year, but my 1Q 2013 statistics have my average fee for all inspections at approx $22. When Mueller was my largest volume vendor, my average was closer to $15. I may gross less overall revenue in 2013, but the perception that my services seem genuinely valued goes a long way in keeping the fire burning.


  15. #275
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    "As an hourly employer, you should still make your case fees for the majority of your surveys. However, if your field or online time is too high, you will make the lower amount."

    I assume you mean "hourly employee," but I still don't understand. Why would an hourly employee be making case fees at all? That's not an hourly wage then, and that's not how it was explained when it was offered to me.

    We already talked in this thread about the base wage of fee-based employees, but it was a while ago and I still don't understand the details. What period do they take use to decide if you are making your base wage? It's certainly not case-by-case, where if you spend 2 hours on an exterior you'll make hourly. The average of a week? Three month running average? Why did my base wage decrease $2/hr when my manager changed? Why didn't they inform me when I was hired what the pay structure was? And then again when it changed? I was working there for months before anyone mentioned a base wage.

    "Case fees are negotiable with your Manager - even if you are hourly. Do not complain about the pay if you do not understand it or have not asked for additional compensation first."

    So once I've asked for more (which I have), then I've a right to complain? Or is there some other test I have to pass? Am I suppose to understand what they don't tell me in the first place?

    You know what I'd like to complain about? I'd like to complain about the complaints about complainers.

    "where we compare the GDPs of our nation to other nations, and the spending power of our earnings compared to others. Not trying to get sentimental, but things could be ALOT worse! Most importantly, we chose this. Nobody put a gun to our head. I get that finding a job can be difficult. But if you're not happy, then do what you gotta do to get happy. Sorry to tell you, but blaming others for your circumstance is weak. Maybe you should start blaming the person in the mirror."

    Yes, certainly things could be worse. Things could always be economically worse if you compare Americans with the rest of the world's populace. You mentioned earning power; consider how much $100 bought 6 years ago, and how much it buys now. In another couple years? Then consider the fees Mueller charges the insurers. Do you think they don't change over 6 years? Or that they offer all these extras (photo tags, etc.) for free to all customers? True that we make more than burger flippers, but a 17-yr-old isn't going to be good at inspections; we should earn more. And who here is blaming Mueller for employing us? Those are the options we have over our circumstances: we work, or we don't. No all of us have no control over what they pay us, why would we blame ourselves for that? My point it, there have to be economic effects on the company to have so much employee disenfranchisement, even among those who like their jobs. High turnover, poor product. It could catch up with them, especially as the job market continues to improve.

    Haven't you righteous guys learned yet through reading this thread that there are 1000+ Mueller FRs out there, all doing the same job, all experiencing it differently? Who are you to judge others for being dissatisfied with aspects of the job? One person could be making twice as much as another for the time they put into it, doing the exact same thing. This is a combination of factors beyond our control (territory, types of risks, hazards and cases, insurer requirements ), our own methods and abilities, and the tools we have. More powerful/faster/higher tech means less time, but bigger investment. I'm not going to buy a tablet unless I know it will pay off within a few months.

    Concerning our pay, I think one should consider the importance of the job we perform, and how highly skilled it is. We are partly but also directly responsible for how much homeowners are going to pay in premiums. Our work, by identifying hazards, could save property or even lives. What we do is important, and it's quality is vital to the company.

    Speaking for myself, I didn't find it difficult to get through the hiring and training process either, but once I was in the field it was a different story. Houses have all kinds of peculiarities. Lots of stuff out there different or absent from what's learned in the online training. There was no field training when I was hired. I felt overwhelmed and isolated. You don't just have to know/learn about houses, you have to regularly use (simple) math, and it helps to have a good spatial aptitude. People and phone skills are good, organization, efficiency, ability to work independently, detail-oriented...this job is not for everyone. I think they lose a lot of people early on.

    The skills and our role in producing a quality product add up to employment that should have decent, fair compensation, especially when there are no benefits. I have no figure in mind, and I'm satisfied with my pay at the moment. But who wants to be making less and less indefinitely? That's what people don't like. In a job where efficiency is everything, there is no time to squeeze things in; if more demands are made, your time gets longer.

    But it's not all about money anyway, it's about how FRs perceive the company. Field managers aside, our interaction with Mueller, instead of making us feel that our job is important and that we are valued, is almost always about what we do wrong - and they do it consistently, endlessly (how many jobs are there that list and keep statistics on every little mistake you make? How many jobs will change your work to cause a mistake, and not give you opportunity to correct it?). We get no recognition, not even a Happy New Years mass email. Our masters are faceless, the whole company structure an enigma, we are but the interchangeable rivets holding it all together.

    When I say these things, it is for a reason. It's not a personal, it's about how I believe a lot of FRs feel, even if they don't think about it in such terms. I've talked to quite a few less publicly. For better or worse, I'm using my real name here, and have already gotten Mueller's attention drawn to me in this forum. But I think it's important for the brass to know what many FR's think, so they consider where they might cost-effectively improve their practices to make us all a little more loyal and willing to put the effort into doing the job well, and stay with it. It's good management.

    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. #276
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    Smile Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post

    But it's not all about money anyway, it's about how FRs perceive the company. Field managers aside, our interaction with Mueller, instead of making us feel that our job is important and that we are valued, is almost always about what we do wrong - and they do it consistently, endlessly (how many jobs are there that list and keep statistics on every little mistake you make? How many jobs will change your work to cause a mistake, and not give you opportunity to correct it?). We get no recognition, not even a Happy New Years mass email. Our masters are faceless, the whole company structure an enigma, we are but the interchangeable rivets holding it all together.

    When I say these things, it is for a reason. It's not a personal, it's about how I believe a lot of FRs feel, even if they don't think about it in such terms. I've talked to quite a few less publicly. For better or worse, I'm using my real name here, and have already gotten Mueller's attention drawn to me in this forum. But I think it's important for the brass to know what many FR's think, so they consider where they might cost-effectively improve their practices to make us all a little more loyal and willing to put the effort into doing the job well, and stay with it. It's good management.
    Kristi - I feel your pain, and its unfortunately par for the course when you're dealing with a privately owned industry monopoly that does a lot of things right, but has some serious flaws in its business model.

    I have picked up some of my revenue slack with smaller regionalized vendors, with fees averaging $15-$20 for simple exteriors, extra $ for extra photos, extra $ for each additional supplement on encounter, a fee for non-locates, missed appointments, gasoline surcharges to the client commensurate with local rates per gallon.

    These companies embrace the partnership between FR and Home Office.

    The way it should be....


  17. #277
    FrankEStein's Avatar
    FrankEStein Guest

    Default Hi everyone

    Hi everyone. I found this thread recently and have been checking out the postings now and then and thought I'd say hello. I started doing work for Mueller the beginning of this year and am still debating if the job is worth it or not, lol.


  18. #278
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hi Frank,
    Just curious...why is it taking 5 months to decide if a job is worth it? If you were still unsure after a couple of weeks, that would be one thing, but haven't you done a few hundred houses already?


  19. #279
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    Default Flat Rate Inspections:

    Knowing that most Mueller Reps are paid by the hour, I am interested in hearing from those who are given a flat rate when conducting inspections. Specifically how you handle the extras that Mueller has added to your inspection without any compensation. For example Brush Reports, Extra Photos, 3 day turnaround reports etc... that are added to your reports without any type of reimbursement. As an hourly employee I would assume that the extra time is added to the pay, however as a flat rate FR, you get the bottom line that is offered by Mueller.

    I ask the question due to the fact that other companies pay an additional fee for most of these items, however under the "Flat Rate" that Mueller is using it pays big dividends to Mueller while leaving the FR holding the bag.

    For example in the past an average 7 to 10 day turnaround time was given for certain reports. Currently those reports have been reduced to a 3 day turnaround. If you have an area that requires you to travel any distance, this means rather than taking one trip a week to accomplish the inspections, you are now taking two or more. As a result you are loosing any cost savings due to the extra time and gas that you have to expend.

    Love to hear how Flat Raters handle some of the cases assigned to them. Thanks


  20. #280
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    Cool Re: Flat Rate Inspections:

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Taylor View Post
    Knowing that most Mueller Reps are paid by the hour, I am interested in hearing from those who are given a flat rate when conducting inspections. Specifically how you handle the extras that Mueller has added to your inspection without any compensation. For example Brush Reports, Extra Photos, 3 day turnaround reports etc... that are added to your reports without any type of reimbursement. As an hourly employee I would assume that the extra time is added to the pay, however as a flat rate FR, you get the bottom line that is offered by Mueller.

    I ask the question due to the fact that other companies pay an additional fee for most of these items, however under the "Flat Rate" that Mueller is using it pays big dividends to Mueller while leaving the FR holding the bag.

    Love to hear how Flat Raters handle some of the cases assigned to them. Thanks
    There is no mutually-agreeable solution to the problem, unfortunately, no magic to make the situation less than what it is for the FR.

    My constant frustration-laden emails to Muell-Aid swilling management over the years regarding this very issue turned into thinly veiled sarcasm, ultimately creating an ever-widening gulf that resulted in a parting of the ways.

    The concept of the FR constantly being put in a position to reduce his / her margins so company principals could increase their own profits was an affront to my business acumen. This remains the most egregious of several flaws in the Mueller business model as I have alluded to in prior threads.

    Seems to me the only was this approach can be sustainable in the long haul is with "a field rep on every corner", which will create significant training, supervision, and product quality issues. And as the economy slowly improves, that same $10 per hour for the back office QC jobs will lure even less qualified candidates than on staff at present.

    When insurance underwriting clients eventually sign their contracts with quality competitors willing to embrace a more equitable profit-sharing partnership with their field force, quality, veteran inspectors like myself will be waiting in the wings as independent contractors on their payroll.


  21. #281
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I'm wondering if they're pinching the employment budget now because they're putting the money into expansion. They're opening (or have opened) a second office in Boise, and they seem to be taking a less point source management approach: I've now got a mgr within an hour, which is kind of heartening. They're spending more on training. There was no field component when I was trained. The first time I had anyone ostensibly training me (really it was to check up on the FRs), I'd been there a year.

    As to Robert's question: The only way the additional work could end up affecting how much we make per case is if we went below the base wage.

    I'm going to explain this idea thoroughly here just for those who are confused by past posts. This is how I'm paid, and I think it's pretty common, although others have different arrangements.

    Every finished case gets a flat fee. The fees are added for the week, then $0.40 for every mile driven subtracted from that (and added back at the end, untaxed). What's left is gross income.

    All minutes are scrupulously recorded and added over the course of a week. If the gross per hour worked is less than base wage, the company kicks in enough to make it up.

    This means that you can drive 100 miles and work 3 hours on an exterior, far below min. wage for that case, but if you make it up during the rest of the week you won't get paid extra for it (depending on your manager). And unless the extra requirements mean you work below your base wage, you don't get paid for the added time spent on them.


    I stumbled on a trio of ads on Craigslist calling for Mueller FRs here in MN, two in suburban counties, one more rural. The suburban ones were paid according to fees, and the rural was hourly. Makes sense.


     

    A question is for the strictly hourly workers: what about mistakes? You must be paid even when something goes wrong, which naturally it does sometimes. Are you hassled about it?


    A question for those who've worked at Mueller for a while: does anyone get the feeling QA is getting more picky, or observant or something? I've been looking at linked cases completed in the last few years, and they're full of carelessness and mistakes - mistakes that can be seen by looking at the photos. Yet they'll even point out imaginary mistakes in mine! Gotta be good to do that.

    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.

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

    Hi Kristi, I'm glad you are getting a new mgr. Hopefully more good things come your way. Re: your payroll comments, I dont want to discuss you nor I here specifically, so I guess this is rhetorical, but regardless of the amount of driving, arent wage people always on the clock? $.41 per hour is mileage, but if one is clocked in, they are getting paid whether they are sketching or driving. If they dont make the case fee, the Mueller contribution assures the fr they will get at least their base wage. Assuming that is true, knowing that no matter what comes down, one is being paid their base hourly wage for the hours they put in, the wage they agreed to when they accepted the position, what's the conflict?

    My base wage is $xx per hour. Some weeks, I exceed that by up to $4 more per hour by doing enough houses close together to have my case pay exceed the hourly. Some weeks, the hourly doesnt even make the case number, but the m contribution supplements that, assuring I get my minimum base wage. My income is either my agreed base, or more.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Kristi, I'm glad you are getting a new mgr. Hopefully more good things come your way. Re: your payroll comments, I dont want to discuss you nor I here specifically, so I guess this is rhetorical, but regardless of the amount of driving, arent wage people always on the clock? $.41 per hour is mileage, but if one is clocked in, they are getting paid whether they are sketching or driving. If they dont make the case fee, the Mueller contribution assures the fr they will get at least their base wage. Assuming that is true, knowing that no matter what comes down, one is being paid their base hourly wage for the hours they put in, the wage they agreed to when they accepted the position, what's the conflict?

    My base wage is $xx per hour. Some weeks, I exceed that by up to $4 more per hour by doing enough houses close together to have my case pay exceed the hourly. Some weeks, the hourly doesnt even make the case number, but the m contribution supplements that, assuring I get my minimum base wage. My income is either my agreed base, or more.


  23. #283
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I'm not sure what you mean by conflict. As I said, people have different agreements, though yours is similar to the one I work under. I don't get paid for mileage (which I believe is $0.40 [or 0.41?] per mile driven, not an hourly addition). That can add up. I never agreed to any base wage because it was never discussed with me, not when I was hired and not when it was lowered by $2/hr. (I don't understand why, but some weeks I made less than my "base wage.") Yes, times are reported and normally I make more than my base wage through my cases. An example: for a minute, to simplify things, say I always make more than my base wage through my fees - we can ignore that aspect. Under normal circumstances I do 10 cases in 10 hours and make $200 (just an example, remember). But say one of those cases is very hard to find, and 3 start asking for roof photos and photo labels, so that it takes me 15 hours to do those same ten cases. Through no fault of my own, the income I make for the time I put in drops from $20/hr to $13/hr. This is not the same as a straight hourly wage, in which someone would get $X/hr. regardless of how long it took or what the case fees are. Is this the conflict (difference) you're talking about? I guess I don't understand.

    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. #284
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    To me the epitome of the absurdness that is the Mueller pay structure is the Lender surveys. They pay $6 for one of those. Let's think about this for a moment - a basic occupancy verification also pays $6 - supposedly (see my previous post about this not even being true), all you have to do for an occupancy verification is find out if anyone is living there - knock on the door, take a walk around the outside, grab a few pictures, and be done.

    For the lender surveys you still have to walk around the outside, take all those same exterior pictures, but then you also have to open a lockbox, go inside, and photograph every single room, as well as photograph everything inside and out that is wrong with the house, and fill out more forms. Yet, for some reason, both of those pay the same.

    Either we are meant to believe that they should both take the same amount of time (which will never happen, as you have to do interior and exterior for the lenders), Mueller's sales staff are incapable of making a sale that will make a profit while not throwing FR's under the bus, or Mueller is making a killing on these by paying their staff next to nothing (for the time involved). It must be either the second or third option - both of which involve screwing over field staff.

    Again (before Carlos jumps on me for this), I understand that if someone is not happy with their pay, they are free to leave and find other opportunities. That's not what I'm trying to get at here - I'm merely pointing out the odd discrepancies in the pay structure (commercial surveys would be another post entirely!), and the way that this company seems to drive so hard at the bottom line, regardless of the way their staff feel (we could also get into how they give zero raises despite quality or quantity of work, or even taking inflation into account).


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

    Even more absurd is that an Exterior (No Diagram or R/C) pays $13. The Occupancy Verification is the same thing as an exterior but only pays $6. Soon there won't be any Exterior (No Diagram or R/C)'s because they'll figure out that they can get the same thing for $6.

    These days, if I get an Occupancy Verification, I knock on the door, look in the window, check the meter, photo the front and back and that's it. No hazard photos because if they want a full exterior, they need to request a full exterior and pay for it, plain and simple.

    Then there's the Exterior (Diagram and R/C) where you now have to take measurements and do a diagram and a replacement cost calculation, and for all that extra work you get all of $2 more.

    I get a lot of $1,300,000 Exterior (Diagram and R/C)'s where just measuring the house can take 20 minutes and another 20+ minutes for the diagram.

    By the way Joseph, don't worry about Carlos. He's obviously Mueller Management sent to do damage control.

    3, 2, 1, GO! .........counting the minutes before Carlos comes to tell us how wrong we are.....


  26. #286
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Dalessio View Post
    ......Mueller's sales staff are incapable of making a sale that will make a profit while not throwing FR's under the bus, or Mueller is making a killing on these by paying their staff next to nothing (for the time involved). It must be either the second or third option - both of which involve screwing over field staff.

    Again (before Carlos jumps on me for this), I understand that if someone is not happy with their pay, they are free to leave and find other opportunities. That's not what I'm trying to get at here - I'm merely pointing out the odd discrepancies in the pay structure (commercial surveys would be another post entirely!), and the way that this company seems to drive so hard at the bottom line, regardless of the way their staff feel (we could also get into how they give zero raises despite quality or quantity of work, or even taking inflation into account).
    After 14,000+ surveys over 6 years, I'm forced to presume that Mueller sales force / account managers have NEVER worked in the field, as it would be inhuman to have any degree of field experience yet be complicit w/ current rate structures and lack of fees despite service increases.

    Time and again, I brought to attention of management the "abuse" of contracted services by the clients ordering $13 exteriors on multi-million $ homes with elaborate footprints. On occasion, I was provided with a $5 fee increase on these to offset the 1+ hours expended. Net pay after travel and time was probably $12-13...which Mueller management would argue is GOOD MONEY. I had dialogue with a regional supervisor and almost had a stroke when he intimated that $20/hr was "good money." This is when I started to get handle on the perspective of those who choose to swill the Muell-aid. $40K annually is NOT "good money" in most of the Western hemisphere, unless you are 24 yrs old.

    With this myopic view of the economic realities we are all facing, the egregious lack of equity and fairness starts to make a lot of sense.


  27. #287
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Wow lender surveys only pay $6?! That is crazy! What are they thinking? I haven't gotten any yet, and now I'm glad.

    Roadie seems to get higher-than-average fees. I knew some do - is it according to cost of living, or low density areas with more driving? How do you get away with not dealing with hazards? I would think QA would get on your case.

    My pet peeve lately is "lifting" shingles on roofs. Evidently a few shingles that have edges a 1/4" higher than the rest makes the roof a hazard. That's ridiculous. There isn't a perfect roof out there. A brand new roof will be worse than that before it's had a chance to heat. So we then have to take extra photos and often label them, all so the underwriter can look at the photos and say it's ridiculous, or have the poor homeowner pay the price in higher premiums. Lifting shingles isn't even described in the exterior training module as a hazard.

    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.

  28. #288
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    Default Inaccuracies

    Im baffled at all of the inaccuracies I read about Mueller in this forum. This is a 50/50 blame on the management not expressing to the FRs the expectations/ correct data and the FRs for not asking management questions and addressing concerns.

    LPS cases requiring interior access are not the same pay as Occupancy surveys. LPS surveys requiring interior access and additional photos are the same compensation as an Exterior Diagram. If it is not, I would discuss with your Manager.

    The LPS Occupancy surveys are exactly that - occupancy checks. You don't even have to get out of your vehicle if the home appears occupied. Take 3 photos and your on your way. If it is unoccupied, verify by knocking on the door and take 5-7 photos. These surveys take no more than 5 minutes. The original fee was lower than I liked and I spoke to my Manager about matching the Occupancy Verification surveys case fees.

    An Exterior No Diagram takes 5 minutes as well. Again, these are treated identical to Occupancy surveys. Knock on the door to verify occupancy, check for hazards, and your on your way.

    More than likely you were hired as a part time employee. This seems to be the vast trend. You should not expect to make $30k or $40k a year working part time. Are you kidding me- $20/hour part time IS good money regardless of your age. This position does not require a 4-year degree (yes, I have one). List another position where you can make $20+/hour part time and create your own work schedule without higher education.

    This position is not difficult: simply look for items listed on the Mueller Hazards Guideline, take basic photos, ask interview questions, and draw a footprint of the home. You should not expect your pay to be as high as an Appraiser or Home Inspector as our reports are not that detailed and require a lower skill set.

    If you are part time and out in the field more than 3x a week, again, you aren't maximizing your income. I average 25-30 hours/week with approximately 40% of my workload being appointments. I rarely am in the field more than 3 days.

    The company does give raises. In my scenario my stats were inline or exceeded some of the expectations of the company. I imagine this played a large factor. If your stats do not support a raise, I doubt you will get one. In my previous employment positions, I have not worked for a company who would call me up out of the blue and give me a raise. I wouldn't expect Mueller to do so; if you do not ask, you will not receive.

    Routing your week efficiently will maximize your income. If you struggle with routing or scheduling appointments effectively, you will not make as much as you could. Often I schedule my appts a week out to get more in the area. If I do not have any cases in a particular area I'm traveling to, I ask my Manager to check for more in that area before traveling. Majority of the time, I end up with additional cases this way and maximize my time. We receive ample time to complete these surveys and should utilize the entire time frame to maximize our schedule.

    My Current and previous Managers all had field experience. It is inaccurate and uneducated to state they do not understand the position of a FR.

    Positive things I have seen lately to make us better FRs and a better company:
    -More positive email communication from my Manager
    -Field training. Recently, I went out for a day with a local trainer. I picked up good tips from our day together such as marking 4 feet from the bottom of my measuring wheel up so I could easily measure drop off hazards instead of using a measuring tape.

    Things I would like to see improved:
    -Would like to meet with my actual Manager although she is many States away.
    -Quicker QA processing. Seems to be extremely slow as of lately for surveys to be completed or rejected.
    -Condensed forms/tickets

    It may be perceived Carlos works for Mueller Management (maybe??) because he is a satisfied employee. Majority of the time, unsatisfied employees are the ones who make the loudest noise and tend to flock together.

    I would like to see more ideas shared on this site of how to improve as FRs.- which is why I originally sought out this site. If anyone has cheat sheets or tips (such as the measuring wheel tip above), please share!

    Last edited by Current FR; 06-12-2013 at 11:20 PM.

  29. #289
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    Default Re: Inaccuracies

    Quote Originally Posted by Current FR View Post
    LPS cases requiring interior access are not the same pay as Occupancy surveys. LPS surveys requiring interior access and additional photos are the same compensation as an Exterior Diagram. If it is not, I would discuss with your Manager.
    I can assure you, I received $6 for an interior LPS. I'm thinking it's not just a mistake that they gave that.
    An Exterior No Diagram takes 5 minutes as well. Again, these are treated identical to Occupancy surveys. Knock on the door to verify occupancy, check for hazards, and your on your way.
    And yet we receive half as much for the occupancy.


  30. #290
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    While I am not an employee of them I do have a little info directly from them as far os some of their policies.

    "Description:

    Inspectors are expected to be professional, organized and motivated individuals. Each inspector is responsible for making their own schedule and completing reports in the time line given. Reports consist of having to take photographs, measurements, and observations regarding the condition of homes. After a report is completed in the field the photographs and measurements are submitted online. Inspectors are expected to schedule appointments between other non-appointment cases and map out their route as efficiently as possible. During the average day an inspector will complete 5 to 15 reports in the field over the course of 4 to 8 hours. Within 24 hours the reports must be submitted with the appropriate photos and information. Driving is a large aspect of this position. You must be willing to travel to all parts of your territory.

    Training:

    The paid training program consists of independent reading, self administered tests, and web conference training sessions. All training is paid at $10/hour. Once training is completed your pay will average what was listed in the job advertisement.

    On average the training takes between 40 to 50 hours which is expected to be completed within a 2 week time frame. At the conclusion of training you will be required to complete 3 sample reports. You must have 3 houses (yours, friends, families or neighbors) that you are able to go to more than once to complete the sample reports. If you do not have 3 houses available then you will not be able to complete the training. Upon accurate completion of these sample reports the inspector will be assigned a manager and will begin receiving live reports.

    Compensation:

    Mueller pays on a weekly basis for all completed cases. Direct deposit is strongly encouraged to ensure that you receive your pay in a timely manner. As we are located in Western New York, a check could take many days to reach someone in another part of the country.

    We DO NOT pay mileage in addition to your fees. Mueller only pays a flat fee (or piece rate) for each report that is fully completed and submitted via Mueller’s website. The fees are designed to include both pay and business expenses. Fees are based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, report type, distance from a field representative’s location, and workload. The fees are determined and maintained by the manager. Averages will be discussed during your interview. These fees will depend on the inspector's personal efficiency, work territory and performance.

    Inspectors are asked to report the miles traveled and work time spent for every completed report. We multiply the miles traveled by a mileage rate of $.40 to produce a mileage expense sum. The mileage portion of the total fees is paid to you in the same paycheck, but is not subject to taxation."

    Flat fee would be fine, but don't call it an "Hourly wage" Of course that would mean that you would have to have 1099 it.

    I may try them out and see how they are. The $10 for training is a bit low. and it really would depend on what they are giving as a Flat fee


  31. #291
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    All that sounds very familiar except the last paragraph. This was of particular interest to me:

    "'Fees are based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, report type, distance from a field representative’s location, and workload. The fees are determined and maintained by the manager.'"

    So indeed the fees are determined by the managers! There was plenty of evidence for it, but I'd never seen it in writing (in a Mueller document).

    "Flat fee would be fine, but don't call it an "Hourly wage" Of course that would mean that you would have to have 1099 it" (New PT Ins Insp)

    1099 would be for independent contractors, but most Mueller FRs are employees. Our income is reported on W-2s as wages, and pay stubs show an hourly wage. It's a strange, convoluted system. When FRs talk about their hourly earnings, often they are using it as a method of comparison. If job hunting, for example, it makes no sense to compare one job that pays $15/hr. and another that pays $26/case. Because we (ostensibly) record our times spent working, converting the fee-based wages to an hourly average is straightforward.


    Current FR: You are making the mistake so many others have made (including me): you assume that your experience reflects everybody else's. This is simply untrue, for reasons I've already outlined. The information about managers determining fees shows that it's not Mueller as a whole that gives raises. Many organizations do have policies in place that determine when and under what circumstances raises are given; this eliminates the potential for bias and corruption at the managerial level. We are at the mercy of whatever manager we happen to get, and in some cases a change in manager can mean a decrease in income. You should consider yourself lucky.

    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. #292
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Current FR: You are making the mistake so many others have made (including me): you assume that your experience reflects everybody else's. This is simply untrue, for reasons I've already outlined. The information about managers determining fees shows that it's not Mueller as a whole that gives raises. Many organizations do have policies in place that determine when and under what circumstances raises are given; this eliminates the potential for bias and corruption at the managerial level. We are at the mercy of whatever manager we happen to get, and in some cases a change in manager can mean a decrease in income. You should consider yourself lucky.
    I'm sure Mueller sr management has protocols on the RANGES of acceptable fees for the report types. The Regional Managers are provided an operating "budget" for their areas, the performance which determines a significant part of their income. Thus, they are paid based on the profitability of their region which creates an obvious conflict of interest with the very fees they are allowing each FR. The Mgr's salary and expenses as well as some allocated Home Office Overhead (how do we think the $10/hr QA reps are paid?) need to be offset by the margins on the inspections before the breakeven point. Thus, for example, if gross revenue for Mueller is $40 on an Exterior, the $27 profit offsets the overhead expenses and provides profit allowance, at the expense of the lowly FR who has earned a mere $13 for the same survey for the past 8 years, while making all this possible.


    Gosh, to which side to you think they prefer to keep the scales tipped?!


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    Thumbs down Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Kristi .... My point of Hourly -> Flat rate is that that is a Pure LIE to say that they pay "Hourly " as they do not. as that would change every week.

    They pay by the Piece work, period. So don't call it one thing if it is truly another thing.

    I know what a 1099 is, that is for and IC.

    Well I did the Telephone Interview... but it really was NOT that. He could not answer ANY of my questions and said that would be something the area manager would go over. Had no idea what my "area" would be either.
    He just asked me all sorts of questions that I could have done on line instead of making me call between 9a-Noon !!! ah, hello I do work. it was a waste of a 1/2 hour.
    How many hours a day could you work, how often do you check e-mails(all day long, I am at a computer), do you have a smartphone (i do not)
    He asked me if I would be able to Haul and use a 10 foot (or maybe it was 20 foot) Ladder . I said NO. I am guessing that they want to pay pennies for an Appraisers work. And that is NOT on the ad !

    The e-mail said that there was nothing open in my area. and to reapply in 6 months .
    I am not sure what they are looking for.

    Anyone else know a company in the Massachusetts area ?
    Or maybe a Library book or free online class for this type of job ?

    I was planning on doing their free classes and then also apply to other companies


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    Thumbs up Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    double post


  35. #295
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    "Kristi .... My point of Hourly -> Flat rate is that that is a Pure LIE to say that they pay "Hourly " as they do not. as that would change every week.

    They pay by the Piece work, period. So don't call it one thing if it is truly another thing."

    PT Ins Insp: I hope you aren't calling me a liar. What makes you think you know so much about the company? Some people are paid an hourly wage. Most aren't. I never said everyone was. But even those paid flat fees do talk about how much they make an hour, on average.

    To my knowledge, Mueller doesn't do appraisals, if what you mean by appraisal is an estimate of market value.

    Lots of luck with the job search.

    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.

  36. #296
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Take a Chill.
    I am not calling you a LIAR. Re read what I originally wrote, I am talking about the Company, not you personally.


    They told me they pay Hourly, but they pay by the piece ... So you can't say they pay an hourly wage but get paid different hourly wages each day .... get what i am saying ????

    Sorry I did say Appraisals, my mistake.

    I guess my point of the Ladder would be ... if you want a HOME INSPECTION, then hire one.... that is now what they are looking for. Or at least that is my understanding.
    A Home Inspection, by a LIC Inspector is a $450 job. no way am I getting on a ladder for pennies... see what I am saying ?

    I still would love to do this job. I have the perfect setup for it.
    Too bad.


  37. #297
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Since you directly quote Mueller saying they pay a flat fee per case, what else are we to think but that you are talking about the way pay is discussed in the forum? There isn't anything in your post suggesting you're talking about what Mueller is saying. The ads say an average hourly rate. How else are they supposed to put it? "$26/case" means nothing to someone who doesn't know how long a case may take. And the case rates vary. I don't think they want current FRs knowing some are getting more per case than others.

    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.

  38. #298
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Mueller has reached out to me to interview for the FR position in AZ. Before I get involved in the whole process with them, I just want to find out if being a 1099 IC is an option with them. I have read several posts on here that say that for the most part, they are W-2 Employees. For the most part would indicate that there are exceptions, but I haven't seen anyone clearly state that there are cases where there are 1099 IC opportunities are available.


  39. #299
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    When I started about 20 months ago there were ICs, but I don't know if that's now the case. At any rate, you should really ask them if it's an option, not us. Even if there are ICs, they might want an employee in your area, for whatever reason.

    Interesting that they "reached out" to you! I wonder how they found 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.

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

    Is this an In person interview or the "telephone" interview ?
    I was told there was just the Telephone interview.
    When I had the Telephone Int, they guy could not answer ANY of my questions. Even the most simple.
    It was just a pre-script of questions.
    GL

    Let us know how it goes.


  41. #301
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Kristi, I may have worded it in a way to make you believe something other than what I meant. What I meant by "reached out to me" was that I had planted a seed with them previously, and they have now reached out by replying to me. I'm just hoping that they can work with me in an IC mode, because I don't think I'm really interested in being an employee for anyone at this point. Thanks for the response!


  42. #302
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I see.

    PT Ins Insp - did they tell you at one point they paid hourly, then at a different one that they paid flat fees? I just remembered something. At few weeks ago I saw three ads on Craigslist for Mueller FRs in MN. Two of them said flat rate, and the third, which was more rural, said an hourly wage. So they do in some cases pay an hourly. I'm pretty sure there has been someone posting here who says they get an hourly wage, and I was offered an hourly rather than the flat fee earlier this year. It's possible your recruiter (interviewer) didn't know what the ad you responded to said, or something. He/she also wouldn't know your territory, as your manager would have to work that out after you were hired based on where you live and the other FRs around you. Even your pay would be worked out with by manager, not the recruiters. The ladder question could be standard, just so they know whether you might be able to do roof inspections, which is a specialized type of inspection that most FRs don't do. There are a bunch of different kinds of inspections.

    These recruiters are based in NY, and most of what they do is interview. They have their list of questions to get through and try to work as quickly as possible. Mueller is all about speed. Once they decide they want you, they will answer your questions - well, some of them.

    .............................
    Things are changing. They just inaugurated a monthly newsletter, which includes a way for FRs to ask questions, offer tips, and make comments. It's a good thing, and long overdue, but better late than never. I have to hand it to them, they are trying to make improvements on many fronts.

    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.

  43. #303
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Hello Fellow Mueller Reps! I stumbled onto this forum...not sure how but here I am. I was actually doing some online research into what the current advertised pay rate was for Mueller FR's in different markets. I have been a part time employee rep for nearly 3 years and questioning why, despite my increasing skill level in accomplishing my surveys, I am unable to coax a higher hourly pay rate from Mueller. After reading through the many postings on this forum I am learning that Mueller apparently has quite diverse employment and contracting arrangements depending on locale. I am considered rural, often putting on up to 650 miles a week. This means that regardless of my efficiency in completing the various types of surveys there is no way that efficiency will enable me to earn more than the set rate at which I was hired. Enjoy the work but think I am worth a lot more than I am being paid.


  44. #304
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Would like to share my experience working for Mueller as an IC; no longer with the company. For legal purposes, I will not name any employees or persons currently with Mueller, or no longer with the company. There will be those here, posting on this forum that will insinuate I am a disgruntled employee looking to take free shots at Mueller- this is not the case. Just want to share my experiences with everyone, both good and bad.

    I was taken on initially as an IC; not sure if Mueller still hires IC's. From an experience standpoint- I have done contract work for several companies, and have probably completed at least 10,000 individual field reports of all shapes and sizes: basic exteriors, exteriors with diagrams, full interiors, many HVR's (in the 3+million range in NY/NJ/CT), commercials, etc. I didn't come to work for Mueller "green" as they say.

    That being said- I found many helpful managers, and district/area heads who were always willing to go out of their way to assist the FR's. Anyone that has done this type of work will know, there are always issues that arise in the field- and usually, the FR wants to get them taken care of that day, while they are in the area- so they don't have to come back. I always found that most of the time, the managers and district/area heads were willing to assist right away- as best they could (FR's will know things like wrong addresses, wrong phone numbers, policies that have been cancelled that the FR doesn't know about, new risks that the FR cannot locate due to the subdivision/risk not coming up on the GPS, etc.- ALL of these things have happened to every FR at one time or another). Regarding the issue of fees being paid- to keep the long story short as they say- if a FR is working in an area they are somewhat familiar with, with cases not too spread out (I realize this isn't always true out West, or Mid-West, or in very rural areas)- and the volume of work is there, yes- a FR can make a decent supplemental income doing this. Of course, that also requires better than average computer skills (no, you don't need to know how to program a NASA rocket to do this work). Which leads me to my next point- issues.

    All FR's at one point or another will go through the requires online seminars, which are usually run by the QA heads. QA, for those not familiar with them- they are the people reviewing the cases that the FR's submit. Generally they are reviewing the cases, and garnering their information predominantly by looking at the photos the FR's submits. Anyone that has downloaded a photo knows that the lower quality (megapixel) a photo is, the harder it becomes to see detail in that photo- and the details, or hazards that are present in a photo is what QA is looking for. Depending on what the extent of the hazard is (water on the floor next to a furnace, buckled roof, aggressive dog, etc.) some insurance companies can actually cancel someone's policy.

    The main issue I had while with Mueller (I am positive someone will weigh in on this) is that there were many times QA would reject a case that I submitted, when there was no hazard present. I have spoken to current and past employees regarding this- and every single one of them is in agreement on this. I have had QA reject a case where there is a very large tree- clearly in the background of the photo, no where near the risk in question- because they've assumed the tree branches are "over" the risk. I've also had a manager side with QA because I questioned a rejection; the rejection was a plastic bucket (drip bucket) near the furnace. This bucket according to the manager was "combustible". Not true, by itself; if there were a gas can next to it, maybe. QA seems to have a "quota" to meet, and regardless of how perfect I, or other FR's thought their reports were- some were always rejected.

    Last, and largest issue I had- with a manager (who is no longer a manager). One would assume a manager would, and should know more than QA, and the Field Representatives. One could be wrong on that, big-time. While working a very large risk (5000+SF), I diagrammed the very elaborate layout to perfection. After submitting the case- it was rejected due to QA stating the diagram was wrong. I contacted my manager- and pointed out to him/her that according to Mueller's own website- and the tutorial for diagramming and the rules on that- my diagram was accurate, and QA was indeed wrong. Manager said they would check on it, so I resubmitted the case with a note to QA- specifically pointing out to them where to find the diagramming rules, and the reason my diagram was accurate. Case came back again- rejected with the standard lines of "please contact your manager if you do not understand how to correct the issue".

    After more than 2 months- and not being paid for this report- my manager (who was now no longer a regional manager) contacted me, and stated "Yes. You were correct, I am sorry".
    That's it. To this day, the tutorial on the Mueller site has not been changed/corrected, so any new FR's that go through the training- and follow Mueller's guidelines/standards on how to diagram a risk- prepare to have your cases rejected.

    In summary- no, though it may sound like it- I do not harbor any ill will towards Mueller. I do appreciate the opportunity they gave me, but just wanted to point out my experiences with them.

    - - - Updated - - -


  45. #305
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    What was the diagramming disagreement, for future reference? I've had some of those myself. Some situations aren't addressed by the training at all.

    I've had several instances of QA changing the siding type. Sometimes they call it an error, sometimes they don't and I only find out they've done so when they send it back about an unrelated error. It makes me wonder how often they've changed the siding type without my knowledge. The training modules are outdated and incomplete.

    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.

  46. #306
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    What was the diagramming disagreement, for future reference? I've had some of those myself. Some situations aren't addressed by the training at all.

    I've had several instances of QA changing the siding type. Sometimes they call it an error, sometimes they don't and I only find out they've done so when they send it back about an unrelated error. It makes me wonder how often they've changed the siding type without my knowledge. The training modules are outdated and incomplete.
    If you inbox me I will elaborate. Do not want to get into this further here for fear of legal repercussions, hope you understand


  47. #307
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I believe that anyone working for Mueller has had multiple experiences with QA that raise the eyebrow now and then. For example I conducted a survey on a risk and I could not enter the rear yard due to 2 extremely aggressive pit bulls that wanted an early lunch. Luckily there was a chain link fence where I could get an angle shot of the rear section, however not a full and complete shot showing the entire section. I noted in the narrative that access could not be gained due to the dogs and no one being home. QA returned report stating that I needed a better photo and to enter the yard to obtain the photo: Needless to say it was sent back to QA again describing in detail the reason I was unable to do what they wanted. Now two returns from QA affect your monthly percentage when QA had already been informed of the reason.

    The other thing that is extremely aggravating is Muellers way of docking you on Allstate Urban cases. You are given 3 days to get the inspection done (which is one of the shortest in the industry). When you turn in your assignment on time, QA has an additional 3 days to review the case. If for some reason QA returns the case, then you are docked showing that it was not turned in on time, despite the fact the case was submitted within the guidelines that you have been given.

    I think it is fair to say that QA and pay are the two biggest issues that affect those who work with Mueller.


  48. #308
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Taylor View Post
    I think it is fair to say that QA and pay are the two biggest issues that affect those who work with Mueller.
    Don't get me going on the QA anecdotes!

    - I have some territory in semi-rural areas. My stock comment is "No hydrants in area. Fires handled by tanker trucks..." The QA rejected with the comment: "...Photos of alternative water source needed..." mmmOKaaayyyyy

    - A large % of my rejections for for 'missing address verification photos', even though the report was of the interior / HVD variety, where it was clear I spent considerably time INSIDE the insured's house.

    - I endured several 'rogue' QA reps during my tenure, who were allowed to remain employed YEARS after I brought serious concerns to management, including fabricating guidelines for case rejection (e.g. front/rear photos needed on outbuildings), insisting I recontact a policyholder to arrange a second search for water supply line in 200 yr old house with no basement lighting, and constant rejections insisting I return to a property to take separate photo of gate lock prohibiting yard access. It was only after an embarrassing email chain that the QA rep initiated the day he was dragged out that management communicated back to me and apologized for the unprofessional behavior...(that I had endured for 4 yrs +/- already)

    - Many archived reports attached to a new request showed egregious seams in the QA process, with obvious hazards completely missed,

    QA reps are $10/hr, untrained clerical staff, going through client-specific checklists, never having set foot on an insureds property. I sarcastically offered to provide "common sense' webinars to the QA staff over the years, politely declined by whatever management at the time. QA have their own rejection statistics just like the field staff, and are graded accordingly. Thus, a QA rep beefing up his/her percentages is in direct conflict with the FR trying to keep his rejection percentages down.

    Let's face it, conceptually, the QA process is for everyone's benefit, no doubt about it. Like most things Mueller-related, its the execution that's seriously lacking.


  49. #309
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Good day Inspectors! I was asked by Mueller Inspections to train online, for lease vehicle inspections. After, completing the training, I was advised that Mueller would compensate me $20.00 per inspection, Oh Brother!! I replied. I told them that at $40.00 an inspection it might be equitable, no deal. Not surprised either. Mueller can only be described as VERY GREEDY, do you agree?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Good day Inspectors! I was asked by Mueller Inspections to train online, for lease vehicle inspections. After, completing the training, I was advised that Mueller would compensate me $20.00 per inspection, Oh Brother!! I replied. I told them that at $40.00 an inspection it might be equitable, no deal. Not surprised either. Mueller can only be described as VERY GREEDY, do you agree?


  50. #310
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by George Navarro View Post
    - - - Updated - - -

    Good day Inspectors! I was asked by Mueller Inspections to train online, for lease vehicle inspections. After, completing the training, I was advised that Mueller would compensate me $20.00 per inspection, Oh Brother!! I replied. I told them that at $40.00 an inspection it might be equitable, no deal. Not surprised either. Mueller can only be described as VERY GREEDY, do you agree?
    Not sure if it is so much greed as it is an outrageous disconnect from the economic realities for the 2013 field rep. I knew the end was near for me when a Regional Supervisor blurted out that $20 an hour was 'good money'....like Ive said before, maybe in Albany NY it is, but not in CT, and not in most of this great country I'm sure.

    Is it better than min wage? Yes. Is it better than fast food wages? Yes.

    But for a seasoned professional with a mortgage, a run rate equating to $41K a year is disassociated from sensibility. I refuse to work for hourly wages with any of my accounts. My effective gross hourly rate based on flat fees in relatively dense suburban settings: $90 /hr. Enough said.


  51. #311
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I must say the more time that I put into the field with Mueller, the more I see a lack of professionalism on the part of some of the QA, training and some supervision. I have had a number of incidents where Mueller hourly employees had made outrageous claims that were totally untrue. I find frequently they will jump to conclusion and make statements that cannot be supported by facts. When the goods are out on the table and you show their assumptions were wrong, you never get an apology, or we messed up, sorry about how this was handled etc...

    If a FR were to treat the clients the way Mueller treats the FRs on various issues, I am sure that your supervisor would remove you immediately by stating it is a requirement that you maintain professionalism at all times in the field. Wouldn't it be nice to have it going both ways. Wouldn't it be nice if your supervisor would take serious input about the fees that you are being paid and relate those to management. How long has it been since you as a FR have seen a cost of living increase. Gas is nearly at 4.00 a gallon and the wages have not increased to absorb the cost associated with this.

    I can equate the Field Reps with the local paper boy. If the presses break down the carrier gets an ear full why the paper is late. If the customer fails to remove his paper from his porch when it was delivered dry and leaves the paper out for several days and then rains, its the paperboy who gets the complaint. If the paperboy has a 100 percent delivery rate and never misses a customer, however some greedy neighbor steals the paper, the carrier gets the complaint and probably will not get a tip at Christmas.

    I work with several other companies and have excellent relationships with each of them. Mueller is the only one that is so anal retentive that makes the job so much more difficult.


  52. #312
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    I would be curious to hear (via private message) some of the other companies people here are doing work for. I would certainly be interested in seeing if they had openings, and finding out what sort of compensation they offer. Some of the companies I have looked into seem to offer very similar rates to Mueller, and I'm wondering if I'm just looking in the wrong places. Would be much appreciated!


  53. #313
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    No one here has mentioned a monthly statistical review, so I'm guessing it's a trial thing in my area. You can PM me if you want more info.

    Anyway, I have a few questions for everyone, and I'd be much obliged if some of you might humor me with honest answers..

    I'd like to know more about people's reporting habits. My case times average 132% of the standard for the type (occ. ver. = 16 min., ext. no diag.= 16, ext. =30, int/ext =45, HV =90) and I wonder why. I report hazards in 67% of my cases, and that makes a difference, but not that much.

    Do you report every minute of desk time? That would include not only data entry, phone calls, mapping, etc., but also purchasing equipment and supplies, communicating with manager and QA, any online research (I don't know how much others do, but I do quite a lot on my own time just because I'm curious), sharpening pencils, anything related to the job.

    And would you count stopping for gas in drive time? How many of you just accept the Google ideals?

    Those of you writing anonymously (or not!) - do you estimate distances when sketching a risk? How long? I'm not interested in how many people bend the rules, but in how those with more experience are able to cut their times. I estimate up to about 5', having ascertained that I can do it reliably, but with experience that will change.

    Do the times (16/16/30/45/90) seem reasonable?

    And you could please remind me how long you've been an FR?

    I appreciate any input you all have!


    *Oh, and this is an unrelated question: can anybody recommend a good camera for the job, something in the $200-350 range? Wide angle, good zoom, quick on and quick photos, sturdy?

    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.

  54. #314
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    No one here has mentioned a monthly statistical review, so I'm guessing it's a trial thing in my area. You can PM me if you want more info.

    Anyway, I have a few questions for everyone, and I'd be much obliged if some of you might humor me with honest answers..

    I'd like to know more about people's reporting habits. My case times average 132% of the standard for the type (occ. ver. = 16 min., ext. no diag.= 16, ext. =30, int/ext =45, HV =90) and I wonder why. I report hazards in 67% of my cases, and that makes a difference, but not that much.

    Do you report every minute of desk time? That would include not only data entry, phone calls, mapping, etc., but also purchasing equipment and supplies, communicating with manager and QA, any online research (I don't know how much others do, but I do quite a lot on my own time just because I'm curious), sharpening pencils, anything related to the job.

    And would you count stopping for gas in drive time? How many of you just accept the Google ideals?

    Those of you writing anonymously (or not!) - do you estimate distances when sketching a risk? How long? I'm not interested in how many people bend the rules, but in how those with more experience are able to cut their times. I estimate up to about 5', having ascertained that I can do it reliably, but with experience that will change.

    Do the times (16/16/30/45/90) seem reasonable?

    And you could please remind me how long you've been an FR?

    I appreciate any input you all have!


    *Oh, and this is an unrelated question: can anybody recommend a good camera for the job, something in the $200-350 range? Wide angle, good zoom, quick on and quick photos, sturdy?
    I report every minute - time printing, mapping, phone calls, etc. I also include time stopping for gas. I rarely estimate distances - maybe if it's 3' or less I will, other than that, I just measure it. I think the times (16/16/30/45/90) varies from a little bit optimistic to wildly unrealistic (are those times on site + desk time?). I don't know where you found your stats, but I just went through my last weeks payroll and calculated a few by hand ( all are on site+drive+desk) - ext no diag were taking roughly 25 minutes, ext and diag were taking about 38, and int/ext about 68.

    I've been doing this a bit over 5 years, and I'm sure my times vary quite a bit week by week, depending on how far I need to drive.


  55. #315
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Dalessio View Post
    I've been doing this a bit over 5 years, and I'm sure my times vary quite a bit week by week, depending on how far I need to drive.
    You guys are killing me! I've never been 'hourly' so can only estimate my times, but in a lot of the dense suburban areas in my territory, I can easily get to 6-8 exteriors an hour, just street and travel time. I always admin time at additional 40-50% of street time, so the total for 6-8 exteriors is pushing 1.5 hours in these locales. If you rough an exterior at $15 each (non Mueller rates!), I'm grossing in the range of $50-$70 per hour, excludes expenses and gas. You can see why a lot of my posts have regarded no pay increases over years and years of service. Obviously, appointment based surveys take longer to complete, and fees are higher, but generally, the exterior onlys have higher profit margins. I do have some less suburban territory where I can only get to 4 per hour, less profitable, but still reasonable.

    Some of my vendors order condition checks which entail quick walk around, couple photos... done. The admin on these is merely uploading, fill out a quick form...maybe 2 minutes each. High profitability, again non-Mueller work.

    Biggest short cut I can suggest is using local tax records for risk diagrams, but you need a comfort level the local assessor is reasonably accurate - not always the case! For towns without online records, measuring wheel is the standard. Also need to be aware of additions not yet records locally. The industry underwriting clients generally have up to a 10% +/- allowable range on diagram accuracy, a point which is NOT communicated to the field rep.

    I am in process of utilizing sophisticated laser technology to measure houses at behest of one of my business peers; supposedly can measure a standard house in seconds. I have to train myself the next opportunity I get, will pass along my findings!


  56. #316
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Thank you both! I appreciate it much.

    Veteran Field Rep, I'd be very happy to be making as much as you! Even $20/hr doesn't sound bad to me. " I've never been 'hourly' so can only estimate my times," I'm not hourly, either, but all times get reported - didn't you have to do the same?

    I don't think could ever do 6-8 exteriors in an hour, especially including drive time. Some days just driving between 8 exteriors takes an hour total. Territory makes such a big difference!

    Using tax records from the assessor...do you mean there are online sketches, or only numbers? I've found that tax data for square footage is WAY off in Minneapolis; though it's not too bad in a couple of the suburbs, generally it can't be relied on at all. Mueller training says, I believe, they want SF within 5%.

    "Sophisticated laser technology"? What do you mean by this? I use a laser measurer. It's very handy and accurate, although on sunny days or over long distance it can be hard to see and line up the spot, and there's not always something to bounce it off of. If you brace the arm holding it to keep it steady, you can sometimes use just a thin bit of trim, like the channel that holds the ends of vinyl siding. Often I'll measure to something like a downspout that's near a corner then just add the extra foot or whatever. Usually my diagrams balance pretty well. I switched back to a wheel for a while and didn't like it. My measurer also can compute distances measured indirectly, using the Pythagorean Theorem (a2+b2=c2). You take a measurement at a right angle to a wall (=a, one leg of the triangle), and then standing in the same spot take another measurement at an acute angle to the wall (=c, the hypotenuse). The gadget will calculate the distance between the two points on the wall (=b). I don't use that function much, since getting the right angle a bit off will mess up the measurement.

    The 16/16/30/45/90 times are for desk plus site, not including drive time. Each of my managers has sent them to me at some point, saying they were "average." I pointed out each time that it's ridiculous to say that's average: averages are never nice round numbers like that, plus the times haven't increase with the increasing requirements. Turns out they are arbitrary goals set by the company, and are actually below average for Mueller FRs.

    The other stats I posted were from the monthly review I mentioned that's being done on a trial basis. I'd rather not go into it in a public forum due to concerns Mueller might have about privacy (for whatever reason), but if Mueller FRs want to know more they can PM me.

    No one has mentioned the new newsletter. I think it's a good step. The company isn't perfect, but it's making some positive changes.

    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.

  57. #317
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Thank you both! I appreciate it much.

    Veteran Field Rep, I'd be very happy to be making as much as you! Even $20/hr doesn't sound bad to me. " I've never been 'hourly' so can only estimate my times," I'm not hourly, either, but all times get reported - didn't you have to do the same?

    I don't think could ever do 6-8 exteriors in an hour, especially including drive time. Some days just driving between 8 exteriors takes an hour total. Territory makes such a big difference!

    Using tax records from the assessor...do you mean there are online sketches, or only numbers? I've found that tax data for square footage is WAY off in Minneapolis; though it's not too bad in a couple of the suburbs, generally it can't be relied on at all. Mueller training says, I believe, they want SF within 5%.

    "Sophisticated laser technology"? What do you mean by this?
    Kristi - as flat-rate IC, time I spent on individual inspection is immaterial to the vendor. If I take 5 minutes, or 5 hours to complete a survey, the fee is the same. Thus, its in the best interests of my profit margins to expedite each survey; this is why the growing add-ons (address photos, telephone log, labeling photos, extra forms, diagram OB's etc etc) without additional compensation irked me over the years.

    I think my all-time record is 14 surveys in one hour. Condition checks only, dense urban inner city area, with 2-3 on each of a couple streets!

    Most municipalities around here have actual online sketches for each structure in the tax base. Some are cruder than others, but most are very usable and spot-on for accuracy. If I go out with a full clipboard (35-40 surveys) and most are exteriors, the online records saves me about 2 hours measure time I estimate.

    "sophisticated" is my own terminology on the laser. I've had one sitting here that cost about $20 a few years ago, but I found it crude and never developed any expertise with it. Ive got one now thats >$100, and is supposedly extremely efficient once the user gets the hang of it. I still will utilize municipal records for most of my sketches, but the laser will be a great backup for those areas without public records, or new construction homes w elaborate footprints.

    Re Mueller newsletter, until they address issues with QA, static inspection fees, and increasing client demands, that's all just a 'warm and fuzzy', which doesnt pay the bills!


  58. #318
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Oh, I see, I forgot you were an IC, if you said so before. I'm flat rate, too, but as employees we still record times. I have no idea why they push so hard when it comes to times. Maybe they want the average wage when converted to hourly to be high, or they want us to do more surveys? So much depends on experience, knowledge, territory, personal "style" of doing a survey - and online assessor resources! Wow, not having to measure some of these crazy new suburban houses would take 90% off the site time.

    I agree to some extent about the newsletter. But I also think it's important for the company to make some connection with employees when we're so spread out. It was a year before I met face-to-face a single person who worked there. There's a sense of isolation, especially when you're new. The newsletter also has a link that provides opportunity to make comments or ask questions of the management.

    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.

  59. #319
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Oh, I see, I forgot you were an IC, if you said so before. I'm flat rate, too, but as employees we still record times. I have no idea why they push so hard when it comes to times. Maybe they want the average wage when converted to hourly to be high, or they want us to do more surveys? So much depends on experience, knowledge, territory, personal "style" of doing a survey - and online assessor resources! Wow, not having to measure some of these crazy new suburban houses would take 90% off the site time.

    I agree to some extent about the newsletter. But I also think it's important for the company to make some connection with employees when we're so spread out. It was a year before I met face-to-face a single person who worked there. There's a sense of isolation, especially when you're new. The newsletter also has a link that provides opportunity to make comments or ask questions of the management.
    We'll see how that whole "newsletter" thing works out for the field force. I do hope it' s viewed as a positive thing and makes things easy for you along the way.

    However....from my perspective, the same "management" culture you are refreshingly optimistic about repeatedly either put their heads in the sand or threw up their arms whenever I mentioned fees vs. service increases to each of about 10 different managers over 6 years and 12,000 surveys.

    This is the same management that ignored my pleas to revise an early E&H document that offered choices of <100A, >100A service. Period. I chose one or the other on a home that had EXACTLY 100A service, and there was a policy cancellation complaint. Only THEN was the form modified, but only after I was forced to take the E&H modules before any new work was assigned.

    These guys hear what they want to hear, nothing else. Its something in the Muell-aid these guys swill apparently.


  60. #320
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    780

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

    Oh, I wouldn't say I'm optimistic! I am keenly aware of the company's shortcomings. But I used my real name, and currently work there AND my name has been brought to their attention before through this forum (completely different topic and thread, a member I'm not fond of reported me to the management for posting photos). So I'm a little reticent in my critiques, shall we say, or at least try to say positive things sometimes.

    I like my job most of the time. I do think their pay scheme is just plain wrong, especially if what I hear is true about managers handling a pool of money to dole out as they see fit (huge oversimplification there!), creating a major conflict of interest. It's ridiculous that someone can work there for 6 years, with the cases getting more demanding and time-consuming, and have no increase in fees. It's just wrong to have one's effective income (allowing for inflation, rising gas prices, etc.) decrease over time when the company is doing well (their body of FRs grows 15% every year). Or to have one's base wage DROP $2/hr without any notice or reason, like mine did, just because I got a new manager. There are times when base wage matters, though not often.

    And no benefits, of course.

    The way it's all set up, with pressure to go faster, they are encouraging people to lie and cut corners. I would think they want people to do a good job! Their only measure of quality is how many errors we get, and that's a pretty poor measure.

    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. #321
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    Apr 2012
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    Virginia
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    Default Re: Mueller Services Inc. - Insurance Loss Control Surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    It's ridiculous that someone can work there for 6 years, with the cases getting more demanding and time-consuming, and have no increase in fees. It's just wrong to have one's effective income (allowing for inflation, rising gas prices, etc.) decrease over time when the company is doing well (their body of FRs grows 15% every year). Or to have one's base wage DROP $2/hr without any notice or reason, like mine did, just because I got a new manager. There are times when base wage matters, though not often.

    And no benefits, of course.

    The way it's all set up, with pressure to go faster, they are encouraging people to lie and cut corners. I would think they want people to do a good job! Their only measure of quality is how many errors we get, and that's a pretty poor measure.
    I totally agree with the pressure to go faster means that FR's will find ways to cut corners, especially when there is no additional compensation. I would hope that those managers that read this see that the bread and butter of the company is telling you that modifications need to be made. When you have happy employees, they are more likely to do a better job and verbally praise the company, and as a result more business This benefits everyone, including the customers.

    As I look at the difference between Mueller reports and the other companies that I work for, I find Mueller takes double to triple the time that the other reports take. (Same or less pay by Mueller) Simplicity is the key that works for most companies. There are many things that are duplicate in the reports that could removed and reduce the time that it takes to complete the reports. Lets hope that someone in a position to make changes reads the comments and actually makes an effort to review what we are being forced to do. Example 3 day turnarounds for Allstate means that the FR is being hurried to get reports done and as a result more likely to make mistakes. It reflects poorly on Mueller and the F.R.


  62. #322
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    NEAST
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    6

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

    Kristi- agree with Robert about the use of a laser. In 10+ years in this industry, I couldn't tell you the last time I actually used a physical wheel to measure any risk. There are so many advantages to using a reliable laser- and virtually no disadvantages. I have used a Hilti PD-30 for years, and love it. It can add, subtract distances- do room dimensions, measure ceiling heights (think High Value reports with that- can you imagine using a dirty wheel inside someone's nice home, or trying to use a tape measure to get a cathedral ceiling height?) get volumes and areas, etc. It uses 2 AA batteries, and it does not drain battery power at all- even in severely cold weather. While it does take some getting used to- once you become proficient using one, you'll wonder why you didn't use one sooner. One question I always get asked, by a friend who is a wheel user- how to deal with the sun?? Well- most (80+%) risks are fairly simple to diagram- meaning, some variation of squares/rectangles. Meaning- 2 of the dimensions are usually the same. In these cases, you only have to measure 2 sides; and, regardless of what time of day it is, 2 sides of the risk are not going to be in the sun. Also- with a wheel, think of just how close you can get to some of the risks that have nice landscaping, etc. Not very. Laser? Just shoot it off a gutter, or if there's another house next door- that juts out- hit that with the laser, walk to the end of your risk, and subtract. Very easy and always accurate. In addition- think how many times it gets windy, you're out surveying, and you struggle to hold onto the clipboard, and the forms; having a laser on your belt is 1 less thing you have to carry.


  63. #323
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    780

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

    Oh, I know about lasers, I use one myself! Mine's a Bosch. Maybe you missed my little blurb, or thought someone else wrote it.

    I hated carrying a wheel around. For a while I used a tape measure, but that's a pain.

    I'd be thrilled if 80% of my risks were plain squares or rectangles. Maybe 30% have one side I don't have to measure. In some of my territory (new outer suburban developments not in my GPS or on the map) it's standard to have 7-10 components. The ones I really hate are angled. At the other end of the spectrum I have one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, full of old houses with lots of hazards, but at least they're easier to measure.

    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.

  64. #324
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    22

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

    Does anyone know what Mueller charges its customers (insurance companies) for occupancy verification, exterior with diagram and high value. As I review my costs to conduct inspections, gasoline and the corresponding times for reports (and I am a very good typist) I believe that the venture with this company is no longer in a positive profit margin that makes sense. While I understand that they have to hire managers, QA and clerical personnel, I also understand that most FR's receive poor compensation compared to other companies offering similar work.

    I am also interested in when you were hired or placed as an independent contractor if Mueller provided you with some highly exaggerated claims that you would be making to get you to come on board or any other claims during the hiring process that were not met or ignored. I am trying to get an understanding if this is an isolated thing or if it is common practice

    And lastly if I read most of the posts correctly, it appears that there is a high turnover rate with managers. I am curious if you have encountered issues where you have brought a concern to a manager regarding conduct on the part of personnel from Mueller (non field reps) and if the problems were corrected or just ignored because you are just a Field Rep.


  65. #325
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Laurinburg, NC
    Posts
    22

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Taylor View Post
    Does anyone know what Mueller charges its customers (insurance companies) for occupancy verification, exterior with diagram and high value. As I review my costs to conduct inspections, gasoline and the corresponding times for reports (and I am a very good typist) I believe that the venture with this company is no longer in a positive profit margin that makes sense. While I understand that they have to hire managers, QA and clerical personnel, I also understand that most FR's receive poor compensation compared to other companies offering similar work.

    I am also interested in when you were hired or placed as an independent contractor if Mueller provided you with some highly exaggerated claims that you would be making to get you to come on board or any other claims during the hiring process that were not met or ignored. I am trying to get an understanding if this is an isolated thing or if it is common practice

    And lastly if I read most of the posts correctly, it appears that there is a high turnover rate with managers. I am curious if you have encountered issues where you have brought a concern to a manager regarding conduct on the part of personnel from Mueller (non field reps) and if the problems were corrected or just ignored because you are just a Field Rep.
    If I had to guess, I would say their profit margin probably varies with the report type. I say that mostly because I have a hard time believing they are only charging twice as much for a full interior/exterior as just an exterior. I also think they are probably making a killing on high values and commercial inspections - I mean, come one - paying an inspector 40-something bucks for a full commercial inspection with all of the pictures, on site time, and write up time involved? I would be shocked if they weren't charging insurance companies at least $200-$300 for a commercial inspection. Whether or not they are using those to make up for the lower cost ones, I have no idea.

    Either way, I can't see their turnover rates (both managers and field reps) lowering just because they started putting out a monthly newsletter (really? drinking water helps when working outside in the heat? who would have thought!) - if they want to retain good workers, they need to compensate them fairly from the start, and offer increased fees as time goes on (assuming the FR is doing a proper job), and the cost of living increases. We get performance evaluations, but we don't get the raise that normally accompanies a good evaluation. Go figure.


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