A Change Order is any change, whether an upgrade or a downgrade that a customer makes to the approved scope of repair.
There's only one way to document a change order correctly, and that is with a Xactimate file.
Make a copy of the original Xactimate estimate, so you have the same room tree in the same order as the original. Delete ALL line items EXCEPT those you intend to change. The title of the NEW Change Order estimate should read JONES – CO using the customer's name followed by CO for Change Order. Each time you come across this estimate, you know it is for changes made by the customer.
Let's say you are going to upgrade carpet to hardwood in 4 rooms. In those rooms, you should have listed carpet, pad, and any other carpet specific line items. Select a line item and then select the radial button that contains the per-unit price. This opens a dialog box with an option to change the item from a charge to a credit. Make that change, and the line item turns red and places brackets around the cost indicating it has been changed to a credit.
Do this for every line item to be changed in every room. Then add the line item(s) replacing the carpet with a flooring selection such as FCW AVPF for pre-finished hardwood, and Xacstimate automatically calculates the difference between the new charges and the credit items. Do this in every room and for every change.
Xactimate calculates the total charges for the upgrade and represents what is owed by the customer for the changes. Some customers, once seeing the cost, may decide not to proceed, while others will move ahead with the change.
You now have a Change Order that looks identical to the format of the original scope. Line item credits match precisely with those in the original estimate, and replacement items are charged at regular Xactimate pricing.
Have the customer review, sign, and pay 50% of the amount owed, and you now have a properly formatted Xactimte Change Order. DON'T permit your staff to make ANY change to a repair estimate, or make any verbal agreements with a customer without following this procedure – EVER!
If a customer decides they want to do the painting to save money toward their deductible, use this method to determine the downgraded amount credited to them toward their deductible.
If a customer selects a light fixture for $100 over their allotment, use this method to record the amount of the upgraded overage.
Customers' can make any change they want to a scope of repair, but you MUST adequately document it and get paid for it.
Hold the line and require a Change Order for every change that a customer makes, every time!