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Hello, friend!

It’s not uncommon that someone in the SurveyorConnect forums complains about lowballers. It’s good to talk about controversial topics like that and perhaps we can even learn a little bit about how to position ourselves to “qualify” for pricing our services higher.

Here’s 5 solid reasons why people might be willing to pay you more.

  • Your services are more valuable to the client’s business. This really comes down to the kind of client you’re trying to attract. A boundary survey of a subdivision lot for a home sale may not be seen as valuable by the potential home buyer. But an ALTA survey of a shopping center is likely going to be a critical part of the sale transaction. Without it, the sale is likely to fail.
  • Your reputation and referrals. What other people say about you is extremely important and people are willing to pay a higher price for something that has a stellar reputation. Of course, this takes time (years, even) to build up — so new companies often don’t have this luxury — but over time you’ll likely earn more with more skins on the wall.
  • Your specialty. Surveying may be a little different than most industries, but they say the riches are in the niches, and it makes sense. People are going to be willing to spend more money on something that is more tailor-made to fit their needs. For example, my favorite kind of surveying product had always been the ALTA — word got out and eventually I was doing ALTA surveys for McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other large clients.
  • Your sales process. I’ve not done it before, but I can’t imagine going out to find a surveyor for hire would be a fun experience for most people. There’s a lot of mistrust in the industry and for most people, surveying is not something they fully understand. The easier and more transparent your process is of getting from point A to point B, the more likely someone is to agree because they want to avoid potential hassles.
  • You proudly charge more than your competition. This might sound silly, but having higher rates is a great way to get clients to pay more. A good number of people won’t even consider the cheapest option because they assume that a lower price means poorer quality. Yes, you’ll risk losing jobs because you’re more expensive — but you don’t want the low price job anyway, right?

These, of course, aren’t all the reasons why someone might be willing to pay more — but they are all worth considering as potential ways to increase your earnings.

Do you charge more than your competitors? Why or why not?

🔥 Inside the forums

Pittsburgh bridge collapse

The bridge looks a little on the light side design wise but I don’t see any major red flags.

Now that’s a rock!

I get a little excited when I am about to retrace a survey that calls for a rock. It’s not super common but common enough. My latest is a 70 acre parcel in a rural nearby county that we started on Friday.

Control points on masonry

Where I live lots of window sills are either concrete or granite and unfortunately are often wet! I’m struggling to think of a way to mark a point like an “x” or an “o” on the sills.

How would you handle this?

I have a prospective client who contacted me for services. She lives in Colorado and is looking to purchase land here in coastal North Carolina. She has a map of a survey that was performed within the last 4 months.

Not accepted, I guess 📸

Friend shared this today. The bottom pipe and yellow plastic plug was set first, I guess a second surveyor didn’t accept it, so he set the pipe with the red plastic plug and screw

Get paid at closing 📎

A potential client is in urgent need of a ±134-acre boundary survey of the family estate. Closing was to be this week, however, the Title Insurance company just now says they will not accept the 75-year-old deed description with only a “bounded-by” description.

A tough one

We were commissioned to survey a lot in a small town less than an hour away. The nice elderly lady, Miss Hattie, is an absentee owner that lives ~75 miles away. She gave us an address and a copy of her deed. The deed was rather vague.

OPUS inconvenience

I really wish OPUS would give us a break by providing the opportunity to use US feet for input and with US feet as an option for output. This would save time and reduce errors.

2022 datum

I spoke with a county engineer who is reviewing a proposal for the county HARN adjustment for the new datum by another vendor. I assume the vendor is preparing for the new datum release and wants to gather data on the passive marks ahead of that time.

Sample question question

A surveyor must _____ if he finds the original monuments to differ from the bearings/distances recited in the plat or deed.

Paper Train Subdivision

There was a paper train subdivision of 15 tracts averaging about 10 acres per tract. I’m now splitting up a 10 acre tract for a family exemption.

The BM is over there 📸

Tikao Bay, Banks Peninsula (New Zealand)

🧠 Ask A Surveyor

We often receive questions from property owners and other members of the general public. Here’s your chance to possibly help them out!

Understanding a survey

House Elevation – Crawlspace Issue Unresolved

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🦺 From the marketplace

For sale: old model totalstations and equipments
For sale: Leica DNA03 Digital Level, Leica (Nedo) GPCL2 2-Meter Barcode Rod, & Nedo Stiff-Leg Tripod
Want to buy: Wild theodolite repair

📰 In other news

History of the Certified Federal Surveyor Program

I’m a real history buff and I will use almost any excuse to dig into the past and learn something new. Last year, when we celebrated Columbus Day, which is increasingly being celebrated as Native American Day, led me to a related surveying question—How are Indian Trust Lands surveyed?

Read the article at The American Surveyor

👋 Before you go

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Happy traversing,

Wendell T. Harness