About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents
 
advertisement


Subscriptions
Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
     RTN
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By


Product Reviews
Partner Sites

machinecontrolonline 


lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

newsnow 

Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Guest Editorial: Our Value to Society Print E-mail
Written by Gary Jeffress, Ph.D., PS   
Friday, 23 August 2013

A 187Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

I have just finished reading an article in The Economist titled "Thinking twice about price. -- In an age of austerity businesses needs to get better at charging more" (July 27th 2013 Issue). The article says that businesses coming out of the financial crisis have trimmed their workforce, and cut costs to the bone. So in order to boost profits, price is all that is left to make changes to the bottom line. Clever pricing can do a lot to increase your share of profit retention and increase your spending power. The surveying profession needs to take heed to this strategy.

Surveyors are notoriously bad at setting prices. With each new technology we absorb into our business we become more efficient and reduce the amount of effort required to undertake a survey. The result of spending less time on a survey, both in the field and in the office, is that we reduce the value of our services by charging our clients for our time on the job rather than the value of the service itself.

A survey that once would have taken a field crew of three, using a total station, a week, and two days calculating and drafting in the office, can now be done by one person, in a day using GPS and CAD drafting techniques. Do we charge the same fee to do the same job? No, we pass on all that increased efficiency to our client by continuing to charge for our time. Meanwhile, the value of the real estate we are surveying has increased many times over, which means that our liability has increased while our fees have decreased. Not a very good business strategy.

Whenever we attach our signature and seal to a survey, we create a legal document that bears a liability directly proportional to the value of the real estate on which we are reporting. Much of what we do is translated into deeds and title that facilitate valuable and legal real estate transactions. Deed descriptions are passed from one transaction to another over the decades, thus becoming ever more valuable over time. Are we adequately compensated for the legal descriptions we provide? Have you pointed out to your client the value you are creating for your client and their heirs?

One way to increase your profits is to identify the value you are providing your clients. I see just about all surveying services falling into two basic categories. One, we assist our clients in creating wealth by providing a service to increase the utility of their real estate. Subdividing land into more intensive land use (say, rural to urban or urban to commercial) adds value and wealth to our land owning clients. Staking out a new house enables the construction of a home in place of a vacant lot, thereby adding value to the land parcel. Two, we assist our clients in reducing risk by showing such things as encroachments by or upon the tract we are surveying, or showing easements not obvious on the land surface, so our clients do not invest in real estate with clouded titles.

I suggest to all in our profession, including students, that the best way to retain the value of our surveying services and to be directly in concert with the wealth we create for our clients is to charge ad valorem fees similar to architects, engineers, and real estate agents. Surveyors should be fearless in asking to be adequately compensated by their clients for the value and integrity we impart to the development of real estate and we should walk away if our clients do not understand this.

Gary Jeffress was born in Australia and is a Professor of Geographic Information Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He has held professional land surveying licenses in New South Wales, Maine, and now Texas. He is past president and life member of the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors and past president of the Geographic and Land Information Society.

A 187Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Editorial 
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
 
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article
 

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact Amerisurv


Google
 
AMERISURV TOP NEWS

JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


News Feeds

 
Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

 

Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 

twitter

 




The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax