Can someone please help me understand and site reasons why surveyors nowadays are getting low salary rates these days?

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It is because of the ease of use of survey equipment now.  When I started it would take at least a year of training to get someone to be a decent Instrument Operator.  It would take 4-5 years for anyone to get enough experience under their belt to be a Party Chief.  With the ease of use of the software today and the touch screens and the visual maps, it is much easier for a person to become a decent "Button Pusher."  Most companies find that these under developed under trained personnel are "good enough" button pushers to do the vast majority of the work.  They figure why pay someone so much more money for a well qualified experienced Party Chief when this guy will push most of the right buttons for a lot less money.

It's simple. We allow others to drive the bus. Engineer nor Architects value the job we do.

Yeah, I agree.  If we stopped fixing all of their mistakes in the field and just staked it "as planned" they might change their minds.  We are expected to catch and fix all of the mistakes but if we don't it is on us...

I am not sure why were are lowing our rates. Around here a realtor will get 6% commission on the sale of a house or property. A $100,000 house will make them $5000 to show the house a few times and prepare some papers they have filled out the same way numerous times. If I were to survey that parcel the realtor will tell the clients it will cost $800. If all the information is at the courthouse and all the pins are found and measure correct, I would barely be able to get a good through survey done for $800. Needless to say there are not many house as low as $100,000 these days and the realtor will still say the survey will be $800.

Even though the equipment is touch screen it is still pricey. There are always software updates.

Knowing how to locate corners is not always easy.

There are not many of licensed surveyors in Iowa. I believe we can raise our rates to better accommodate the services we provide and attract some new people to our profession.

It really depends what your expectations are, where you live and what you deem a low salary.

Where I live average salary is around $65k a year, whereas average Surveyor's salary is around $80-90k a year. It's not too uncommon for a well experienced surveyor to make twice that. We are finding more and more that there is a massive skills shortage and they few surveyors out there can demand fairly good pay and conditions.

Because they accept them. Charge what the product is worth NOT whether it was easy to do or not!

The real estatte agent  exampe is to the point. To the seller (his client) the agent  gets paid only IF he sells the house AND his fee is perceived to be paid by the buyer (as a slight increase in that sale price). The perception is, 1) iget my house sold 2) with no out-of-pocket cost. The perception is of very high value.

Surveyors have not marketed the value of what we do. Others, such as the agent, see the survey as a source of trouble that might hurt their commission so they disparage the idea of a survey prior to a sale. Combined with our pitiful marketing the perceived value is high cost and with little or no benefit.


Here in Texas, the realtors are getting away with paying around $400. The problem is not the realtor community but the surveyors. There is always someone willing to put their stamp on a job which they know they did not fully met the Board requirements. Walmart Supercenter - Kiosk A
6626 Fm 1960 Rd E
Humble, TX 77346

I'm very new to surveying, so not sure how much value this will be. In my region (Northern California,) surveying is a union job. Our wages are $40 per hour plus benefits for a party chief. In the Bay Area, where  most of the work is, it is easy to make more than that. 

It is not uncommon for apprentices to get promoted to party chief after working two years in the field. I suppose this is due to two reasons: 

i. There are not enough party chiefs to carry the workload coming in.

ii. It doesn't take long to become decent at pushing buttons as someone above mentioned.

I know "apprentices" that still are taking the weekly apprenticeship class that have been "chiefing" for years. 

It seems crazy to base your business off finding property corners if the pay is so low. I think I would branch out and try to get construction surveying work, but there being many regional differences, what do I know. I do know dealing with real estate agents is not fun. Just ask the appraisers...their pay has been stagnant for years.

Same here, I'm just west of Fort Worth, and no matter what we estimate to charge, there is always someone that will do the work for half the price. The majority of the time, nobody except us and the Board cares about quality, it's all about the money out of pocket to the end user, regardless of results.

Those reading this discussion should check out the recent POB article by Jeffrey Turner.

Here is a link: What are Your Services Worth?

In Australia you seem to be able to get reasonable rates in some mining ops, though if you are on a contract as a an engaged "professional" then the high wages that seem to with the mining are often less for the surveyors. That said, for everyone else, the Industrial Award that covers the area hasnt been updated since 2010. That only covers the organisations that follow the award. there are a lot that dont. Wages especially for the assistants and technicians dont go up under any circumstances.


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