Land Surveyor


After your potential client informs you on the phone that they want to proceed (I prefer a phone conversation when it comes to telling them what it will cost, because sometimes it's a WOW, really?....and sometimes it's a more experienced person who has paid for several surveys in the past and understands the "why so much money" part), I will usually ask them how they would prefer me to send them the proposal (email, fax, physical mail, delivery, etc.).  

But, how do you write a good proposal (which will likely turn into a contract, assuming that the potential client signs it)?

I guess we will discuss this later.............

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  • Land Surveyor

    Karl, once again we are on the same page, with few differences.

         I generally do not include a time frame in the written proposal.  I advise the client that the final deliverables will be complete in a certain range of days or weeks, and identify the factors that may push project completion to the end of that range (weather, etc.).  If they have a firm deadline that they must meet then I may include it in the proposal (usually a closing date, funding deadline, etc.)

         I add to the proposal a list of potential future services that are not included in the proposal.  This is a list of services that they may tend to think are included. I have received many calls from clients attempting "scope creep".  They may call back later and expect things for no additional cost.  I try to anticipate additional services that may result unexpectedly when the survey is complete, or things that may throw a wrench in the survey and put it to a halt until one of these "unexpecteds" are resolved.  For example, a client may want to divide his land in a certain way.  To me this means that there will be one configuration determined in advance.  Re-configuration of a proposed new parcel of land is one of these "potential future services".  Another example is that of writing easement or quit-claim or other descriptions not necessarily anticipated.  What if there is a gap, gore, or overlap?  Do we know this in advance?  No. Is there a remedy?  Yes.  Do I provide these services? Yes.  Now the client knows what some of the unknown expenses may be.  I discuss these with the client before writing the proposal and include in the proposal that if the need for any of these potential services presents itself to me during the course of performing the survey, I will stop, call them, let them know what's going on and how much it will cost to remedy.  If they elect to proceed, they will receive a new proposal for the additional work, which by now should be not so surprising to them.  If they choose not to proceed, then they will be billed for work completed so far.  This is all spelled out in the proposal, but in more "legalesque" terminology.

    • Land Surveyor
      Oh Scott I agree. We send a cover letter for the proposal and spell out possible additional services they may need that are not covered in the proposal. The cover letter also contains instructions on how to execute the proposal and links to websites and contact information  on other service providers (that we think they may need for their project). We give a time frame range typically but the proposal also states that we may not be able to do it in that time frame if some problem arises. Yes, we seem to have both thought about this quite a bit. After you have been in business for 20 years you think you have seen everything and have it all covered in the form proposals but we still make changes to them ever so often because some other new problem arises we have never seen.
    • Land Surveyor

      Karl, I don't think I can add any more to this except "GET IT IN WRITING" "GET IT IN WRITING" "GET IT IN WRITING"!   (the other options are not good at all, handshake contracts are a thing of the past, and you WILL get screwed if you don't "GET IT IN WRITING"!).  Did I stress that enough for everybody?  I hope so.

      Thanks for replying - we seem to have very much in common.

      -Scott D. Warner, R.L.S.

  • Land Surveyor
    We always use written proposals. A proper proposal will contain the price, time frame, scope of work and identify the exact tract of land the services are to be performed on. In addition it should also contain limits of liability the surveyor has, warnings about things that might take place in the course of the survey (brush cutting, hole digging, etc.) how the product will be delivered, what the deliverable will be and who owns the information gathered in the course of the survey. I will try and attach a sample of our proposal a little later.
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