Editor’s Note

How to make money, part 1.

A common goal among many Americans is to obtain a decent amount of money. A common complaint among surveyors is the frustration of mediocre earnings, especially in comparison to other similar (and even dissimilar) occupations. It is all too simple to plot a solution to this vocational drawback for surveyors: charge more to reap more. The term more, of course should be used loosely, as each employee or business must set its own standards and fees appropriate to many specific factors, including the region and locale in which the work is done, the type of work performed, the overhead and other expenditures required to do the work and run shop. We all know this, but how can the solution be applied to actually make more money?

Lessons are often spoken and perhaps intended to be followed, but for some reason the complaint of discounted charges by surveyors echoes throughout the profession. Conference after conference, I see classrooms full of attendees for seminars on the ethics and business topics. I, myself receive several questions and requests for information on ethics and business subjects, and phone calls from surveyors inquiring on the same.

An accusation often accompanying the common “deficiency” of low income is that “surveyors are not the greatest business people.” If this is true to your situation, may I suggest a few points to be used to conquer these theories accused of diminishing the livelihood of surveyors: know your purpose, know how to accomplish your purpose and prove to others how they can support your purpose.

First, analyze, write down and know your purpose in business. If you are an employee, ask yourself what your objectives are personally and in connection to the company in which you work. If you are a company owner, ask what your goals are for the success of the firm, both long-term and short. Set a company mission. With personal and professional goals known, targeted efforts to accomplish these purposes can be executed. For efficiency, know which workers to send on particular jobs. Surveyors, know your strengths and voice them to your superiors. Employees and business owners should take a regular inventory of supplies and order appropriate quantities in a timely manner. Easier, faster and more efficient (and thus more effective) ways of performing jobs should be implemented by all players. Consider new equipment for more efficiency or better utilize your current lineup of instruments. One company in Indiana has set up an excellent system for greater efficiency; see page 18 for details on how they decide which tools to use for each job. Employees should act as business owners when decisions are to be made (this can aid all parties if a business ends up for sale in the future).

I write these tips knowing that many readers will skim the words with a “knowing” eye. But my hope is that new methods for purposeful business transactions will be implemented if needed. Next month I’ll discuss ways to get the money you deserve by proving to your clients and potential clients how they can back your purpose—why they should hire you for the job. Then maybe some of the complaints in the profession will decrease and goals will be met—and you’ll make more money.

To contact the editor, send an E-mail to or mail to 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Ste. 1000, Troy, MI 48084.

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