POB’s 2013 Salary & Benefits Study shows that business as a whole for the surveying and mapping profession is trending upward. After several years of decline and uncertainty, this is welcome news. However, pricing competition and a commoditization of the profession were among the biggest challenges cited by participants. “Many in my area don’t view the value of surveys in the context of the overall project cost and instead drive to the lowest price point,” one surveyor commented. “This makes profit margins very small to nonexistent.” Another mentioned the challenge of “producing a quality product at a price that a client will pay.”

Suggestions for how surveyors can best position themselves for success in the future ranged from implementing the latest technologies, to investing in continuing education, to educating clients and the public about the value of a survey. Although technology and education play a key role in providing value, there is another factor that is equally important. Joseph Romano and Matt Sipple of Langan hint at it in their emphasis on relationships as an important business strategy (see the article on pages 12-14 in this issue). Larry Phipps has emphasized it repeatedly in his articles on value pricing (see page 40 for the latest column in the series). This factor is imperative to knowing what technology is a good investment and how to best expand your skill set through continuing education. Before you can know where you might be able to bring additional value to a project, you must first listen and make sure you understand the client’s needs.

The following recommendations for success, provided by respondents to POB’s 2013 Salary & Benefits Study, underscore this principle:

  • “Keep abreast of new technology and (find) ways to provide better service at a more competitive cost for your clients. Listen ‘better’ to your clients’ needs, and think of better ways to get them what they need since they might not really know what they need.”
  •  “You must look into what is needed by your clients or potential clients and have a well-educated staff with up-to-date equipment.”

How can you redefine your value proposition? Identifying the needs in the market is a crucial step.

Check out the infographic for additional highlights from POB’s 2013 Salary & Benefits Study. To download a complete copy of the report, including insights on technology trends and business strategies, visit our newly redesigned website at www.pobonline.com.