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#5462995 - 12/07/14 02:10 PM Surveyor started my survey no written contract
doogie Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 282
Loc: Hill County
I'm having a surveyor survey a corner of my 150acre property
He stated he charged $160 per hour
And that this job should cost about $640
This was all verbal on the phone no written contract
He mentioned that he was having problems figuring out the corner
He has been working on this for about 2 weeks although not all on my property

I'm ok paying the $640 and maybe even an extra 10-15% if it is taking longer but I'm not likely to pay thousands to have one corner of my property marked

What's the usual way to handle this
Don't most surveyors get a written contract first
Would a surveyor expect a client to pay double or triple the verbal fee?
Has any one had issues with this having surveyors trying to milk the fees
My surveyor has not mentioned any extra fees yet since he is still working on the project but I'm guessing it could be on the way.


Edited by doogie (12/07/14 03:42 PM)

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#5463331 - 12/07/14 04:41 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
gary75758 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 978
Loc: Chandler/Kosse
Had my place surveyed two years ago, no contract, just verbal agreement and hand shake,
Hope you have the same luck, was a good experience.
texas

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#5463681 - 12/07/14 07:12 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: gary75758]
glens Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 8637
Loc: Lake LBJ, Granite Shoals
If he's worked on 150 acres for 2 weeks on all corners, you better fire him. I would ask what kind of equipment he using. Surely gps type. Had a company come out here on 2 lines one 3800 foot and another 2700 foot and he finished in about 3 hours. One was cleared and one not. Verbal here also.

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#5463984 - 12/07/14 08:28 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
jetdad Offline
Tracker

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 933
Loc: Grayson county
That sounds a little strange to me. I've never had a written contract. 4 hours is awfully high to stake one corner. It should not take him more than an hour. The last survey I had done was for 26 acres, marked all 4 corners and located the county line that runs through the approximate middle of the property. It cost me $500. I think I'd have to have a visit with him about why it is taking so long. He may just be working on bigger deals and has moved yours down the line. Don't be too quick to judge until he let's you know what the problem is. Maybe he'll work on it for a couple of hours and you might get off for $320. Don't be afraid to ask.

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#5464688 - 12/08/14 08:55 AM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
cameron00 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/08/09
Posts: 8203
Loc: Texas
If he can't get the job done at his estimated time, it's his incompetence.

I'd pay him what he quoted you at the beginning and tell him to pound sand.

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#5464964 - 12/08/14 11:13 AM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
rattler03 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 769
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
I've worked in land surveying for several years, so I think I know what I'm talking about. There are many reasons why this could be taking him longer than expected. It isn't as simple as just finding the one corner if, he needs to find several other corners in the area to determine if that one is accurate. He could be having trouble finding enough adjoining property corners to verify the corner in question, rural properties can be more difficult because they usually aren't sold very often and therefore haven't been surveyed recently. No surveying job is the same: some you can easily find plenty of accurate corners and can complete the job quickly, but other jobs you can't find enough corners or the ones you do find don't jive with each other so you have to expand your search. I think its a good sign that's he's taking his time because that makes me think he's doing a thorough examination of the area and will produce an accurate finding. Or, he could just be working on other projects that he thinks are more pressing. I'd just ask him how much work he's actually done on your job, and if he expects it to cost more than he quoted.


Edited by rattler03 (12/08/14 11:15 AM)
_________________________
Walk the night, travel light, cross the Rio Grande
Someone strums a mandolin, soft gulf breezes blow
My new life is waiting in old Mexico
-Robert Earl Keen

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#5465040 - 12/08/14 11:49 AM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
kk66 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 173
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
I've had 3-4 surveys done and have yet to have a written contract. I agree with Rattler about not jumping to conclusions before asking what's going on. Some of the older rural descriptions can be a nightmare to figure out. I've seen corners designated as a certain type of tree but 70 years later the whole area is one big hay pasture with no trees, etc.

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#5465128 - 12/08/14 12:35 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: jetdad]
reeder05 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/09/08
Posts: 1544
Loc: Irving, Tx
Originally Posted By: jetdad
That sounds a little strange to me. I've never had a written contract. 4 hours is awfully high to stake one corner.


Lots of variables here. In order to legally establish one property corner, a surveyor must first establish the entire property, and verify that property with adjoining properties. There is a bunch of things that must happen in order to legally prepare a survey, that a client will never see.

Drive time, crew time, research, office calculations and data reduction, etc... Four hours is cheap in my books. Also, by law, even if the surveyor is only "staking one corner", he must prepare a surveyor's report. Drawings and maps are easier for the general public to understand, therefore these are the "surveyor's report" that are most common. The preparation of that map is also summed into that "four hours".

I will occasionally work on a project without a written contract. Hand shake will work for me, but it is just a matter of time before that hand burns me.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: East...
Bill I want the meat

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#5465259 - 12/08/14 01:24 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
doogie Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 282
Loc: Hill County
I understand surveys can take longer than expected
But at what point would a surveyor tell you it is going to cost more than expected
Like I said I'm even ok paying an extra 10-15% but would some surveyors expect to keep going hourly with an unlimited max until the job is done?

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#5465338 - 12/08/14 02:04 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
rattler03 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/22/14
Posts: 769
Loc: Richardson - Archer County
I would think most surveyors would let you know before they go too far over budget. The last thing they want to do is piss off their client with a final price that is so far over their quote that the client refuses to pay. If he has no written contract, he has to know this would be a possibility and one he wants to avoid.
_________________________
Walk the night, travel light, cross the Rio Grande
Someone strums a mandolin, soft gulf breezes blow
My new life is waiting in old Mexico
-Robert Earl Keen

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#5466464 - 12/09/14 01:25 AM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
Jace313 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 11/25/13
Posts: 29
I am a licensed land surveyor. No. 6289 for the state of Texas. I don't typically get a written contract unless I feel the client is shady, or if their is a possibility I won't get payment. I still believe in a handshake agreement. But you said you hired him to survey a corner, he will have to survey the majority of the property to establish that corner, if not the entire property. Also, when we take a job, we are working for our client and the clients neighbors. What I mean is we have to survey adjoining property as well to establish a boundary line to respect the rights of both parties sharing the boundary line.

I charge $100 an hour with the best equipment money can buy. If the corner was there, a few hours is reasonable. If the corner is lost or missing, it would take much longer. I can't survey a 1 acre lot with a house in a couple hours. My minimum price charge for ang job is $600. But if that's what he qouted you he should stick to that, unless he calls and explains price would be more and you agree to pay.

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#5469456 - 12/10/14 12:11 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: rattler03]
reeder05 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/09/08
Posts: 1544
Loc: Irving, Tx
Originally Posted By: rattler03
I would think most surveyors would let you know before they go too far over budget. The last thing they want to do is piss off their client with a final price that is so far over their quote that the client refuses to pay. If he has no written contract, he has to know this would be a possibility and one he wants to avoid.


Spot on.

Yes, I will give you a price of $xx per hour, with a not to exceed price of $xxxx.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: East...
Bill I want the meat

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#5471070 - 12/11/14 09:46 AM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: reeder05]
landsurveyor Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 4572
Loc: Annetta TX
Originally Posted By: reeder05
Originally Posted By: rattler03
I would think most surveyors would let you know before they go too far over budget. The last thing they want to do is piss off their client with a final price that is so far over their quote that the client refuses to pay. If he has no written contract, he has to know this would be a possibility and one he wants to avoid.


Spot on.

Yes, I will give you a price of $xx per hour, with a not to exceed price of $xxxx.

This^^^^ Like Jace I am a Texas RPLS. If I run into a problem that will extend the time on a survey I will make it perfectly clear to the client or landowner that there are issues that may increase the cost quoted. I feel that is good business ethics which is very important in our profession. If the client feels that it is unjust due to the fact he/she may not understand why I can't just mark one corner. I will do my best to explain the problem and if that doesn't work they can call another surveyor and hopefully pay me for the time I put in. To the OP communication is key. The surveyor should give you a call and let you know what's going on and why they are having to spend more time than expected. If they don't it is probably because they are very busy. Not an excuse but you should probably initiate the call. I hope it all works out good for you. I don't like hearing stories of bad dealings with surveyors because it hurts all of us in the profession.
_________________________
"A hungry dog hunts best.” Lee Trevino

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#5472485 - 12/11/14 11:56 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: rattler03]
Erathkid Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 14616
Loc: Dollas,Taxes Bluff Dale Tx
Originally Posted By: rattler03
I would think most surveyors would let you know before they go too far over budget. The last thing they want to do is piss off their client with a final price that is so far over their quote that the client refuses to pay. If he has no written contract, he has to know this would be a possibility and one he wants to avoid.
That is a great point, right there.
_________________________
Life is too short, as is. Don't chance it.
Don't text and drive.

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#5578846 - 02/02/15 05:27 PM Re: Surveyor started my survey no written contract [Re: doogie]
doogie Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 282
Loc: Hill County
Surveyor has now come back with a bill of over $2000

Still have not had the pins marked and we are going on over 2 months.

Whats the best way to handle this?
I'm wanting to be fair to all parties involved.

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