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Weighing Quality versus Cost
             "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

                 - Benjamin Franklin


Making informed decisions about land survey fees

1. Selecting your land surveyor wisely
2. Does your land surveyor charge a realistic fee?
3. A thumbnail guide to land surveying fees
4. When a fixed fee may not be your best option


The problem with quick quotes and fast surveys

5. Why a quick quotation is a clear warning sign
6. The consequences of hiring a low-cost land surveyor
7. Why the promise of a fast survey is a clear warning sign


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​Making informed decisions about fee​​​s

1. Selecting your land surveyor wisely

Invest in the success of your project by devoting time and energy in selecting a dedicated, experienced land surveyor with a proven track record. Evaluate the surveyor's qualifications and experience, and have an in-depth conversation about your project needs and long-term goals.


2. Does your land surveyor charge a realistic fee?

A land surveyor's fee provides important information about the practitioner. Most professional surveyors charge realistic fees that are consistent with the value of their work.


3. A thumbnail guide to land surveying fees

     1. Professional Land Surveyors who charge realistic fees generally provide
         commensurate professional value to their clients.

     2. Surveyors who:

  • Don't conduct meticulous records research often charge lower fees
  • Don't search diligently for all available field evidence often charge lower fees
  • Shirk legal duties by not filing required Records of Survey often charge lower fees
  • Issue fast quotes on land they've never walked upon often charge lower fees
  • Provide formulaic online "insta-quotes" offer suspiciously low fees


4. When a fixed fee may not be your best option

Asking a land surveyor to commit to a fixed fee on a survey project that has many unknown variables can actually increase the total fees for a project. A prudent, responsible practitioner will need to allocate a reserve for the unquantifiable. Entering into an hourly fee arrangement with a reputable land surveyor who you've developed a mutual professional relationship with may ultimately cost substantially less than factoring in "Kentucky windage" for the unknown.

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The problem with quick quotes and fast surveys

5. Why a quick quotation is a warning sign

It's not particularly difficult these days, especially with online shopping, to gather low-cost price quotes with promises of a fast turn-around. You'll be doing yourself a huge disservice by "cutting to the chase" and insisting on a quick price quote for your land survey project - it doesn't work that way with land surveyors who act professionally and responsibly. You should certainly think twice about hiring any firm that wings it with a poorly researched low bid. Caveat emptor.


6. The consequences of hiring a low-cost land surveyor

              "He's a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
                       - Oscar Wilde 
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One often gets what one pays for when shopping around for the cheapest service available. Land in California can be fraught with perils lurking to trip the unwary, and the consequences of relying upon a fast, low price land survey may plague a client for years - the true long-term costs can be staggering to all concerned. See Cautionary Tales. Your valuable time and peace of mind deserve better. And so does your land. A low fee is not a bargain, it's a warning. 


7. Why the promise of a fast survey is a clear warning sign

​          "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything."
                - Wyatt Earp

Professional-quality land surveying mustn't be rushed and can't be done for bargain basement fees. A prudent surveyor conducts a methodical, deliberative investigation based upon available evidence before developing a carefully reasoned opinion of the most probable location of the property lines of a parcel of land. His determination of the boundaries must be able to withstand both close professional peer scrutiny and the test of time. A guarantee of a quick boundary survey should serve as a clear warning.

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Highlights:

+  What the cost of a land survey tells you about the surveyor
+  The consequences of hiring a low-cost land surveyor
+  Why fast quotations and fast surveys are a warning






Our Story
Our Clients
Selecting a Surveyor
Land Survey Info
When You Retain Us
Property Line Surveys

​About the Author:

Douglas Bell, PLS, is a Professional Land Surveyor licensed in four western states, and is a CFedS, a BLM Certified Federal Land Surveyor. He provides a range of property line, ALTA, boundary survey, topographic mapping, easement determination, encroachment investigation, and utility location services.

Mr. Bell provides land surveying services to engineers, architects, attorneys, and other land professionals in the private and public sectors in Southern California, primarily in Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County. He can be reached via email: AskDoug@Bell-Land-Surveying.com.

25 year member of the California Land Surveyors Association
Doug Bell is a CFedS - a Certified Federal Surveyor
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Diamond Bar, California, 91765
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What Others Say     

"I found your presentation impressive and very informative and definitely at the top of the presentations I've experienced during my 20+ years with the County."

James Barber
Section Head 
Land Acquisition & Dev.
LA County Parks and Rec.
Los Angeles, California