Community Forums


Fee collection  

Page 1 / 2

Jon Payne
Posts: 821
500+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

A post in the surveying & geomatics forum:

concerns missing out on being paid for work already completed.


We provide professional services that once released are difficult or impossible to get back.  The situation in that post is a prime example!!  I have been very fortunate in the small number of times I have had difficulty collecting and even in slow collections.  However, it can be frustrating when people are in hurry up mode to get your services then milk the time to pay their bill.  I'm the type that likes to get my bills paid as soon as possible - example, property tax bills came in the mail today and have already been paid.

I know many people are requiring percent down and remainder on delivery or full payment prior to delivery of survey plat.  These have been discussed often as to the benefits.  But would not have completely solved that original poster's problem.


Is anyone requiring payment in full prior to beginning the work?  If so, how is it working for you?

I have considered it, but hesitate to start that policy.  Not due to potential loss of business, but potential issues with me getting the work done or having collected for a job then a health issue crops up that prohibits getting it done.  It seems as simple as refunding the fee collected, but I haven't looked into any potential consequences of having collected payment and not delivered on services.

8 Replies
Just A. Surveyor
Posts: 1764
1,000+ posts
Joined: 2 years ago

To your question, NO.

50% upfront with the balance at completion. I do not release my survey until paid and I do not record it until paid. They do not even get to see it, touch it, lick it or sniff it.

Commercial clients are different. 

Posts: 118
100+ posts
Joined: 8 years ago

Only regular secure clients get any service without payment up front.

For small jobs, it's 60% minimum deposit. Most will go ahead and pay the full amount up front if it's a straightforward lump sum job.

Only surveyors would worry about losing business by requiring a deposit.

Most continue the same SOP along with the same complaints of not getting paid and not making any money.

If you're a one man show, it's hard to beat the cash in hand while on job business model.



Posts: 870
500+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

I understand what you are saying.   We require a deposit on the survey before beginning the survey.  This case was unique and my fault for not asking for that deposit.  Been in surveying for over 2o years and this is the first person to "stiff" me for my surveying fee.  The worst part of this experience for me is they are telling me what I should be charging and keeping the time clock on the amount of work I did.   LOL!   

2 Replies
Joined: 7 years ago

500+ posts
Posts: 515


I can justify anything: expensive equipment, research time, drafting time, stringent state requirements, but I never put a per hour number on it for Joe Six Pack.

I worked construction for farmers round here who would ask for what I thought was a lump sum price to do the work when I was kid. The ones who would inquire about a hourly rates would inevitably total up the time on the job with deducts for waiting for a concrete truck, taking a dump, or what have you. Then, they would send us an itemized list of deductions to our bill. Lesson eventually learned for me and my buddies.


Joined: 9 years ago

500+ posts
Posts: 870


I have two fees.   Office or Field.  When I am working on a project, I am either in the office or in the field.  This goof ball tried to compare my work to being a photographer.   I laugh and explained there is no comparison between the two professions.

I believe the Good Lord wants me to work on my legal side of the profession.

True Corner
Posts: 513
500+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

What I do:  I charge by the hour and draw a plat for everything I do (I like a paper record with my field work).  After the field work and plat is completed I send it out with an invoice.  I like payment within 30 days, either check or credit card.  Mechanics lien gets filed after 60 days if I don't get paid.  This has worked for all but two jobs in about 20 years.  I file a couple of mechanic lien warnings every year.

Page 1 / 2