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Pole Cat
(@pole-cat)
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November 30, 2018 3:06 pm  

Hi everyone, with the approval of a new robotic (the companies first one), there was the questions of how much does it get billed out as for the 1 man crew running it, or even two if it differs for you.  We are in Massachusetts and our rates for 2 man is around 165p/h.  Any insight would be great!

Also just joined after stalking the forums for a while, y;all are great.


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jamieinct
(@jamieinct)
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November 30, 2018 5:27 pm  

We are in CT. All our instruments that we use are robotic. Our billing is around 135 per hour for 1 person or 200 per hour for two of us. Good luck

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Jim Frame
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November 30, 2018 5:37 pm  

My 1-man crew rate is 80% of my 2-man rate.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616


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Brad Ott
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November 30, 2018 5:42 pm  

Me and my robot collect at least 200 p/h.

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flyin solo
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November 30, 2018 9:02 pm  

Why should it be any less? You’re ultimately providing more efficient service when all factors are considered. In the end your clients’ cumulative costs will be lower. So why double down on cutting yourself out of the equation?


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John Putnam
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December 1, 2018 7:04 am  

Jim is correct, a one person crew should not cost quite as much as a two person crew.  The simple fact is one person is not as effective as two for certain tasks where a crew can split.  Searching for pins, setting control and dipping MHs comes to mind.  This is just from my 20+ years experience running robotics.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by John Putnam

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OR, CA, WA & ID


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Cameron Watson PLS
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December 1, 2018 7:51 am  

At a bare minimum the robot needs to pay for itself but should also make profit just like a person would.  Figure your equipment costs including financing (even if it was a cash purchase) and expected maintenance then back that out to an hourly cost then multiply by whatever wage multiplier your company wants to achieve on its personnel.  Add that to whatever your existing 1-person and/or 2-person crew rates are.  A good robot will increase the efficiency of either crew type in nearly every task.  Good luck and congrats on the purchase!

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.


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Mark Mayer
(@mark-mayer)
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December 1, 2018 10:59 am  
Posted by: jamieinct

We are in CT. All our instruments that we use are robotic. Our billing is around 135 per hour for 1 person or 200 per hour for two of us. Good luck

I have seen these rates in the Portland area. My own are about 10% lower.  But things have been rocket hot for the last couple of years. Those rates may be a little inflated for this area.  

The spread between 1-person and 2-person rates is dependent upon the quality of the persons. If the 2nd person is little more than a gopher for the 1st, the spread will be low. So I recommend a formulaic approach. Wages * multiplier plus a charge for equipment.  A typical multiplier is 3.0.  So if total hourly wages on crew come to $50/hr  - perhaps $35 for the top guy and $15 for the gopher - that's $150 for the 2-person and $105 for the 1-person. 

As for equipment charges, you might expect your equipment payback time on a robot to be 1 year. In that year your robot might be billable for 75% of  40 hrs per work. ie/Roughly 1500 hours in a year.  For a $30,000 robot that's $20/hr. 

So adding up we might have $125/hr for a 1-person crew rate and $170/hr for a 2-person. You should substitute your own numbers into this and see what you come up with.   

As I say the local market is hot. The multipliers being used right now are probably well over 3.0.  Back in 2010 the multipliers were well below that. 

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Pole Cat
(@pole-cat)
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December 1, 2018 12:09 pm  

Love the theory Mark.  Everyone else this is awesome input.  I like the way mark thinks because in that equation I should be making much more than what im getting paid for what they charge >:)  but alas that is not my focus for right now.  I leaning twards charging a little extra on both ends, but i like the 1 man crew idea being about 80% of what the two man crew is, since 2 man crews are just usually more efficiant, thank you Jim.  The extra on both ends is simply having the better equipment to give better quality as well as making the work faster (Cameron),(&) youre right Flyin' we cant cut ourselves short.

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flyin solo
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December 1, 2018 3:56 pm  

lemme expound further on my thoughts, now that i'm not half asleep and just got out of one of the worst CEU seminars i've ever endured:

in my opinion a 1-man robotic crew is worth every bit what a 2 man crew is worth.  and here's why: 

tree: on any particular day or job, a well skilled robot operator will work slightly slower or equal to an equally skilled two man crew in most scenarios (outside of layout work).  however, i think there's a cumulative improvement in the quality of work coming out of a solo robotic operator due to the single source point in data collection.  in other words- things will be shot "better", generally speaking, because the single (and however insignificant) gap between the person giving the shot and the person holding the collector. 

forest: over the course of a year's time when one compares the cost of a robot against the average salary of an i-man, and the relative expenses of insurance of property vs. medical and maintenance costs (check ups on a robot, sick/hangover/etc days for the average i-man), the advantages start tipping well in favor of a 1-man crew.

so, are you then compelled to pass that along to the client?  i mean, i reckon that's your individual prerogative, however i treat improvements in technology as aids to improve my profit margin as much as an improvement in the quality of my work.  doesn't mean i'm taking the client for a ride- if my proposal is higher than the other guy with a robot (or a two man crew), he'll get the work in a lot of cases.  which is fine.  but i don't bid a job lower because i've essentially replaced a crew member with a more reliable and cost-effective one.  and for the record- i take the same position in regard to the atv.  (granted, i'm typically not doing anything bigger than 70-80 acres).  the idea that i'm going to start walking my fees back down because i incurred a very significant expense for the sake of improved efficiency is just ludicrous to me.  but, i have that luxury right now, i guess.  talk to me again when the next crash comes (and all this gear is paid for...).

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by flyin solo

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Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
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December 1, 2018 4:11 pm  

Without your robot, GPS, Metal Detector, or your Total Station you're not worth anything. You should have an hourly crew rate that covers equipment. who would have the time to itemize how much time they used their robot on a job? I charge $150/hr. fully equipped with any equipment I need to do the job. I know Anal Surveyors that itemize how many lathe, rebar, travel mileage, and other expendables they use on a job, but they don't charge extra for their surveying equipment. That kind of billing would sure take the fun out of surveying. You would get to spend alot of time with your Bookkeeper.


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Cameron Watson PLS
(@cameron-watson-pls)
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December 1, 2018 4:20 pm  
Posted by: flyin solo

in my opinion a 1-man robotic crew is worth every bit what a 2 man crew is worth. 

My only comment to this would be I think you are comparing a 1-person robotic crew to a 2-person conventional crew.  If it were a comparison to a 2-person robotic crew the 2-person would have to be billed out at more than the 1-person right?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.


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flyin solo
(@flyin-solo)
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December 1, 2018 4:22 pm  
Posted by: Cameron Watson PLS
Posted by: flyin solo

in my opinion a 1-man robotic crew is worth every bit what a 2 man crew is worth. 

My only comment to this would be I think you are comparing a 1-person robotic crew to a 2-person conventional crew.  If it were a comparison to a 2-person robotic crew the 2-person would have to be billed out at more than the 1-person right?

of course.  my only point is that i equate, for billing purposes, a robot at 1:1 to a human i-man.


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Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
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December 1, 2018 6:07 pm  

I know I'm not as fast working 1-man than working 2-man, so I discount accordingly.  My equipment costs are essentially the same either way, but I give the client a break to account for the difference in efficiency. 

I rarely work 2-man anymore anyway, so it's almost a moot point in my case.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616


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A Harris
(@a-harris)
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Posts: 7345
December 1, 2018 10:32 pm  

I rarely give a solid quote and exist by fee billing.
The amount of the invoice is based upon who is on the gun, who is driving the stakes and how much time it takes for me to do the deciding part and then place that in a fee basis for what is being surveyed and the consideration of a $$$ amount for my liability.

RPLS NE Texas
d[-_-]b


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