Field Crew Billing
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!
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...).
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.
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.
It depends on the two man robot crew. In my late twenties, I and another fella, similar in age, worked with an Allegro DC running Carlson SurvCE with a 1100 series Leica Robot. We were both active and in great shape, slightly competitive, and able communicate to one another easily with our own system of hand and radio signals. With a robot, we were more than twice as fast working together versus either one of us working solo. I don't expect field hands to run around like a fool like I did and still do sometimes. The hardest part of creating a tiered system for different combinations of crew and equipment is thinking of what to call the divisions.