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Goin' Solo  

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Posts: 23
20+ posts
Joined: 8 years ago

Been lurking here for a long time.  Posted in the past for motivation to obtain the schooling necessary to get my professional licenses.  A lot has happened since then and now... new jobs, new licenses, new motivations...

But now I'm going out on my own.  

And I've been preparing for a while, but suddenly it's all moving quickly and I have a few things left to figure out.  So I seek advice.

I need to figure out a CAD program to go with.  Can other software receive Civil 3d files?  For example, if a client sends a C3D file, can I open it in Carlson to create my stakeout points?

I'm still looking for equipment.  I'm supposed to be receiving a quote from the local guy for a used Spectra Robot.  I think its a Focus 30.

I'm looking for insurance.  I've talked to my Auto Provider and they said that I can just switch my truck to business use.  But I am having trouble finding a source for Professional Liability and the like.  I tried the big google search answers, but their exclusions seem to bounce me (and seemingly any surveyor) out.

I need to figure out a standard contract to use.  

I need to build a truck box and cap. (Can someone let me know what size square is necessary to fit a Tri-Max Tripod?) I need to find a good accountant.  I need to get my name out.  I need to get moving.

Sorry for the rambling, but like I said, any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

13 Replies
James Fleming
Posts: 5181
5,000+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

Check and see if there is an E&O provider who presents at, as supports, your state association. 

A good professional liability insurance firm will also help you work through a standard contract.  


Tim V. PLS
Posts: 53
50+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

CAD: recent thread here regarding value of Civil 3d. I fall on the side of my clients use Civil 3d so that's what I use.

Assurance Risk in Colorado . They've been my broker for years and have treated me well. 303-454-9562.

Standard contract: someone from the old POB message board sent me a bunch of samples when I had the same question as starting out. I can send them to you. (can you attached files to pm here?)

I use drawers for my tripods, so you'll have to get your tape out...

Accountant: ask someone you know and respect who they use locally.

Name out: marketing, marketing, marketing.

Get moving: Start. that's the 1st step.


Good luck!!!!!


I have an excess Trimble 5603 robot. Currently exchanging messages with someone from here regarding it...

1 Reply
Joined: 12 months ago

20+ posts
Posts: 39

Love to see the contract examples you have in place

Daniel Ralph
Posts: 600
500+ posts
Joined: 5 years ago

NSPS is my resource for E&O insurance. Car and business is obtained locally. 

Posts: 345
250+ posts
Joined: 7 years ago

When we started out we knew we had to spend money to market our business. We took business cards, donuts a brochures to every bank, real estate office, engineers office, and architects office in a 2 hour radius of our office. We had ALOT of uncomfortable conversations, had to bite our tongue a bit and learned that most had never seen a surveyor walk through their door.

You need to get a website setup, and get some google reviews also get a Facebook page and LinkedIn page set up. People actually look at these and take strangers reviews for the gospel.....

Swallow your pride, bite your tongue, don’t over commit and don’t miss a deadline on any work you can get to pay bills. It won’t take long before you can start cherry picking your work.

Hire some part time help to help you with anything that you can let go of, even if it is 3 hours a week so you can focus on more pertinent task. 

Lastly, learn from me and remember to live a little.


We’ve been in business 2 1/2 years. I worked 65-80 hours a week for the first year and finally in the last couple of months I’ve started working less than 60, which is my fault for not letting go of small task and not being willing to say “no I’m not making that deadline”

1 Reply
Ken Salzmann
Joined: 9 years ago

500+ posts
Posts: 500
Posted by: TXSurveyor

You need to get a website setup, and get some google reviews also get a Facebook page and LinkedIn page set up. People actually look at these and take strangers reviews for the gospel.....

Lots of good advice so far. 

Regarding a website, you do know our host here specializes in websites for surveyors.  He's good!


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