Pricing and Quoting Land Surveys

When pricing or quoting land surveys, it is important to keep in mind that we really have no idea how difficult a job will be or how long a job will take until we have completed the survey and you receive it in your inbox.  Because the real estate industry demands that we price the job before we get a chance to even see the property, we have some very general guidelines that we follow, and we have learned to be on the lookout for some very particular red flags that when we see, we are forced to increase our prices in order to limit our liability when accepting that particular survey job.

Land Survey Companies often have clients that want us to give them a flat price for all surveys, no matter what, and some companies are willing to oblige.  From what we hear, they love it because they can insert the same price onto the HUD immediately when they open their file.  Unfortunately, because every property is so very different, every survey is incredibly different..   For land surveyors, the file can possibly represent a property with no survey monuments in the immediate area, an overgrown portion of the lot, deed conveyance errors, legal description errors, plat errors or any other sort of numerous problems that can represent hours or even days searching for clues to put this puzzle together.   When land surveyors run up against these types issues, best land survey companies will do everything possible to try to understand what we have to work with and communicate all of the issues with our clients as quickly and succinctly as possible.  Then, the best land surveyors work with their clients to see how to best move forward with the client’s and the general public’s best interest at heart, together.

When survey prices are set at a flat fee, the survey company is left in a terrible spot with very few good options.  They might call their client back and say that they will not complete the job unless they get paid more, or even worse, they might choose to not take the time or effort to properly communicate the important issues to you and your client on the survey.  Even worse than that, they might just make up the survey and hope and pray that no one notices until they are out of business.

For this reason, Exacta would much rather take a quick look at each property prior to committing to a price.  Then, we send a confirmation email with a firm price and expected turnaround time.  For our clients who place their orders directly in STARS, they typically receive their confirmation emails within a couple of working hours.  Our research team will briefly research the plat (if there is one), the deed, the tax map and an aerial view of the parcel.  Looking at these basic documents, we should be able to notice most potential pitfalls.  Then, we price the survey according to an estimation of the additional time needed to deal with these potential problems.

Incredibly rarely (less than one thousandth of one percent of the time), we will need to go back to our clients to let them know that there is no possible way to complete a survey given the available information and its relationship to any logical survey monuments. In these rare cases, we will always provide a sketch of what was recovered laid over all of the deed sketches of all of the surrounding parcels so that our client always knows exactly what we and their clients are up against.

We make the decision to do the right thing by our clients, the public and our team with every survey that we do.  We pay our team fairly, and they do a great job.   Every aspect of every process in our office was set up to provide a better experience for our clients and their clients.

Below is a list of potential red flags and pitfalls that can drastically increase the time needed to properly complete a boundary survey and therefore might increase the price of the survey:

  • A Metes and Bounds Legal Description
  • A Sectional Breakdown Legal Description
  • Neighboring Parcels not residential in nature
  • A Plat recorded before 1950
  • A previous deed of record prior to 1950
  • Access to needed research
  • More that 12 Major Structure Corners (Homes, garages, barns, stables. etc…)
  • More than 12 Minor Improvement corners (intricate patios, sidewalks, driveways, pools, tennis courts, etc…)
  • Waterfront Parcels
  • Overgrown Vegetation
  • Traffic and Pedestrian Safety
  • Commercial Usage
  • ALTA/ ACSM Standards
  • Survey will be used for Permitting or Builder’s Services