Updated: Jun 22

Here is the process from your initial contact to the completion of the survey or "how we make the sausage":

1. Discuss whether you really need a survey. It depends, as does nearly every other aspect of this process.

2. Provide a base quote following initial research into the site to see if you are still interested. Some folks base their choice of surveyor only on price. I assure you, we are not the lowest price. There is always someone out there who does not value their time or service. I hear the horror stories after the survey is “complete” and nothing has been resolved.

3. I move ahead with further research of your property to see what surveys have been performed in the area, what aerial photographs reveal about the property, legal description, subdivision plat, assessor notes, etc.

4. I contact you. We discuss the details of the survey, cost, schedule and terms of payment. I send you a contract with scope of work for signature and return of document. I usually require payment of the agreed fee prior to putting you on the schedule. We take cash, check, Pay Pal and most credit cards.

5. We schedule your field survey for the first available day. At this time we are about six to twelve weeks out, depending on workload.

6. I perform further research, compile all research data, perform calculations and download into the field computer.

7. I will be at your property for the site survey. Most firms send a survey crew, none of them the Registrant who stamps your map or whose number is stamped on your new monument(s). I consider it critical for the supervising surveyor to be at the site to evaluate the evidence and perform searches for monuments at property corners, fences, walls, vegetation, adjacent buildings, etc. I will search for all available evidence and return to the office for evaluation.

If I find that all property corners are monumented and documented in a Recorded Survey or Subdivision Map, I will perform measurements on the found monuments and determine if they are the original monuments as described. If so, we are finished, unless you want a plat recorded with the County Recorder or additional staking. I will give you a price for this possibility in the contract. This is a rare occurrence. Usually there is some aspect of the survey that will trigger the necessity for a survey map to be recorded per Arizona statutes.

8. I download all data, perform calculations, review found monuments and determine if I can accept found monuments or need to set monuments. We usually set 18-inch 5/8” rebars with an aluminum cap placed firmly on the top of the rebar. The caps are stamped with my Arizona registration number and SALSA.

9. I return to your property site, set monuments if needed, place nails or spikes on property lines if needed and included in the contract, and walk the site with you to be sure all aspects of the survey are understood.

10. I use a computer aided drafting program to draw the map for recording. I provide explanations, if needed, for unusual circumstances, describe all monuments found and set, note fences, structures, etc. that provide evidence or affect the boundary location. This usually takes a week to two weeks to finish unless there is provision for faster service in the contract.

11. I send you a PDF or paper copy of the map for review and the final billing. You send or make the final payment.

12. A fellow surveyor reviews the map and provides corrections, if needed.

13. I send the map to a printing company for a 24”x36” mylar copy of the survey.

14. The map is recorded at the County Recorder’s office, usually at the end of each month. I send you the recording data.

This is probably more information than you wanted, but I find it necessary to describe the process so you can better understand the fee. Many people expect a survey that determines the corners of the most valuable asset in your possession to be around the same cost as a landscaper, plumber or electrician’s single service call. If there is a dispute with a neighbor, jurisdiction or HOA, you will want the Land Surveyor to testify on your behalf at a later date. It is best to consider all this prior to hiring someone who will define the boundaries of your property.

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Updated: Feb 10, 2019

I had a call from a gentleman who said he needed a boundary survey. When asked why he might need one, he said that the 40-foot tree near the boundary between himself and the neighboring property to the west had died. Through a lawyer, the off site owner of the neighboring property  had informed him that the dead tree was going to be removed and that he would be receiving a bill for half the services. Fortunately, the gentleman's home was located mid-town. I drove over and saw a dead 2-foot diameter pine tree square in the middle of a fence line that had been there since the 1950's. The gentleman was incensed because his absentee neighbor was dictating a plan of action.

I gave him an estimate for the cost of the boundary survey he was requesting and explained to him why the survey would probably  not resolve the problem. I suggested that he get two more quotes from licensed and bonded arborists for the removal of the tree. Then he could call his neighbor and discuss which company to use and the cost.  Apparently, it has all worked out.


Potential clients do not always need a land survey. Sometimes they need better neighbors and sometimes they just need to be better neighbors.

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Updated: Feb 10, 2019

From the annals of many moons ago...

So, today Corporate sends the Marketing “Team Leader” and her “Consultant” to talk about employees’ use of “Linked In”. You know the routine. They provide lunch and you get to eat and listen to some corporate, party-line bullshit for an hour. It is obvious to anyone who has worked in one of these national engineering sweat shops that “free” lunch is not free and you are much better off taking your burro or sandwich outside for an hour of semi-peace. Hell, buying lunch for everyone in the department at a five-star restaurant is “free” in comparison. At least all can speak and the bullshit is minimal. But, I’m a slow learner. They go through the typical rah-rah about the benefits of Linked In for the company and the employee, before the fated “company policy” phrase comes raining down. “You wouldn’t want to send an invitation to Mr. Fluke. Nooooooooooo.” Her head is rolling slowly back and forth with that knowing “no fool would ever do such a stupid thing” look. “WE do not send invitations UP. We send invitations horizontally,” Hands down flowing out and very horizontally to the side with “the whole fucking world knows that” look. If you sent an invitation to Mr. Fluke or to your Team Leader, that might create a difficult situation. If, say, they had to let you go and that invitation was on Linked In…well…” There’s that “every dumb fuck knows what would happen then” look. I call it the “Know Your Place” or the “Don’t Be Getting Uppity” policy. “And what about our competitors? Would you want to have them as your contacts on Linked In”? She’s not nodding or shaking. That’s a bad idea in a company meeting. Employees like to know what’s coming and this is more of a “we have a difficult situation…the canary has died and the lights are going out” nod… “Well, it might be good to know what our competitor is doing?” She’s looking over her glasses looking for signs of life in a steadily declining audience. One poor, unsuspecting intern takes the bait and nods. She jumps on that poor girl like a gator on a baby deer. “But wouldn’t they be seeing what you’re doing, TOO?” She’s looking over her glasses, head bobbing up and down with that “well…you sure as shit should have known that” look. “Yes, they might. But we know that most people put their initial information in and only look at the page occasionally after that. Soooooo…if you are an active user…” I jerked awake thinking she was talking about beer or drugs. No such luck. “Then you can keep tabs on your competition and learn what they are doing.” Whoa. Back up. You said they probably posted rarely after they’re initial visit. So, I am spending time on my site per your instructions and this supremely intelligent competitor is gleaning it all at no cost. Honey, you ain’t ever been in the piranha pool. “And WE DO NOT…let me repeat…WE DO NOT send or accept links to previous employees.” Her head is bobbing up and down like a dashboard bobble-head Jesus. “Youuuuuu don’t know why they are no longer employed here. There might be some legal ramification if you are linked to someone who was LET GO. It might be something that WE don’t want to be associated with. Certainly, WE don’t want to give them a recommendation. You don’t have enough information to do that.” So, I have a new attitude after this little talk. I have had my learning hat on…In the office we better know our places. Don’t be dicking around with the Big Dogs. They might want to can your ass and they don’t need it to be all mucked up prior to said canning. For Buddha’s sake, do not associate with those slime-ridden former employees. Who knows what diseases of the mind might lurk in that communication on Linked. AND…(drum roll) don’t trust them stinking competitors. They are lurking out there trying to get all that valuable information on Linked In. Play it close to your chest, boys and grrrls.

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