I sympathise with your feelings on this Hermit, the only thing I would say is it's not always down to your client but down to theirs. I do most of my work in the U.K directly for architects. These guys know what they are looking for in a survey so appreciate it when they get a good job. However, since the recession began I have lost contracts for the sake of a few ££££, my client, the architect will want me to to do the job but their client will just point at the cheapest price. The architect can't argue that the client will get an inferior job as the client will then say "well, why do you have companies that don't do a solid job on your tender list?" Believe me the recession is as bad in the U.K and Europe as it is in the U.S.
One tried and trusted phrase is "no, I'm not expensive, I'm the cheapest because I will do it once and do it right" . Always worth a try.
I’ve been in this game 30 years now and all I would say Hermit is don’t lower your standards to try and compete, keep up to the high levels but accept you’re going to make less and work harder in the short term but in the long run quality will prevail.
"What do I tell that client that says, "You want how much to give me an estimate? Good luck getting that, the other guy said he'd do the whole survey for that much!"
I don't charge for proposals myself and we send out a few a week. We don't get all the projects either and we hear the same things that you hear about the price from the price shoppers.... We don't really want them as clients, anyway.......
I cannot define what makes some people price consious and others not so price consious but more aware of professionalism. It's just many different qualities such as loca experience. I think that part of my "success' is that I've been surveying here for over 25 years and have a certain reputation for differeing types of projects.. In addition I have diversified into GPS and boundary issues. Add to that our preference for "pre-design" topographic and boundary surveys and we keep busy. We can do more and would rather do more but with this economy it's been a hard two and a half years!
Make sure that your current clients are happy and ask if you can use them as references!!
Good Luck, hang in there!!
DENNIS C. DRUMM , PLS, Chair
JOEL P. GOODMONSON , PE, Vice Chair
PETER HALE , PLS, Secretary
SCOTT D. CAMERON , PLS, Member
JOHN R. DUFF , PE, Member
ROBERT J. FIGUERIDO , PE, Member
MAURICE M. PILETTE , PE, Member
PAUL D. TURBIDE , PE-PLS, Member
RONALD WILLEY , PE, Member