Finding New Revenue Streams

Finding New Revenue Streams

Posted by Perry Trunick on Jan 15, 2018 1:52 pm

Do you work with landscapers to provide 3D scans or quick topos of residential properties before they begin their work? 
Last week's rapid snow melt showed me some problem areas in the yard.  We've only lived here about 2 months and I'm already thinking I may need to bite the bullet and bring in a landscaper.  Before I do that, I dug through the previous owner's files and found his "mortgage survey."  It's very rudimentary, and it had me asking myself just how easy it would have been to do a quick scan to gather some rough contours and elevations.  Is that a business opportunity for surveyors who already have the scanning capabilty?  And, is it an opportunity to up-sell a survey if, for instance, the project includes a fence?  Is it a good training opportunity as well - send some junior people out on quick projects where a "sealed" survey is not required?
The underlying question for surveyors is whether this is a cost effective way to generate some additional revenue and benefits for their business or a costly waste of time. 
Have you found other new ground to drive revenue based on tools and capabilities you already have?

Re: Finding New Revenue Streams

Posted by jkeithmaxwell on Jan 27, 2018 9:36 am

This seems a little like overkill. But, I can see using this as a sort of training exercise for new folks, or if you're trying to do a simple "Case Study" for marketing. Of course a good topographic survey would greatly help a landscaper on any type of major landscaping improvement project.

Getting the drainage right is usually the most important step (in my opinion) to keep any water issues from cropping up in the future. Having an original topo would not only give the landscaper data for the work, it would document the original site conditions.

With the proliferation of drone surveying I would think your idea would be very attractive to those folks. I'm sure more people can afford a $1500 drone versus a $100,000 scanner.

One idea I would throw out for you is to contact all of the attorneys in the area to let them know of your capabilities. I've used laser scans to produce maps and videos for presentation as an expert witness for lawsuits over drainage and construction defects cases. I'm working with a drone surveyor on a case right now to document some drainage issues. Exhibits like this play very well in depositions and especially in courtrooms.

I hope this info helps you in your search for ways to increase revenue from an asset you already own. Land Surveyors should always keep their eyes out for additional opportunities to use their existing assets in other ways.

My Blog | Pro17 Engineering - Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers

Re: Finding New Revenue Streams

Posted by Perry Trunick on Feb 9, 2018 1:22 pm

Thanks for adding to the discussion.  It clearly is overkill in many cases, but there is also that side you mention about keeping your eyes and ears open.  If you're surveying for a fence and the property owner (residential or commercial) is also puting in some landscaping or other features, it should be an almost automatic response that, "I can provide you with some valuable tools while I'm doing that boundary survey."  Look for the upsell.
You're correct that a drone operator with a $1,500 tool can clearly make some money at this where a surveyor sending out a one-man or two-man crew with a $100,000 piece of equipment would have a hard time charging enough to make a profit.  I like the idea of developing a case study or marketing tool - good for freshening up your Web site or promotion material.  If you put a dollar amount against the project as a marketing expense to decrease the overhead, it demonstrates some value.  For instance, this is a project that takes the same field resources as a boundary survey.  I would charge $800 for that survey.  If I place a value on the marketing tool (I'm generating a case study I would spend $200 of my marketing budget on), is it worth doing the job?  If it also provides a training opportunity, there is additional value - some direct value and some deferred, as in mistakes avoided in future as a result of better knowledge and familiarity with the equipment and processes.
But, I really like the idea of identifying new groups of clients - like lawyers.  Elaine Ball is writing about marketing in POB's Business Side column and describing how you identify and define a target market.  If you see a new market opportunity, that process can be critical to identifying whether or not it could be profitable.  If you send them your standard surveying promo, they may see limited value.  If you target the type of law practice and show them how you can help them develop their case, you have a targeted message for a specific customer.  And that comes back to whether or not it makes sense to take that job that could provide the case study you need to demonstrate your capability to your new prospective client.