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land surveyorIf you want a baker to supply a cake for your big event, you can taste cake samples and determine whether they’re any good at baking. Need an interior designer? Check out her portfolio. But when hiring a land surveyor, things get tricky. What the heck is he doing out in a field with that weird equipment?
At Buzz Custom Fence, we have cracked the code of land surveyors. We had to, since their property line reports dictate where we can and can’t put up fences. And we’re happy to share the mysteries of surveying with you, our favorite customers.

What is a Surveyor, Anyway?

So who are these guys and gals in the field? Their job doesn’t sound that difficult – figuring out property boundaries and preparing reports – but this work requires way more training than the general public realizes. To earn even a surveyor in training certification, they must be approved by the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying and pass an exam. They have to hold a sufficient mix of education and experience in surveying before they can even take the test! This could range from a four-year BS degree in surveying to a high school graduate who’s worked for four years under a registered professional land surveyor. Once they earn surveyor in training certification, they can continue their education until they feel ready to apply for a license as a registered professional land surveyor.

Okay, So You Need a Surveyor

At Buzz, a lot of our business is by word of mouth. Happy customers often give reliable recommendations for fence building and every other kind of service. So if you have any friends who have hired land surveyors, or you know any contractors, real estate agents, or people with other related professions, see if they have any suggestions.  Your title company is also a good place to ask.
If you don’t know anyone who works with surveyors, try checking your state board. In many states, including Texas, the public can search the roster of licensed surveyors to find a qualified surveyor nearby.
Once you’ve found likely candidates, go to the website of the state board and check to make sure these individuals are actually licensed. Establishing property lines is serious business, so you want a qualified, licensed professional. Disregard any fly-by-nighters.

Getting to Know You

Your surveyor doesn’t need to become your best bud. But qualities of good communication, reliability, sanity and non-creepiness are important when hiring somebody who will be hanging around your house and providing an important service. Interview your candidates about their relevant experience. If you need a boundary survey for your home, make sure the person you hire has done plenty of similar projects. If you’re dealing with commercial real estate, you might need a surveyor who’s experienced in the American Land Title Association/American Congress on Surveying and Mapping survey format. Ask for references and estimates of both time and cost. Clarify whether there will be surcharges due to weather complications and travel time to your property.
After your interview, be sure to follow up on the references. How many aggravations could be prevented by this little step?
Then make your decision. You know that old adage that when hiring people for services, you can only pick two out of three between good, fast and cheap? Make sure “good” is one of your two attributes when hiring a surveyor.

Post-Survey

Now you’ve successfully hired a surveyor and have received a report on your boundary lines. What comes next? Maybe a new fence. If that’s what you need, call your friends at Buzz. We know a lot about surveyors, but we know even more about fences.
 
Photo courtesy on Flickr