How to Start a Land Surveying Business

land surveyor focusing equipment on tripod, how to start a land surveying business

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The places we live, the stores we shop, the stadiums we attend, and the roads, highways, and bridges we drive all have one thing in common: they underwent a highly technical land survey analysis before construction. The boundaries, elevations, topography, hydrography, and other land features were measured, mapped, and evaluated using advanced technology. The resulting information was used by architects, engineers, and construction companies when planning construction projects.

Roads, highways, tunnels, homes, and buildings will continue to be built in areas all over the United States, which is great news for land surveyors nationwide. Some surveyors enjoy working at an established company that provides them with ongoing work and a stable income. And others have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to break free and launch a startup. If that describes you, keep reading this blog article from Balboa Capital. It explains how to start a land surveying business.

Write a business plan.

Starting a survey business entails many tasks. One of the first tasks is to create a comprehensive business plan outlining your goals and objectives, the types of surveying you will offer, the sectors you will target, and the strategies you will use to market your business, generate leads, and attract partners. A well-crafted plan helps ensure your land surveying business has the best chance of success.

You can write your business plan or hire a business consultant to write it for you. If you opt for the latter, providing your consultant with as much information as possible is essential. Hence, your finished business plan contains information about your goals, skills, philosophy, brand attributes, etc., for optimum personalization and effectiveness.

You can use your name or create a name for your land surveying business. Using your name is the easiest, and it allows for more personalization. If you want to use a fictitious business name, remember that it might be trademarked. Running business names by a business or intellectual property attorney is recommended to ensure your name is free to use.

Once you decide on a name for your surveying business, you can proceed with its legal structure. You can choose from a “doing business as” (DBA), a limited liability corporation (LLC), or a corporation. A DBA does not protect your personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Structuring your business as an LLC or a traditional corporation affords you more protection. Business owners have their own needs and goals, so consult a business attorney before deciding on a legal structure.

Obtain business licenses and insurance.

A business license and insurance can protect your surveying company from potential legal issues and financial losses. They can also help you comply with local and state regulations. Furthermore, having a license or insurance can help you gain customers’ trust and establish credibility in the marketplace. Check with your state and city government websites to determine what license is required to operate a surveying company.

You may also need specialized training and coursework to earn industry certifications. This requires time and effort, but it can increase your skillset and knowledge and help you attract more clients. If you take courses in person, you can meet with your peers and grow your professional network.

Invest in surveying equipment.

You will use precision instruments and equipment every day you work. Having state-of-the-art surveying equipment that measures distance, elevation, and other land-related attributes with pinpoint accuracy is essential. Investing in equipment such as a robotic total station, theodolite, clinometer, prism, pipe laser, tripod, and data collector requires a sizeable investment.

If you cannot buy equipment outright, consider land surveying equipment financing. This is a popular option among land surveying business owners because it does not require a significant upfront expense. Instead, you obtain funding to finance equipment and make payments over an agreed-upon term with your lender.

You will also need a truck to get you to and from locations and tackle rough terrain. You will be surveying areas without roads, so a truck with four-wheel drive and a high-powered engine is a good option. Lastly, ensure your vehicle has a secure storage area for your expensive equipment.

Get the word out.

Once your surveying business is up and running, you need to get the word out to attract clients. You can do this by contacting businesses that work with land surveying companies. These include residential and commercial construction companies, real estate firms, and architects. In addition, consider contacting real estate attorneys who might need to hire someone in your field.

Another way to boost brand awareness is to attend regional home shows. Budget permitting, you might consider setting up a booth at a show and distributing business cards and flyers to attendees. To find out if shows are taking place in your area, contact your Chamber of Commerce. Lastly, having a website presence can help increase the visibility of your business and generate leads.

Starting a land surveying business can be rewarding and profitable. It can also be challenging, as it requires knowledge of the surveying industry, local regulations, and the necessary equipment. However, with the proper steps and resources, you can get your business up and running in a relatively short time frame.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.