4 The Oregon Surveyor | Vol. 44, No. 5 Is Customer Education Worth It? From the PLSO Office Aimee McAuliffe PLSO Exec. Secretary I n the August eNews I wrote a blurb about the most popular question I’ve been getting via phone and email this summer. It comes in a few different for - mats, but themeaning is usually the same. What is the average cost of a survey? How much does a survey cost? I’ve been told by a trusted source that I spent too much on my survey. Can you tell me if they are right? I mean, all they did was throw up a few markers. * *My personal favorite. This begs the question. Is customer edu- cation worth your time? After all, you’re the professional. You put in the time, mon- ey, sweat, and tears into getting your PLS. Shouldn’t they just trust you that you know what you’re talking about? Yeah, ideally. But let’s switch hats for aminute. You have a big project that needs to be done. The city or county has told you that you need to get it done, but you don’t know the first thing about what it involves. What is the first thing you do? If you said “go to the internet,” you would be like everyone else in this scenario. So, let’s talk about the internet. What’s waiting for them? There is of course our great FAQ information page located at plso.org/faq. But there is also a whole lot of information out there that creates as many problems as it tries to solve. Bob Villa’s site recently listed that the max - imum cost for a homeowner survey in the Tigard 97224 zip code area should be $1,500, with the national average being $504. Clearly Bob’s team put a lot of research into providing this informa- tion, right? Well, they pretty much took it from Home Advisor. What does Home Advisor say? Evidently most professionals charge per square foot, averaging $0.50 to $0.70. On the plus side, Home Advisor goes into more detail about what land surveying is, different types, etc. It even tells you how to get a free or cheap land survey…admitting of course, that it won’t be recognized or official. Angi (formerly Angie’s List) is like Home Advisor—nearly identical. Both go into how many differ - ent scenarios there are, yet still maxing out at $1,500. In the not-so-distant past, this has been an annoyance. But what happens to the actual professionals doing the work when the bill costs over that magical threshold? Their customer starts telling people they were charged toomuch and can also lead to another fun element of the internet: anonymous online reviews. Reviews writ- ten by people that don’t know what they are talking about. They just heard, they felt their brother was cheated or nobody bothered telling the customer what was involved in coming to that cost. There are many examples of companies hav- ing to handle negative reviews on apps like Yelp and Google. A recent example is a couple in Vancouver that left one- star reviews for a roofing company, as well as filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. They wanted the report on the assessment the company made on why it was leaking and the timeline. The problem? They were the renters and hadn’t hired them. The landlord did. Per company policy, the renters weren’t enti - tled to the information. The more you go into the facts, you learn that they weren’t told that they weren’t going to be able to have access to the report directly, or that they would need to follow up with their landlord. Hence, rudeness happens on both ends, roofing company demands they take down the reviews, residents refuse to take down something they felt was true, and now a $112,000 law suit from the roofing company is in place. I’m thinking if the residents could afford that, they’d probably own their own home. I don’t see the outcome playing out well for either party. This isn’t exactly positive coverage for the company, and despite what Hollywood seems to think—not all coverage is good coverage. So, you tell me. Is customer education worth your time? Yes, it is. Customer education is the Joe Friday of Dragnet—it sticks to the facts of the project, giving the potential client all the information they need to make a proper decision.