In need of advicePosted by craig-chase on March 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm
This has probably been discussed before. We did surveying work for “Client A” 5 years ago. Client A went bankrupt (after we had been paid fortunately). The bank has sold the foreclosed lots to potential client B. Are we free to use the information that we obtained and were compensated for by client A to the benefit of client B? The information in question consists of 8 acres+/- of topo, control tied into boundary, septic system designs, etc.
- 12 Replies
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm
I’m of the opinion that the work belongs to the surveyor, not the client. Check your original agreement with client A and see if ownership was retained by the survey firm…
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm
Make a few field checks, recover your control and then if all checks, use the data you collected before. Be up front with this new client about what you did and bill accordingly.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm
I agree with Don. On the other hand, doing a survey on something you already surveyed for somebody else is like a dream come true. Heck ya, use YOUR data.
You’re in business to make money, and that’s one easy way. You can cut them some slack, but don’t go crazy.
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself “what is it worth to them?”
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm
I agree with Don on this. Unless specifically stated otherwise in the contract all data I collected is mine, copies of the map or plat may be given to the client but the data is mine.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm
“Update” is the word to consider so the client has the latest information.
Anything else is “old news”.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce your workload while charging the same amount
Reuse your old work, of course field check and verify
Recycle this information into new profit
You can explain the value of the product and offer a slight discount.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm
I agree with Don..100%..All our contracts say we own all data, maps, files, etc.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm
Tell Client B you had a big ! office fire and have no records of their project.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm
> This has probably been discussed before. We did surveying work for “Client A” 5 years ago. Client A went bankrupt (after we had been paid fortunately). The bank has sold the foreclosed lots to potential client B. Are we free to use the information that we obtained and were compensated for by client A to the benefit of client B? The information in question consists of 8 acres+/- of topo, control tied into boundary, septic system designs, etc.
When faced with this sort of question it is always good to refer to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Most state codes contain wording that is similar to those found in the NCEES Model Code of Ethics.
Licensees shall not accept compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one party for services pertaining to the same project, unless the circumstances are fully disclosed and agreed to by all interested parties.
I looked at the VT Code and to my surprise did not find words to that affect.
The code I posted would seem to bar you reusing the data without first getting the approval from Client A and Client B. However, that interpretation seems to revolve around the words “same project“. The situation you describe clearly seems to be two totally different projects. Were I in your position I would think very carefully about verifying the key data points and using your existing knowledge to the advantage of both you and Client B. (The advantage to Client B being that you can produce the desired results quicker than if you did not have the prior knowledge.)
Having said that, if you publish an hourly rate schedule I do not believe you can ethically charge for the time you previously spent gathering the data. If on the other hand you price each job individually, then the client is paying for your knowledge and not your time. In that case, rock and roll baby. Knowledge has value and you should be paid for that value.
Hope that gives you some things to consider.
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm
When in doubt, 3 steps…
- MemberMarch 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm
>all interested parties
One might argue that Client A is no longer an interested party since they don’t own the land?.
- MemberMarch 22, 2012 at 1:29 am
If client B gets the impression you are gauging for the same work, he may choose to look elsewhere on his next project and perhaps this one. If he is a one-race pony or one who frequents other surveyors, then sell him the product at 75% value, knowing he is coming through your door for one purpose: to maximize his margins.
Might they be a prospective and long-term client? He may be worth a more reasonable turn-over fee. When this happens, we have a policy to provide review of any old work which may include a site visit to verify there are no major changes, control and spot checks, updated borders and dates, and review for compliance with current codes and standards. This all takes time but I don’t think I would charge anything close to 50% of the original product (depending on size of the project) yet I am no fan of giving it away.
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