How to Scale a Small Surveying Business in a Talent Crunch

Hiring more people is one way to expand your capabilities to meet demand for more surveys. But it’s not the only way.

If you manage a survey department or run a surveying or engineering firm, you’re well aware of the labor shortage. Everyone feels the strain of finding (and then retaining) quality talent when so many career paths vie for the attention of possible hires. How can you scale your business when the cap on growth is not the availability of projects but the labor to complete them?

Technology can make a big difference. The latest generation of total stations, survey poles, and smart antennas are leaps and bounds ahead of traditional forms of measurement and can deliver numerous benefits to your business.

Improve Surveying Speed and Accuracy with Automation

Gone are the days when multi-person crews were required to survey nearly any project in a timely manner. Now, with the right tools, a single surveyor can often capture the data they need from a site in a day, sometimes in a matter of hours. All of this means that a surveying business can use its existing talent pool to complete more projects than ever before in the same amount of time.

“Speed is everything when there’s a bunch of work to be done and there’s not enough people to do it,” says Mark Borys, survey director of BBA Land Surveying, LLC, in Renton, WA, which he owns with his wife Nicole. “It’s cost effective to buy a piece of equipment that is going to make you that much faster. The quality of the product is going to increase, and you’re going to be able to be more hands-on with your surveys. It’s just the way to go.”

“Our capabilities [as surveyors] are growing exponentially.”

— Mark Borys, PLS

BBA Land Surveying uses a Leica GS16 GNSS receiver and a Leica TS16 total station because of the proven speed and reliability of these solutions. Recently, the firm invested in the new Leica AP20 AutoPole survey pole system, which automatically records pole height and eliminates the need to level the pole through tilt compensation. These investments have enabled the business to be highly efficient in completing projects.

“Ingenuity like that is instrumental to the industry and positively affects our society in really impactful ways,” he says. “Our capabilities [as surveyors] are growing exponentially.”

Innovations like the AP20 AutoPole (above) let you easily measure hard-to-reach places, like the wall behind this row of hedges. Source: Mark Borys

Increase the Surveying Fun Factor with Technology

In addition to increasing efficiency, investing in technology has a direct impact on job satisfaction, which can assist with retaining quality talent and recruiting more people. New technology can remove old headaches associated with traditional forms of measurement (even something as simple as no longer needing to bushwhack through undergrowth to get accurate measurements) and can offer employees new skills to learn as they master their new tools.

Field software also plays a role by allowing for easy management of a mass of projects while being intuitive and user-friendly. It can be integrated into a workflow seamlessly, and new hires can learn how to employ its efficiencies with ease.

When talent is tight, technology allows you to maximize your resources while delivering the best value and quality to your clients.

And, as Mark says, “We’ve got to make surveying as fun as we possibly can.”

To talk to one of our experts and learn more about ways to optimize your surveying potential, please contact us.