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RLFOLEY(--nospam--at) wrote:
> In a message dated 97-02-25 01:20:06 EST, you write:
> >  wish someone could help unite our efforts to overcome this degradation.
> I have been in private practice for  29 years so I am even 2.9x more
> than you, Dennis.
> In the late 70's I helped gather Orange County S.E.'s for regular lunch
> meetings to discuss mutual problems.  It was  benificial to face your
> competitors and get to know them. We had these same discussions about
> clients and accomodating engineers.  The real problem was that these
> engineers were for the most part not interested in coming to our meetings.
> again we were preaching to the choir, and sometime I suspected even some of
> the choir members strayed from time to time.
> Rationalization of fees will always take place and you have just read many
> this thread; I charge as much as I think I can get; I charge less the first
> time to get a client; I ask the client how much he is willing to pay; If
> not busy I'll charge less, etc. As long as there is this type of rationale
> used to set our fee structure, is it any wonder the client feels he should
> "shop" around.
> We have ourselves to blame and also, personally I feel in addition we have
> gotten little support in the area of proper fee structures from SEAOC.
> Thank you for your concerns and good efforts
> RL Foley, SE
Bravo, Dick.
I agree with your comments on how you arrive at a fee structure,
and I don't know if that should change even if it could. I'm a
big fan of the free enterprise system. In my personal (and humble)
opinion, I think SEAOC has fallen short in promoting the PROFESSIONALS
vs. the profession. It would be nice to see some business seminars
put on by the organization that would help improve the ways we
can increase our fees. It would be nice to see some CODE (both UBC
and Business and Professions Code) changes where we don't have to
compete with people that are not qualified to do structural engineering.
When I see a seminar coming up on the design and detailing of wood
framed structures for example, it would be nice to have a discussion 
about how much time it takes to perform the due diligence. From prior
discussions, it appears that we are all charging about the right hourly
rate. It just seems that, when a presentation is made about what we
should consider in a design example, a parallel discussion should take
place about how much time it takes to perform the due diligence.
Consideration should be made also about the percentage of the total A-E
fee as compared to the proportionate (word?) liability.

While we all are competitors, we are also colleagues. While offering an
attractive fee when slow or trying to develop a new client is reasonable
and makes sense, some care should be taken about setting precedence or
affecting the entire market. I recently received a telephone call from
a prospective client who wanted me to consider a single story
structure. This was a fairly simple project, maybe only a steel frame at
the garage. The client told me that he had already gotten a quote to do
"calc and sketch" for $500. At the time I got this call, I REALLY could
have used $500. But, even if I only spent 6-8 hrs on this, I decided it
wasn't worth stamping and signing for that. Whoever is doing these kinds
of jobs for $500 shouldn't. Even if they're moonlighting, I really don't
care how much profit they believe they are making. This kind of fee
all of us.

Off the soap box for now.
Bill Allen

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.