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Re: Fee Information Sharing

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In a message dated 8/29/1999 7:26:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
chuckuc(--nospam--at) writes:

<< Most engineers don't seem to be very comfortable about discussing fees
 (either in large companies or private practice). >>

Chuck, I am writting to the list from my family's home in Skokie Illinois. I 
spent the last three and a half days driving  here from California. Here are 
some of the things that I have learned on the trip:

1. All of the hotels that I stayed in were within $3.00 of each other (Ramada 
Inn, Country Inn and Fairfield Inn by Marriott). 
2. Gas prices were within $0.05 per gallon within the same cities and within 
$0.020 per gallon from California to Illinois.
3. McDonalds and Burger King are priced about the same.
4. Computer software of similar use is the same price (Utilites such as Nuts 
& Bolts, Nortons, Fixit 98 etc.)
5. Doctors fee's are all within the same range for what Insurance Companies 
believe are appropriate Fee's for services rendered,
6. Mechanic's hourly labor rates are published
7. Movie tickets from competing studios are still the same.

I could go on for ever. Why, then, is it so unethical for a profession to 
determine their worth and allow engineers to compete around an established 
fee? This does not mean that engineers have to charge the same, but they need 
not be so far apart in their fee's.

The problem is the fear that has been drummed into professionals for years. 
The reality is that there is no law that prevents us from discussing fees or 
even establishing a range of fees for services performed. There is nothing 
wrong with setting a fee as long as you don't prevent an engineer from 
working if he choses to deviate from the suggested fee.

Once engineers start to discuss fees openly, we will be adequately 
compensated for our services. Until then, we will always be at the mercy of 
the bottom bidder.

Dennis Wish PE