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RE: Engineering compensation

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The problem is you have folks like me, just starting out with a rather slim
client base to start with, who "pee in the pool" so to speak. Although I
want to keep my rates up high, the fact is that it is AWFULLY difficult at
this juncture for me to turn down any work.

I just "fired" one client, an architect, for paying me peanuts, but I can't
really blame him for that. I agreed to take the job. In discussions with one
of his associates, it was revealed that the previous engineer they had doing
this work simply engaged in "plan stamping" of drawings that the Architect's
people would put together. He'd come in with a calculator, do a few quickie
calcs, scawl a couple of bits of info about reinforcing or beam sizing, and
then wait while the drawings were revised.

Then he'd seal them.

"Responsible charge?" You make the call. All I can say is, when I got the
drawings from the Architect (which I presume were the same design details,
notes, etc., that they previous engineer was signing off on) they weren't
worth printing on used toilet paper. So I'd spend one to two weeks, maybe
four hours a day, working on them, and getting paid about $300 for my

Okay, so I'm not doing that any more. But I was willing to do it for nine
months or so, just to be busy and have some small amount of money coming in.

That's part of the problem, then. What's the solution?

If I figure it out before I starve to death, I'll let you know.

William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas
Phone 281-492-2251
Fax 281-492-8203

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 2:39 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Engineering compensation

Scott Haan wrote:
> There is a simple solution to having a higher salary and it is simply be
> unwilling to work for less than you are worth.
I could not agree more.  This applies to private sector projects as well.
Our office does not get many of the projects we provide proposals on,
primarily because we are too expensive.  I learned along time ago that there
is a big difference between being paid what you are worth , being
profitable, and being busy.

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