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RE: Retaining wall fees

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I don’t believe I am under pricing myself. In fact, I believe that if it weren’t for the software tools that I use, I wouldn’t be able to juggle the job into others that I am currently working on. I just don’t believe that I have to take advantage of the public because others are attempting to do so. If I can finish the retaining wall in an hour using a program like RetainPro then I have just earned $350.00 an hour – much more than I earn on almost any other type of project I do. I won’t compare myself to Doctors and Lawyers – with few exceptions they have peaked out their prices and are now having trouble making a living and many physicians in major cities are getting out of the medical field. I know lawyers and most burn a lot of hours to make a decent living unless they are an established firm. Those who can’t dip into the pot of insurance gold work for a living and legal reforms are preventing a lot of lawsuits these days – especially here in California where arbitration appears to be the rule rather than the exception.


The more you push, the more likely you are to price yourself out of the market. There are too many issues driving business throughout the world that prevents ambitious people from obtaining the high fees that they might have been able to get at one time – I’m not the problem here as I still believe that that $350.00 per hour earned designing one section of a long retaining wall was a damn good fee to get. It paid many of my bills.



Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant



-----Original Message-----
From: ASQENGG2(--nospam--at) [mailto:ASQENGG2(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 11:24 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Retaining wall fees


In a message dated 5/28/2004 1:12:55 PM Pacific Standard Time, jkilgore(--nospam--at) writes:

Charging the client by the
> square foot of total walls when you need only design 1-foot wide section
> depending on soil changes and retained heights is not an option here.
> Dennis

This is the problem with our profession is that we are undercharging ourselves.  Why not charge by percentage of the cost of the project just like the realtors do.  This is related to charging by square foot or by linear foot.  Charging nominal fee because we only need to do a section and simple calculations is downgrading our profession.  I think we should be compensated in relation for the number of years we have spent in the university and not only on the number of hours we spent on the job. I don't have a complain why doctors and lawyers charge more than the engineers but I  feel slighted when most jobs that need lower education receive more than engineers because they protect themselves by charging the minimum fees in relation to the cost of the job they are working on.  Something should be done so that it will be unethical to charge lower than the minimum prevailing charges!  


What is funny is that realtors compared to three years ago are now being paid double or triple because prices of houses doubled or tripled in the past three years while engineers are still charging almost the same thing.  Poor engineers!


I'm really frustrated the way engineers are being compensated to the point that I don't even encourage my kids to take up engineering.



A.S.Quilala Jr., P.E.



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