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Re: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

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Personally, I do not consider $150 high.

My tax lawyer $250
My contracts attorney  $350
My accountant $250

The guy who operated the backhoe in my yard, $150

I wont even bring in doctors, dentists


Why professional engineers seem to be embarrassed to list an appropriate hourly fee is beyond me. Very little of my work is hourly, so the hourly fee schedule is really a formality. Like Gerard I don't believe in low bid and charging for extras, but if additional services are needed we use $150 as the contract rate for principal engineers, and $105 for staff engineers.

Paul


----- Original Message ----- From: "Gerard Madden, SE" <gmadden(--nospam--at)maddengine.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 11:25 AM
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!


Yes, maybe I should add that line right after, just so there is no
ambiguity.

The second one is sort of a blank check approach, but I still have my
clients sign a work authorization once I get a contractor needing something
stamped (or if they are wasting my time with phone calls every day ad
nausiem).

Is 150/hr high? No wonder I miss out on so many Kewl projects :) because I'm too expensive. No plans to change it down though and they get what they pay for. We should all post our hourly rates so we can all collude together like my old employer Enron. (kidding a little). But that won't eliminate the guy
who draws over architectural drawings and charges only for calcs and gets
all his money post-permit going to the field and providing "additional or
clarifying" details that should have been in the original CD package.

-gm


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)cox.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 10:13 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

Gerald -

All mine says is what I wrote:
"There are no "paid when/if paid" provisions in this agreement." Simple and
direct.

Yours sounds more complete, but mine is more direct. My insurance carrier
loved this provision in my proposal. Using both approaches doesn't seem bad
to me.

With regards to the language in the design section of your proposal, the
first sentence sounds good, but, the way I read it, the second looks like
the "blank check" approach. Your actual practice may in fact have a
statement of fee preceding the work, but I didn't see this.

I understand your policy with regards to residential clients. Most of the
people I know who focus on residential here in SoCal do the same thing. I
don't because I *hate* working with lay people. I do very little residential
anyway, so it's of little consequence. FWIW, good architectural clients to
me don't deal with too many jerk clients. Of course, one of the ways I
define "good architectural clients" is by judging how they pick clients. One advantage of working directly with the owner is that you don't have to file
a lien. You go directly to court (or mediation/binding arbitration,
depending on your contract language). To me, that's the best reason for
contracting directly with the owner.

$150/hr 8^O

Kewl!

:o)

T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
ALLEN DESIGNS
Consulting Structural Engineers
http://www.AllenDesigns.com
V (949) 248-8588 . F (949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)maddengine.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:45 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

The paid when/if paid clause, how is that worded? Mine goes like this next
to where the client signs his/her name:

"I authorize the above services at the proposed fee and payment schedule.
Payment of fees is not contingent upon payment from other sources and is due
at the time prior to the initial submittal to the building department."

And for changes I have this in my design fee section:

"Any work required above and beyond this amount will only be performed with
additional written authorization(s) from the client. All post-permit
services and work associated with design changes shall be billed at my
standard hourly rate of $150.00 per hour."

I have changed my policy in regards to residential. I no longer do my
contracts with architects and go directly to the home owner. That way, if we
get a jerk client trying to stiff us, it doesn't strain the relationship
with the architect I'll work with hopefully a dozen or so times a year.

-gm

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)cox.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:26 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

Liens can be tricky. If you don't execute them correctly, you could actually
create more liability for yourself.

Here in CA, one of the (many) tricks is filing a preliminary lien notice
within 20 days of starting work. If you don't, you would then be filing an
invalid lien.

I try to avoid this avenue whenever possible and try to focus on creating an
enforceable agreement.

I also have a clause in my agreement that reads: "There are no "paid when/if
paid" provisions in this agreement." I don't care if (or when) my client
gets paid; my bill is still due and payable. That way, I don't have to
qualify the client's client.

Regards,

T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
ALLEN DESIGNS
Consulting Structural Engineers
http://www.AllenDesigns.com
V (949) 248-8588 . F (949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)maddengine.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:06 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

I'm not sure Paul,

I had a small residential project a couple of years back. The owner kept
changing his mind on stuff causing both the architect and I to keep issuing addendums (or is it addendi?)... anyway, I had about 1600 bucks in revision
hours and my contract clearly stated that any changes to original
architectural design that impact the structural design would be billed time and material... I sent the bill to the architect... 1, 2, 3, 6 months later,
still no check for the last round of revisions. He hadn't gotten paid
either. I asked what happened, and he said the owner is refusing to pay
because he didn't know it would cost $300/sq. foot to add on to his house
and he wasn't paying for "Expensive Paper" from architects and engineers.

The architect told me he was going to Lien the property. About 1 week later, my check showed up. So I don't know if just the threat of Lien did it, or if he was actually going to get it... I've considered it a couple of times, but they always have some letter or something they need from me and I just hold
it hostage till I get paid.... but it's usually small time stuff with me.

But if it's an option, that would be great.
-gm

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:39 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

David brings up an interesting point.  I have always been under the
impression that as professional service providers we cannot issue a
mechanics lien, we do not have the same lien rights as a contractor.  I am
sure it probably varies from State to State.

Paul

----- Original Message ----- From: "M. David Finley, P.E." <pec(--nospam--at)isgroup.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:29 AM
Subject: Re: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!


Unless you have authorization in writing for the subsequent phases, it
seems to me that your only firm ground is the original contract for which
you apparently were paid.  They can claim that ya'll never had a verbal
agreement on the amount of the additional work.

Nevertheless, if you don't mind ticking off the architect, keep nagging
them in wiritng, with phone calls, and by personal visit.

A last resort option:  Does Texas have a mechanic's lien law or small
claims court?

David Finley



----- Original Message ----- From: "Bill Polhemus" <bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:55 AM
Subject: Re: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!


M. David Finley, P.E. wrote:

Bill,

Two questions:

1) Was your invoice only for the original "fixed fee" or did it include

any additional charges not addressed in your original signed contract?

I submitted four invoices in total, each as I completed various phases of

the work.

For example, my first invoice was for the "original" contract.
Subsequently, I did some revisions at the request of the
Contractor--revisions that I thought were unnecessary, and I indicated
this to all involved, but when they insisted upon the work, I did it and
billed them accordingly.

After that, I billed for the corrections to the structural deficiency.

I also billed for a field inspection (which uncovered the fact that the
structural deficiency repairs were not being done correctly).

2)  Do you want to do any future business with the architect and/or the
architect's client?

I would like to, but I don't know that it's possible. The Architect
doesn't like the fact that the Owner, a long-time client, was "mad," and
blames this squarely on me. It may be that we do no more work together
because of this.

Apropos of nothing: I recently had an "interview" with a potential
Architectural client, a small firm that does very "artistic" work (the
partners are a married couple who are Dartmouth graduates, have a
daughter currently attending Sarah Lawrence--you get the idea).

Anyway, the wife remarked that they never bill "lump sum" any more. It's
ALWAYS hourly. They don't pad their hours, according to her, but they
insist on billing hourly and if their clients balk at this, they can go
somewhere else.

"We got tired of the nickle-and-dime crowd," she explained.

Oh, to have that luxury!

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