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RE: reuse fees

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With my previous companies, and in my short time in my own business, reuse fees were always one of the most controversial and difficult items to decide. What I have discovered is there is no formula, it is what you can get. This depends among other things on the client and the type of project, and how many reuses there will be. Some other people on the list made some great points. Big housing developers are used to Plans R Us giving them stamped copies for next to nothing, so if you can get 10% out of them you may be lucky. But if all you are doing is checking the truss shops and it is really boiler plate, and you have a very tight set of dwgs to limit your liability, maybe 10% will work for that. I know there are retired engineers out there stamping away at residential dwgs for ridiculous fees, basically squeezing out any legit engineers. I know this mentality when asked by a builder how much to stamp house dwgs. No, I cannot design a 2500 sf house for $800...... Also in the FL Board newsletters, a LOT of the disciplined engineers are structural, and many have low PE numbers (older). Maybe because it is FL and lots of guys retire here, or some engineers just hang on at the end of their careers/lives when they should hang it up?
I personally think 20% in general is a good starting point, especially for houses or buildings that are repeated several times. I have negotiated 20% reuse on some custom houses we did the orignal plans for, they offered 10% and I balked at it, because I told them my upfront fee was too low in the first place and I had not made much on them, and I don't want my name and seal on anything for such a low fee. They were an architect and they understood, they were in a bind, so we went with 20%. But you have to do this tactfully and explain your reasons :)
I think it is more acceptable to charge larger reuse fees for commercial jobs, because of what is entailed even if there are no big changes. My E and O costs are not that high because we are small, only about 3% of our projected gross. But if you have C.A. work on each job such as site visits, shop dwg review, and RFIs, you should be charging your CA + liability insurance + add'l fees for modifications+ add'l fee that you can negotiate. My previous company would get surprising large reuse fees (80-100%) for schools and condos that were not much different then the originals, but maybe would not qualify as a true reuse. I also agree with someone else's formula of charging one fee for the first reuse, then a reduced amount for reach additional reuse....
The engineering business lesson I am rapidly learning is understanding the client, project, and market and how these affect up-front pricing and reuse fees; and being a good and sometimes tough negotiator, and explaining your fees if necessary. Also, if you can afford it, be ready to walk away if you think the terms are unfair. And don't hesitate to mention how much liability insurance is, and mumble something about lawyers all being bastards and ruining everything for hard working professionals....
Thanks for the timely topic!
Andrew Kester, PE
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
Lake Mary, FL