Paying the price

There is an old saying that you get what you pay for in life. There is another about people who understand the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Both of these statements are especially true in our world of surveying.

Choosing the right surveyor can be a challenge. Working in true partnership with a valuer delivers the best results and successful outcomes for brokers, lenders and customers alike. It enables deals to happen, even in the most challenging environments. Of course you should look for a valuer that has the right level of expertise, that is quick to respond and clear in their communication and meaning. Naturally you also want to work with a surveyor that is passionate about finding the right solution to often very complex issues. But what are you prepared to pay for finding the right partner?

Costs are always a subject for lively discussion. In simple terms, there are two schools of thought: fees that are fixed; and fees that are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Both avenues have merit. A fixed fee brings certainty to the client and the valuer. Not only does this support a healthy cashflow, but it also means that their costs are predictable. You know the service you are getting and the price you will have to pay. There are no surprises along the way.

Working on a cost-by-cost basis, some would argue, is fairer, since it is based on the actual, rather than theoretical amount of work involved. It may be fairer, but the buyer has no idea what those costs are going to be from the outset and such uncertainty often creates issues. Many of us will be familiar with the questions asked over the final invoice; even though the hours can be evidenced, it can still leave both parties feeling somewhat let down.

In our opinion, fixed fees are the way forward, especially when there are regular volumes of work being undertaken. It removes the room for debate and allowing money to get in the way of an otherwise productive relationship. But whichever option you prefer, make sure all costs and any pricing structure are transparent. Then you will be able to determine whether you are achieving true value for money.