Land surveying is a means of measuring land and is commonly used in new construction planning, new fence planning, boundary or title disputes, for insurance requirements or when subdividing land into plots. People commonly ask land surveyors to help mark property corners and boundary lines, set landmarks, and provide surveying maps and CAD drawings. Land to be surveyed can be any size, from under 5,000 square feet to five acres and beyond. A property’s zoning type may be residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural and can be set in an urban, rural or suburban area. Many factors affect the cost of land surveying such as topographic considerations, property title, previous surveys, jurisdiction, surveying methods used, vegetation and more.
Large boundary surveying jobs (five acres and larger) are often quoted by foot. The price per foot varies greatly, depending on terrain, vegetation density, quality of available title information and more. The Land Consultants, LLC in Jasper, Tennessee, charges 50 cents to 70 cents per foot for surveying large boundary areas.
Surveying for fences
The price per foot for larger boundary surveys is higher when someone is building a fence and needs surveyors to place stakes along the property line at various intervals. Placing stakes takes more time and labor than typical boundary surveying.
It takes time to research and review deeds and plats for a property to be measured as well as the surrounding properties. Physical evidence of property lines (iron stakes, fence lines, walls) is carefully compared with data and records from the courthouse as part of the compilation of the survey drawing. The amount of time these efforts take affects the overall cost for land surveying.
Land surveying equipment is expensive to purchase and maintain. According to The Land Consultants, LLC, equipment must be consistently calibrated to achieve the accuracies required by the state, and it must be operated by licensed surveyors. In addition, the documentation efforts must be done on survey software and CAD programs by specialized technicians. All of these company operating expenses affect the overall cost of services.
Minimum service fee
Some surveying companies charge a minimum service fee to cover employee time, transportation to and from the site, and the effort of transporting surveying gear out to the site. For example, The Land Consultants, LLC charges a $650 minimum for land surveying. This price covers surveying for a lot under one acre in a platted (mapped) subdivision, which includes setting property lines, marking property corners as needed with survey flags, performing limited courthouse research, and providing a certified, stamped survey drawing at the end. Other factors, such as vegetation density, terrain and staking, can increase the costs for the same job and lot size.
Some land surveying companies offer additional services beyond the measurement of land. For example, The Land Consultants, LLC offers FEMA elevation certificates, which prove compliance with flood plain management requirements for new construction or to obtain flood insurance. The average price for a FEMA elevation certificate is $575.