Land Surveying Business – 5 Recession Survival Strategies

With the recession and financial meltdown at full pitch, one of the Hallmark's of this recession is that phones have just completely stopped ringing. Like the banks that are unwilling to lend money, people, too, are hoarding their cash. I know that I was prepared, or at least preparing, for a slowdown – But I wasn’t prepared enough for a complete work stoppage.

As the financial/lending house of cards tumbled down, people completely stopped paying their current bills. Add the consumers' inability to obtain credit and their reluctance to spend on anything that isn't an essential item has lead to a complete shutdown in consumer spending. I hope that you are faring better, but please prepare yourself for a complete halt to your incoming funds.

5 Recession Survival Strategies:

  1. Prepare yourself for the worst. Cut all costs; reduce the number of offices, employees, vehicles, etc. If it can be eliminated or sold for cash, do it now!
  2. Be prepared to keep your business running with absolutely no work or payments coming in - for many months. You will not be seeing much in the way of deposits, if anything and you will only receive payments in dribs and drabs.
  3. Collect everything you can from people that owe you money and don't release any work unless you’re paid first. This is a practice that has to be changed now and forever. We, as land surveyors, are not banks and should not engage in the business of lending money. In case you haven’t noticed lately, even banks are not very good at evaluating risk and successfully lending out money. If a client isn’t paying you it’s because you’ve allowed him or her to use you as a cheap way to borrow money, often at no added cost above the amount borrowed – What a good deal for him or her!
  4. Do invest in the following; Yourself, Technology and Marketing. Now is the time to stop carrying everyone else on your shoulders and invest in yourself. Work to payback you! Invest in technologies, like Robotics and GPS, which enable you, as a business owner, to reduce your staff, and get the job done better, faster and cheaper. Finally, do invest in marketing as this is the only way to successfully navigate your ship through these turbulent waters and grow (save) your business.
  5. Improve customer satisfaction. Improving your delivery systems, communications and customer satisfaction can be your silver bullet. Now, more than ever, is the time to make your company stand head and shoulders above the rest of your competitors.

Good luck and work hard! (These are actually the 6th & 7th bonus strategies, for all that took the time to read to the bottom of this post)

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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3 comments on “Land Surveying Business – 5 Recession Survival Strategies
  1. Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Neil Vancans says:

    My Father always used to say, “the remarkable thing about common sense is that it is remarkably uncommon” . In this time of crisis we will witness its rebirth. Probably only for a blinkk of an eye as we haev hopefully begin to pick up the pieces and go back the profligacy of the past.

    I have enjoyed the blog and will continue to do so.

    Neil Vancans

  3. Daniel Stoddart says:

    Good advice. By all means, invest in GPS/GIS and Robotics, but I fear that some firms have decided that Strategy #1 is cause to lay off their Surveyor techs and even LS’s. Investing in the technology will pay off quickly, but please don’t be tempted to follow the example of other industries and balance your budget on the backs of your hourly employees who have been getting your fieldwork done on time and under budget. That’s been a real kick in the teeth to a lot of guys who may not have 20 years in the industry, but are working hard to assimilate the newest technology and on the SIT track.