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How much does a land survey cost?

on 09/30/2023 | Reading time: 15 minutes
land survey
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A land survey involves mapping and measuring a property or land area to determine its boundaries, elevation, and features. This detailed examination accurately represents the land, essential for legal documentation, construction, and land development.

Land surveys are crucial for:

  • Establishing property boundaries
  • Resolving property disputes
  • Informing land development and construction
  • Complying with local zoning and building codes
  • Assessing land value

The land survey cost is influenced by the property’s size, type of survey, location, availability of historical data, and any legal or zoning issues.

Types of Land Surveys

1. Boundary Survey

Determines property boundaries and land ownership lines.

Average Cost: $350 - $500

2. Topographic Survey

Maps the land's contours, elevations, and features, both natural and artificial.

Average Cost: $500 - $750

3. Site Planning Survey

Utilized for planning construction projects and land development.

Average Cost: $500 - $1,000

4. Subdivision Survey

Segments a larger parcel of land into smaller lots for development.

Average Cost: Varies based on the number of lots and complexity, usually starting at $2,000

5. ALTA/NSPS Survey

A detailed survey is required for high-value transactions and commercial properties, adhering to national standards.

Average Cost: Starting at $2,000, can exceed $10,000 for large commercial properties

6. Construction Survey

Ensures construction plans comply with design specifications and building codes.

Average Cost: Varies depending on project scale, typically $500 - $2,000

7. Geological Survey

Examines the soil, rocks, and underground features of a property.

Average Cost: Starting at $1,000

8. Environmental Survey

Assesses environmental conditions and potential contamination.

Average Cost: Starting at $1,500, can be higher depending on complexity

Factors Influencing Land Survey Costs

  1. Size and Complexity of the Property: More significant properties with diverse terrains and less accessibility tend to incur higher survey costs due to increased labor and time.
  2. Type of Survey: Different surveys have varying requirements and complexities, affecting the overall cost.
  3. Location of the Property: Urban properties might have higher survey costs due to local market rates, while rural properties may incur additional travel expenses.
  4. Historical Data and Records Availability: Clear existing records reduce research time and costs, while discrepancies or lack of data can increase expenses.
  5. Legal and Zoning Issues: Addressing disputes, encroachments, and easements can add to the survey cost.
  6. Seasonal Demand and Weather Conditions: Peak seasons and adverse weather conditions may lead to higher prices and potential delays.

Cost Breakdown

1. Basic Costs

  • Labor Fees: $50 - $150 per hour
  • Equipment and Technology: $100 - $200 per day
  • Travel and Logistics: Variable, depending on distance and accessibility

2. Additional Costs

  • Research and Data Collection: $100 - $500
  • Legal Documentation and Filings: $150 - $350
  • Addressing Complications or Discrepancies: Variable, depending on the issue

3. Cost Ranges by Survey Type and Region

Costs can vary widely by region due to differences in local market rates, regulations, and demand.

Getting a Quote

  1. Identifying Reputable Surveyors: Research local providers, check qualifications and credentials, and read reviews to find a trustworthy surveyor.
  2. What to Include in a Request for Quote: Provide detailed property information, specify the type of survey required, and mention any special requests or concerns.
  3. Evaluating and Comparing Quotes: Carefully assess itemized costs, ensure all factors are considered, and clarify any terms or conditions.

Ways to Save on Land Survey Costs

  1. Leveraging Existing Survey Data: Utilize available survey data to reduce research time and costs.
  2. Combining Surveys: Conducting multiple surveys simultaneously can lead to cost savings.
  3. Negotiating Fees: Discuss fees openly with surveyors and negotiate for better rates.
  4. Timing and Scheduling Considerations: Schedule surveys during off-peak seasons or when surveyors are less busy for potential discounts.

Calculating Land Survey Costs

To calculate the cost of a land survey, consider several components and variables. Here are some general formulas that can help you estimate the overall expense:

1. Basic Costs

  1. Labor Cost

    Labor Cost = Labor Rate per Hour x Number of Hours

  2. Equipment and Technology Cost

    Equipment Cost = Equipment Rate per Day x Number of Days

  3. Travel and Logistics Cost

    Travel Cost = (Travel Time x Labor Rate per Hour) + Fuel and Accommodation Expenses

2. Additional Costs

  1. Research and Data Collection Cost

    Research Cost = Research Rate per Hour x Number of Hours

  2. Legal Documentation and Filing Cost

    Legal Cost = Number of Documents x Cost per Document

  3. Complication and Discrepancy Resolution Cost

    Resolution Cost = (Resolution Time x Labor Rate per Hour) + Additional Expenses

3. Total Cost Calculation

Once you have calculated the individual costs, you can sum them up to get the total cost of the land survey:

Total Cost = Labor Cost + Equipment Cost + Travel Cost + Research Cost + Legal Cost + Resolution Cost

4. Optional Costs and Discounts

If you have any optional costs (e.g., rush fees) or discounts, they should be added or subtracted from the Total Cost:

Final Cost = Total Cost + Optional Costs - Discounts

Example Calculation

Let’s take an example where:

  • Labor Rate per Hour = $100
  • Number of Hours = 8
  • Equipment Rate per Day = $150
  • Number of Days = 1
  • Travel Time = 2 hours
  • Fuel and Accommodation Expenses = $50
  • Research Rate per Hour = $50
  • Legal Cost per Document = $200
  • Number of Documents = 2
  • Resolution Time = 3 hours
  • Additional Expenses for Resolution = $100
  • Optional Costs = $0
  • Discounts = $0

Applying the formulas:

  • Labor Cost = $100 x 8 = $800
  • Equipment Cost = $150 x 1 = $150
  • Travel Cost = (2 x $100) + $50 = $250
  • Research Cost = $50 x 8 = $400
  • Legal Cost = 2 x $200 = $400
  • Resolution Cost = (3 x $100) + $100 = $400
  • Total Cost = $800 + $150 + $250 + $400 + $400 + $400 = $2400
  • Final Cost = $2400 + $0 - $0 = $2400

In this example, the estimated land survey cost would be $2400. Remember that this is a simplified example, and prices may vary depending on each survey's circumstances and variables.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Land Survey Costs

1. Why do land survey costs vary so much?

Land survey costs vary due to factors like property size, location, type of survey, availability of historical data, legal issues, and seasonal demand. Each survey is unique, and these variables can significantly influence the final cost.

2. How can I get an accurate quote for a land survey?

To obtain an accurate quote, provide detailed information about your property, specify the type of survey required, and mention any special requests or concerns. Contact multiple reputable surveyors, compare their itemized quotes, and clarify any terms or conditions.

3. Can I negotiate the cost of a land survey?

Yes, you can discuss fees openly with surveyors and negotiate for better rates. However, remember that quality and accuracy are paramount in land surveys, so it’s essential to balance cost considerations with the value of the service.

4. How can I save on land survey costs?

You can save on land survey costs by leveraging existing survey data, combining surveys, negotiating fees, and scheduling surveys during off-peak seasons when surveyors are less busy.

5. What additional costs should I be aware of when getting a land survey?

Be aware of additional costs for research and data collection, legal documentation and filings, addressing complications or discrepancies, travel and logistics, and any optional costs like rush fees.

6. Is it necessary to survey the entire property?

It depends on the purpose of the survey. Some projects may require surveying the entire property, while others only need specific sections. Discuss your needs with the surveyor to determine the scope of the survey and its cost.

7. Do I need a land survey to buy a property?

A land survey, although not always legally required, comes highly recommended when buying a property. It can help identify boundary disputes, easements, encroachments, and zoning issues, thereby protecting your investment.

8. How long does a land survey typically take?

The duration of a land survey depends on the property’s size, type of survey, complexity, and weather conditions. A simple boundary survey might take a few hours, while more complex surveys could take several days or weeks.

9. Can adverse weather conditions affect the cost of a land survey?

Adverse weather conditions can lead to delays and additional costs. It’s advisable to schedule surveys during favorable weather conditions, if possible.

10. Can I use old survey data to reduce costs?

Leveraging existing survey data can reduce costs. However, ensuring the old data is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to your current survey needs is essential. Discuss the viability of using old survey data with your surveyor.

11. Is there a difference in cost between a residential and commercial land survey?

Typically, commercial land surveys tend to be more expensive than residential ones due to the increased complexity, larger size, and additional requirements involved in commercial properties.

12. Are there any hidden fees I should be aware of?

To avoid surprises, request an itemized quote from the surveyor and clarify any additional fees or charges. Ask about potential costs arising from complications, discrepancies, or changes in the project scope.

13. Will I be charged if the surveyor has to revisit the site?

Revisits can incur additional charges depending on the reason. Discuss any additional fees with the surveyor beforehand if factors beyond your control require a revisit.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating Land Survey Companies

When evaluating land survey companies, asking the right questions is crucial to selecting a competent, reliable, cost-effective service provider. Here are some questions you should consider:

1. What is your experience and expertise in land surveying?

This question will help you understand the company’s background, the types of surveys they specialize in, and their experience with properties similar to yours.

2. Are you licensed and insured?

It’s essential that the company is licensed to conduct land surveys in your area and has adequate insurance to cover any potential liabilities.

3. Can you provide references or examples of previous work?

References and examples can give you insights into the quality of the company’s work and its level of customer satisfaction.

4. What technology and equipment do you use for surveys?

Modern technology and equipment can enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the survey.

5. How do you handle discrepancies or complications during the survey?

Knowing how a company addresses issues will help you understand their problem-solving abilities and whether they can adapt to challenges.

6. What does the quoted price cover?

Clarify what the quote covers to avoid any hidden fees or additional charges. Ask for an itemized quote.

7. How long will the survey take, and when can you start?

It will help you plan your schedule and understand if the company can meet your timeline requirements.

8. How will the results of the survey be presented?

Ask about the format of the survey results, whether they provide maps, documents, or digital files, and how they detail boundaries, elevations, and other features.

9. Do you offer any guarantees or warranties on your work?

Understanding the company’s guarantees or warranties can give you peace of mind and assurance about the reliability of their work.

10. How do you handle property boundaries and potential disputes?

The company should have a clear protocol for resolving boundary issues and potential disputes with neighboring property owners.

11. Do you offer any additional services that might benefit my project?

Ask about any company's supplementary services, like topographic surveys, environmental assessments, or zoning consultations, that could benefit your requirements.

12. How do you calculate your fees, and are there any opportunities for cost savings?

Understanding the company’s pricing structure can help you compare costs effectively, and exploring cost-saving opportunities can help you manage your budget.

13. What is the procedure if the project requires additional work beyond the initial agreement?

Clarify how the company handles scope changes and the process for approving additional work and costs.

14. How do you ensure compliance with local regulations and zoning requirements?

The company should know local regulations and ensure the survey complies with all relevant laws and ordinances.

15. Can I contact you during the survey process for updates or any concerns?

Ensure that the company keeps communication lines open and promptly addresses your inquiries and concerns throughout the survey process.

16. What are your payment terms, and what forms of payment do you accept?

Clarify the payment schedule, any deposits required, and the acceptable forms of payment.

Asking these questions enables you to collect the necessary information to make an informed decision and choose a land survey company that meets your needs and expectations.


Land surveys are essential for various purposes, and understanding the factors influencing their costs is crucial. Property owners can make informed financial decisions by researching, comparing quotes, and exploring savings options.

The opinions articulated in this piece are the guest author's and may not necessarily align with those of Crackerjack. Find more about staff authors of Crackerjack

About the author
Fancy House LLC
Fancy House LLC is a seasoned contractor and a prolific writer in the field of home improvement. With their extensive experience and expertise, they have earned a reputation for delivering exceptional results in construction projects of all scales. As a writer, they share their knowledge through well-researched articles that offer practical tips, advice, and inspiration to homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. With a friendly demeanor and a commitment to quality, Fancy House LLC is a trusted contractor who consistently delivers outstanding home improvement services and informative content.

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At Crackerjack, we assist many people each year with their projects. Our process involves collecting estimates from local professionals and conducting our own research, which we use to provide you with valuable price information. Please note that the prices provided in the current article are for informational purposes only and may change at any time. To receive a personalized cost estimate for your specific project, we recommend contacting a professional in your area.

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