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Selecting Our Engineering Firm

It's only been a couple of months since we went through the process of selecting our engineering firm, but we felt it was interesting enough to share a little about that process. How do you select an engineering firm!? Well, I think we were fortunate to start off with some good recommendations. When we started talking about broader needs with an area surveyor who grew up in Howell, he was able to recommend three local firms.


We reached out to these firms to introduce ourselves and our concept. All were very professional and eager to work with us. Until we had the land under contract, we needed to wait to request quotes. But as soon as we finally did secure the land in Howell, we were ready with our request. We had to be; anyone who's been following us knows that time is of the essence. So we submitted the same request to each engineer, asking for the following items:

  • Soil/perk tests

  • Determining requirements of the township

  • Boundary survey

  • Topographical survey

  • Site plans sufficient for township approval

We provided context beyond the bulleted list above, but each firm did receive the same request as we wanted to compare "apples to apples". Despite this, we were surprised to receive back proposals with very different approaches, and ranging from $20,000 up to $60,000. One advised us to request township approval before having perk tests, while the others had it the other way around. One suggested a topographical survey, while another suggested using mostly data already available in a state database.

Boss Engineering Firm

We spent a lot of time reviewing the proposals and even asked our general contractor to provide his opinion. We ended up selecting Boss Engineering for a number of reasons. First, they were moderately priced. We didn't feel like we needed the $60,000 "Cadillac" package from another firm, but we saw some additional services provided by Boss that weren't in the lowest bid, so it was worth paying a little more. We liked that Boss is located in Howell, and has done work in the same township as our property. And our excavator has experience working with them. We're happy with Boss so far, and have enjoyed working with them.

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