Updated! Best Practices: Straight Talk About Profitability

GBA Business Practices Committee

This is the updated version of a previously published Practice Alert on profitability. Profitability is determined by the difference between income and expenses…and GBA Member Firms can do far more to increase the former and decrease the latter.

Low margins are somewhat commonplace among geoprofessional firms. This Best Practices addresses the issue head-on and identifies valuable techniques firms should consider to improve their profitability, including:
• managing labor costs;
• finding opportunities to offer contingency fees;
• obtaining lump-sum assignments and managing them well;
• managing expectations;
• learning to bind clients to your firm;
• avoiding attachment to your fee schedule.

The GBA Business Practices Committee encourages Member Firms to become “profitability proactive” and to not wait for a “rising tide to lift all boats.” In fact, as undervalued as Member Firms’ services may be, the rates charged are not likely to soon emerge from the market stratum in which they have been burrowed for the past 70 years.

The GBA Best Practices series of documents, available to members only, provides guidance on geoprofessional business-practice issues. As indicated by the name, Best Practices, is a combination of great ideas and proven actions our members have gathered through collaboration into one document.

GBA Best Practices documents are free for all members.