The necessity to introduce some innovations into your surveying firm when you realize early enough that the traditional practice of surveying would not give you the desired leverage will eventually pay off when you diversify into equipment leasing.
For the earliest practitioners, the profession of land surveying was sweet. Those of them that were good at their trade reaped bountifully. In lieu of monetary payment for their services, they were given plots of lands in choice locations. It is so secret that some of the old generation of surveyors owned land on Ikorodu Road in Lagos.
It was the heyday of the profession because the practitioners were few and their services much sought after. Things have changed slightly however with more practitioners joining the fold and new methods of doing things emerging.
There are some of the key points we shall be looking at when diversifying into equipment leasing to help your surveying firm. These include;
- Be creative in service delivery.
- Find a good location for your office.
- Create good impression about the surveying practice.
- Keep the books tidy.
- Be prepared to face challenges.
Now, all the practitioners have to struggle for the few available jobs, a situation that calls for creativity in service delivery and a fresh perspective to surveying practice. From a career in the banking sector, a young man is currently making waves in the surveying profession, which is largely dominated by older practitioners.
Mr. Oluropo Olajugba, who is the Managing Director of Lordsfield Limited, explains that after serving for about four years in the banking sector, he made up his mind to go back to base and practice surveying for which he was eminently qualified.
In his word, “I made up my mind from day one after working in the bank for four years that the practice I am about to establish must outlive me. I deliberately did not use my name for the company, as is the usual practice. I wanted a name that would project corporate identity. That was why I settled for the name Lordsfield.”
He says that he realized early enough that the traditional surveying practice would not give him enough leverage because “I won’t be poor, but at the same time I won’t make enough to cater for my needs.”
Another key decision he had to make was to get an office space in a good location that would attract corporate clients. The decision was influenced by an experience he had while the firm was at its infancy and its operational base was in the suburbs of Agege.
Olajugba says, “I had registered at the United States Information Service using my company’s address. But, immediately I notified them that I was operating from Ikeja Central Business District, I started receiving useful mails from the USIS.”
Again, the perception by outsiders and potential clients influences to a large extent the level of success in business. If your firm has a good outlook and you keep your books tidy, you can approach anybody or institution to prospect for jobs and they will listen to you. Nobody will want to give jobs to a professional surveyor who cannot use computers for example because perception is very important.
Supposing you have a turnover of $100,000 from bringing equipment into the country annually and you maintain a domiciliary account, if you approach any bank to assist your business, they will most likely listen to you. But if your company can only get a job of N200, 000 and nothing is forthcoming for the next six months, no bank will want to deal with you. People say that the banks are not run in a professional manner which indeed is a fact.
It is not pleasurable to find foreign firms getting most of the jobs that should ordinarily be handled by indigenous professionals. This development can be attributed to the ability of the foreign firms to bring along their financial statement. This therefore gives room for indigenous expertise to develop deliberately if they aim to succeed.
Lordsfield a couple of years ago broke new ground when it entered into partnership with South Surveying & Mapping Company of China to market the South range of surveying equipment in the country.
Since May 2005, the firm, which is a surveying and Geographic Information System consulting firm, had been marketing the South range of products, including tapes, poles, digital theodolite, Electromagnetic Distance Metre, Total Stations, among others to critical Nigerian end-users with a great degree of success. Manufactured by one of the biggest manufacturing firms in China with four factories spread all over the country, some of the equipment are currently in use in Nigeria by private surveyors, government agencies, construction companies, schools and training institutions.
Clients that have patronized the products include University of Lagos, Kwara State Polytecnic, Jigawa State Ministry of Infrastructure and a host of others. The firm is in the business of equipment sales to fill the void created by the fact that that most dealers in the country are not actual users of the products, hence, their inability to provide technical support services.
To succeed as a professional, individual must be able to face challenges, while needing a varying degree of experience to run a successful surveying practice.