Hiring a land surveyor is something most people do only once or twice in their lives, so they don't have a lot of experience when determining who to hire. Hiring a surveyor is, in many ways, like hiring any other professional. Meet with potential surveyors to discuss your needs, and choose one that seems knowledgeable and trustworthy, and with whom you feel comfortable communicating. The land surveyor should be wiling to take the time to explain how the survey will be conducted.
Even if cost is an issue, you shouldn't compromise on quality. Although you may assume that all land surveys will turn out the same as long as you hire a licensed land surveyor, this is not always the case. Land surveys are as much art as science, and your land surveyor should know how to deal with any issues that are unique to your area and type of land.
Above all, make sure that they are licensed in your state and have kept up on all of the requirements, including continuing education courses. Otherwise, your survey will not be considered legally acceptable. Ask about professional liability insurance, which can cover you if they make a mistake in the survey. If it is important to you, ask about whether the surveyor is willing to walk your property with you following the completion of the survey.
Years of experience and education can also ensure that the land surveyor you choose is skilled at surveying and is knowledgeable about all of the latest technological methods for surveying. Ask about the modern equipment used by the surveyor, such as GPS and CAD. These can provide much more precise and accurate surveys than were possible before this technology.
Although there generally are not licensed specialties for land surveyors, many surveyors specialize in certain types of surveys. Finding a surveyor who is skilled in a particular survey type is particularly important if you need a certain type of uncommon survey. If you are looking for a simple boundary survey, most surveyors should be able to handle your project. Discuss the scope of the project and the results you need, and don't be surprised if the land surveyor wants to see your property before the contract is signed.
Before the survey is conducted, ask for a written contract. This is standard within the industry, and it should spell out all of the fees. Some will be based on an hourly amount, while others charge on a per-project basis. You should also pinpoint when this amount will be due; for example, it is common for half to be due before the survey is started, and half when the work is complete. Before signing the contract, make sure that you are clear about the scope of the work, the amount of the fee, and when the payment is due.
Once it has been complete, the land surveyor should walk your property with you to point out the permanent boundary monuments that have been set and anything else of note. If you've chosen a knowledgeable and professional land surveyor, they should also be willing to answer any questions that remain.