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US charge out rates survey

US charge out rates survey

US charge out rates survey

I thought it would be interesting to know what other US structural engineering firms' charge out rates are. I've posted what they are for my firm below. Please post what they are for your firm, the state you're in and the roughly where you are within that state.

I realize that the size of a firm and the type of projects it regularly works on affect this as well. It seemed as though this would still be beneficial and might make for interesting discussion.

Thanks to all who participate.

Northern California

Principal engineer     $150 / hr
Senior engineer        $125 / hr
Associate engineer     $115 / hr
Assistant engineer     $100 / hr
Junior engineer        $ 90 / hr
Senior designer        $ 80 / hr
Junior designer        $ 70 / hr

RE: US charge out rates survey

The rates I know of around New York are similar to what you posted.

RE: US charge out rates survey

Wow. Cut-throat business. Does that including the Principal's insurance etc?

FWIW in mechanical engineering, in Oz, for large self contained projects:

CAD 120
Engineer 150-250
Shiny-bum 400-500


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: US charge out rates survey

I'm not certain what you mean by "Principal's insurance etc". As far as I know, those are the charge out rates. I don't believe any extra is charged to the client with the exception of other typical charges including mileage, reproduction, materials, fees, special mail, subcontractors, expert witness testimony, etc.

Please forgive my ignorance . . . where is Oz?

RE: US charge out rates survey


A company's charge out rate is usually just that - the rate charged to the client. Insurance, overhead, etc. are all included.

If I hire a Principle Engineer, I pay $150 per billable hour.

jeff or mike,

Oz is Australia.

Wow, you guys have a lot of titles. In my industry, we don't have that many categories. We usually just go with Senior, Intermediate and Junior.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: US charge out rates survey


Thanks for the info. I guess if we're looking at Australian dollars, we had better take the current exchange rates into consideration. According to http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html, 1 American dollar = 1.2087 Australian dollars. For GregLocock's post, that would mean the following:

CAD 100
Engineer 124-206
Shiny-bum 331-414

RE: US charge out rates survey

I don't know of any engineer's who's charge out rate is at $206 USD.

The highest rate in my industry is about $150 - and very few gets to charge that rate out.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: US charge out rates survey

what's the difference between a junior engineer and designer

RE: US charge out rates survey

For our firm:

Basically, a junior engineer is required to be in possession of an EIT certificate, have a four-year engineering degree and be on track for professional licensure. They perform engineering duties under the supervision of assistant and associate engineers (both have professional licenses).

Designer is our title for a CAD technician. They do not have to possess an EIT certificate, have a four-year degree, or be on a licensure track. They typically have some industry experience and / or training. They may be in possession of a two-year degree and / or CAD certificates.

Do we have anyone else out there willing to post their charge out rates?

RE: US charge out rates survey

I think it is very industry dependent, defence, mining and automotive do tend to charge a lot.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: US charge out rates survey

We are in southern NM, and those rates are about what we charge.  One caveat though, there is so much development going on here, that engineering and surveying staff are in short supply.  We are doing land development, surveying and municipal jobs as well as smaller typical consulting work.  Everyone is busy enough that schedules are getting dragged out a bit, raising prices somewhat.

RE: US charge out rates survey

Senior Commisioning Engineer - $200 approx after 8 hours and on Saturday $300, Sunday $400 - Go GE.

RE: US charge out rates survey

All types of engineering workers: 85/hr for all in completed contract, (assumed break down of 10% management, 35% engineers, 55% technicians). This price set up required for refineries and chemical plants.  Thus the boss says he is losing for every hour an engineer spends on the project.

RE: US charge out rates survey

MEP Firm in Ohio

CAD - $72
Designer - (degree no PE) - $84
Engineer - (PE) - $98
Sr. Engineer - (PE with grey hair/bald) - $112

RE: US charge out rates survey

Civil firm in N. Cal

President / CEO - $180
Principal eng - $160
Senior eng - $140
Associate eng - $115
Assistant eng - $105
Junior eng - $95

RE: US charge out rates survey

Specialty structural firm FL

President / CEO - $180 to $250
Senior eng - $150
Associate eng - $120
Junior eng (EIT) - $80

RE: US charge out rates survey

Hey, here's what we do.  We are in Olympia, WA and don't know how to really price our services, so we use rules of thumb.

The principals work an average of 2500-2700 hours a year, the "senior" assoicate engineers are PEs who just got their license, and the associate engineers are EITs with more than a year of experience.  After the PEs get the idea of what the future holds for them with the firm, they split.

The majority shareholder is a 50 yr old curmudgeon, who thinks that pencils are the cutting edge of technology, every conversation begins with, "In the old days..." and who breaks office equipment in temper tantrums when he doesn't know how to operate it properly. (He's had his first heart attack at 49, but discounts the prospect that it may be related to job stress.) We never check each other's work, and quality control is considered a waste of time.  A notable quote from the majority shareholder is "Teamwork is a waste of time."

The company never turns down work, lies to clients on a regular basis, and the poor secretary answers irate calls all day.  Its a miracle that we've only been sued a couple of times in the last few years.

As soon as I can, I am striking out on my own and kissing this nightmare goodbye.

We haven't raised rates more than 3-5% in the last 5 years, so here we go...

Principal 125
Senior Assoc. 106
Associate 94
Junior 68
Drafting 58
Admin 48

Oops, does this sound too negative? Maybe we should implement business practices, manage our time, comprehend the laws of supply and demand, tell the truth, implement a quality control program, mentor our younger engineers and posibly raise rates to retain and invest in the future of our employees and company.  

Unfortunately, I am dreaming.  In case you are wondering, sadly, I am the minority shareholder who bought in on a promise and didn't get alot in writing.  Never again.  Costly education.

We are in a death spiral.  The company will not be a significant competitor in the future.  At least I got that going for me.

RE: US charge out rates survey


Hooray for the bald gray hairs. Funny stuff

RE: US charge out rates survey


Get out of there before something goes wrong.

But I wouldnt be this honest about your reasons in an interview, just tell them it wasnt the type of work that you wanted to do, or something like that.


RE: US charge out rates survey

"looking for a bigger tank to splash around in" was a reason for a job switch that was proposed to me by an interviewer while I was befuddledly looking for a way to sugarcoat "because I'm pissed off with my current employer."  He must have liked the answer - I eventually got the job.

RE: US charge out rates survey

We're a food/beverage OEM. Rates are similar to whats posted,

$150 for a Director/Special Service (new process design)
$125 for a Sr Engineer
$75-100 for design/drafter (As I recall).


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