More on Licensing

On my last post I gave some thoughts on the costs of licensing. And while my plan is not to make all my posts about licensing, I have additional thoughts, and since it is such a fresh subject it seems like a good time to address it some more. Of course I reserve the right to bring the up the subject, and any other I deem, at a future time.

About 2 years ago my crew chief and I were on a survey and stopped to talk to an adjacent land owner. He told us he had contracted to have a survey done, and it took 2 years to complete, or at least it took 2 years for him to have a paper certificate delineating what the surveyor had done and with a newly written legal description. At the time I thought it was horrible and unfair for him wait so long, and I thought he either got a bad recommendation or he should have done more research trying to find a surveyor, but I didn’t consider the root cause of his problem. In fact no one I know would have considered the root cause, and would have just chalked it up to bad advice. But the root cause is licensing and this is the hardest part of licensing.

On the surface it seems licensing is meant to protect people from shady people, shoddy worksmanship, fraud, or just incompetence, but this is just a surface understanding. What it really does is provide an endorsement. It is an endorsement by the state stating the licensed individual has been trained, vetted and will do good work. The same as all certifications do. Unfortunately this vetting means people will trust it and not do their due diligence when hiring a surveyor (or other licensed professional). They trust that the licensing protects them, as they are always told it does. And they don’t ask for references, or examples of previous work.

The only thing licensing really does is provide a barrier to entry. It is a protection for those who already have a license. It only makes entering the field more expensive, and more onerous. And this is a field that never had a lot of people doing it in the first place. It has never been a very populous profession.

I am at a loss how to end this, so I think I just will. I don’t plan to bring this subject up again for a while. And in my next post I think I will start a series.

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