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Cost to Hire a Civil Engineer

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Businesses looking to hire civil engineers will necessarily have a budget, and the rates payable will very much depend on the nature of your project, the responsibilities you’d like a civil engineer to undertake, and the skill level necessary.

On average, freelance civil engineers charge from $65 to $200 per hour but can also structure their rates based on a per-project basis or as a percentage of the design budget, normally from 5% to 15%. The best starting point is to consider what are skills expected from a civil engineer to fill your job brief and the scope of the role you’d like your chosen professional to play within the broader development or project.

Hiring the Right Type of Civil Engineer

Guru has a network of more than 13,000 freelance civil engineers available to hire, and within that database, there are a huge array of specialisms, experience levels, and skills. For example, if you’re hiring a professional with knowledge of transportation engineering to help with planning and designing a road system or verify the compliance of your design with safety standards, you might pay from:

  • $31 per hour for a junior or trainee civil engineer
  • $42 per hour for mid-level projects
  • $62 per hour for an experienced transport engineer

These same pay bands exist in all subsections of civil engineering. Structural engineers work on projects involving construction and building development, providing calculations and technical assessments to evaluate the integrity of the design.

Businesses typically pay an average cost of $475 to hire a structural engineer. Still, they might expect to budget anywhere from $750 to $4,500 for more expansive, long-term projects or where the structural engineer needs to have a considerable level of expertise.

Factors That Impact the Cost of Hiring a Civil Engineer

Generally speaking, civil engineers charge less for residential work than government or commercial projects, but that may also vary against the complexity of the project, the time commitment required, and the technical aspects of the design.

Below, we’ve run through some of the aspects that could affect your budget.

Civil Engineering Project Management Costs

Administrative and inspection charges are often referred to as soft costs and can comprise varied outgoings depending on the type of engineering project you are managing.

Examples can include:

  • Filing and application charges for permits
  • Buildings inspections 
  • Tax liabilities
  • Transactional charges

If your civil engineer is expected to provide tools and calibrated testing equipment, this will also be an element and something they will usually incorporate into their fees or rates, plus insurance, taxes, and professional costs.

Skill, Experience, and Qualification Criteria

As we’ve seen in the average pricing indications, civil engineers can charge different rates or project fees depending on their experience and skill level. Most freelance civil engineers will hold comprehensive qualifications and abilities, such as:

  • Excellent communication, project management, organizational, delegation, and time management attributes
  • At least a bachelor’s level degree in civil engineering or another field relevant to your project
  • Knowledge of CAD visualization and design software used to generate blueprints, design graphics, and technical diagrams
  • Specific skills in the type of site concerned, such as regulatory compliance, utility design, structural analysis, and site layout

Guru invites employers to either list a job post to invite suitable candidates to apply or browse through our network of skilled professionals to select specific applicants they may feel are a good match. If you opt for a job post, it is worth including as much detail as possible about your expectations in terms of experience, qualifications, knowledge, and skills to ensure the freelancers who submit a quote are well-placed to fulfill your brief.

Choosing How to Pay a Freelance Civil Engineer

Along with all the above considerations, you should also think about how you would prefer to structure your project costs and what basis makes the most sense for the work your civil engineer will be tasked with. You might prefer an hourly, daily, or weekly rate, but it could be more cost effective to pay an engineer per day if they are delivering a site inspection or assessment rather than opting for a per-hour payment agreement.

Guru has varied features and tools to help you manage your assignments and costs, and you can choose to pay your selected engineer per hour, on a fixed-price rate, following each task, or on a recurring basis. If your engineering project is likely to continue for some time, and you wish to retain the services of a civil engineer throughout, a recurring project may be more suitable and more efficient in terms of overall costs.

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