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Specimen Identification Services – What is the typical rate and procedure? | The Society of Herbarium Curators

Specimen Identification Services – What is the typical rate and procedure?

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The following is a thread derived and modified from the [Herbaria] Listserv. The original submission of this question and subsequent compilation of responses was conducted by Lowell E. Urbatsch, Louisiana State University, LA, USA.


Summary of plant identification service charges:

Virtually all respondents indicated that they charge for identification services when large numbers of specimens are involved or when the work was being done for commercial companies. In a couple of instances regulations of one sort or another prohibited doing this. Most respondents indicated that for such services were free to individuals, colleagues, etc. when few specimens (usually fewer than ca. 5) were involved. On a per specimen basis, changes mostly ranged from $5 to $15.00. Hourly changes mostly ranged from $40 to $125.00 per hour. Some herbaria levied specific, lower rates for use of their herbaria by non-staff personnel. Excerpts (15) from many of the numerous responses follow:


Response #1

The client may choose to pay any of the three following rates:

1) $15/specimen
2) $50/hour
3) $300/day

The client agrees to confer with Š concerning specimens that cannot be
identified within 30 minutes. If the client agrees for Š to continue work on a specimen above 30 minutes to obtain a more precise identification, the work will be charged at $50/hour. If the client wishes to have the specimen sent to a specialist for identification, a flat fee of $100/specimen will be charged.


Response #2

Often nothing. But if it is a business proposition and depending on the
amount of money that the contractor has, the rate varies from $40 to $80 per hour.


Response #3

Anything over 5 specimens we charge $50.00 an hour for identification.
Sometimes in an hour we can do many (if easy) and sometime it can take an hour to do 1 (especially if the sample is bad). My warning is many people do not know how to take a good collection, so it wise to advise them a bit on this and remind them it will save them $ and time in the long run.


Response #4

We have had quite a few people with grants bringing us plants for id. We feel that we should be written into those grants and they should pay for those id's. The same should hold true for consulting firms. We are still trying to get that set up. At present, we accept no more than five specimens at a time. We do about 1000 id's per year.


Response #5

If someone wants one or two things identified, we don't charge. If they have an amount that is going to take more than an hour of my time, then we charge an hourly rate based on my salary, plus 28% overhead for my benefits, plus 15% general overhead that the Š charges for managing revenue accounts.


Response #6

Our -- has done a few of these, on a fee per project basis (i.e., neither per hour nor per specimen). This is done as a consultant, outside of her regular work duties at --.


Response #7

Plant identification Service. The herbarium staff provides identification services for UGA faculty, extension service personnel, and staff/researchers associated with other governmental agencies. The staff will not furnish identifications for students with collections made for courses but will give guidance on helpful references in the library.

Policy. Please see the herbarium staff and ³Protocols² for plant identification protocol and submission forms.

• Charges for non-departmental projects. Projects/individuals of UGArequiring identification of many specimens by herbarium staff should allocate funds for this purpose in grant proposals or other budgets at the rate of $50.00 per hour (1 hour minimum). Researchers must furnish an account number for billing with submission of the specimen(s).

• Charges for private firms/consultants. For identification or research services by the herbarium staff: $100.00 per hour. Use of the collections by their own staff or by independent consultants: $50.00 perhour. A letter of authorization from the company is required.


Response #8

Yes we now charge for such assistance, including government agencies. We charge $5 per specimen but give a discount of 3 free ones when there's more than 20. If they want immediate response, then the fee goes up to $8 (usually they don't). We also charge for DNA analyses but that fee is dependent on the work required. We have had no problems with companies paying the fee.


Response #9

We charge $50/hour, which has been the same for at least 8 years. I had to justify that with the university at one point.


Response #10

As we are a landgrant college with a duty to do plant id for cooperative extension agents who send in things that companies and private individuals give them, we do a lot of free dets through cooperative extension and master gardener programs. We do 5 dets free for people who give them directly to us who are not cooperative extension agents and after that, we charge ca. $70 per hour and the university takes 20% of that.


Response #11

We have charged private firms for plant ID services for the last 8 years. We charged $30/ hr for the last 7 years and decided as of Dec. 06 to raise our rates to $50/ hr which was more in keeping with other herbaria who responded to a similar survey 2 years ago. Let me know if you find out that $50 is in fact no longer the norm as I too have wondered what was appropriate and lord knows we never have enough funds to do what is needed.


Response #12

At -- we charge ca. $16.50 per specimen. This is too low, and we are considering increasing the charge. I would charge at least $100 per hour OR your standard consulting rate. The consulting company will make money on your bill by adding a handling fee and will likely not care too much about how much you charge.


Response #13

I charge $40 (to $75) per hour for sedge and fescue identification, or sometimes less for big projects or easier plants. $50 per hour, going to $75 July 1. We set the 50 10 years ago I think. I shall check the rate for a plumber - I figure we should be paid slightly more. The money goes to the herbarium.


Response #14

In most cases the persons have a private interest and I don't charge. I remember a few cases when the persons offered payment and they had the money for that available in their grants or budgets. E.g. I accepted a offer of 200.- Dollars for 5 lichens, 200.- Dollars for a tropical tree from a timber company and 250.- Dollars from customs office for the identifcation of several tons of Lycopodium clavatum from China. As this Lycopodium is protected the complete container had to be destroyed after my identification. The money went into our laboratory.


Response #15

I'm interested in your survey results. My last job which included field work and all the identification was $125 in 2003, the year I retired from college teaching. Otherwise it was $5 a specimen, if it was for my area of expertise, the midwest. Today, scanned images are so good, there's no need for mail expense.

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