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Thread: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

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    Default Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    I do home inspections in Eugene, OR and I'm getting a sewer inspection camera. Since I have to buy a locator for finding the sonde in the camera head I thought I could also offer locating service for private utilities and contractors. I was hoping someone would provide me some insight to the industry, here are a some questions:

    1. How many locates would you expect a locating business do on average in a month assuming it had been established for 5-10 years.

    2. Do you carry E&O insurance in addition to general liability insurance?

    3. Roughly, how much in insurance for a small locator company?

    4. Can someone recommend either online or live traing provider?

    5. IS there any state licenses or national certifications required?

    6. Is there a notable utility locator association that I should consider being a member of?

    7. Is there another utility locator forum I should know about?

    8. IN short explain how 811 works. How goes an does the locating when 811 is called?

    9. Do larger national locating companies have the local utility companies ties up with big contracts that small guys like me can forget about ever getting?

    10. Could I expect to work as a sub-contractor for larger companies? Would I even want to? What would I get paid for these jobs if so?

    11. Am I crazy to consider adding this to my current business plan given that I have no prior work experience? With the consideration of the extensive training I will do, researching a lot, self motivation, and the experience I will gain by working with the sewer camera and locator.

    12. I'm considering a Ridgid SR24 or SR60 can anyone explain the difference between the two, beside the GPS feature?

    You guys seem to have a neat industry and I love the technology! Thanks in advance for any and all help.

  2. #2
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    I'll answer the few questions I can. I know way less compared to others on here so take my answers for what they are. I"ll wait for others to correct me if needed.

    4. Can someone recommend either online or live traing provider?

    http://www.utasearch.com/

    5. IS there any state licenses or national certifications required?

    Not where I live (Idaho). I don't believe most States if not all States lack licensing or certification for utility locating. That is one issue I have with utility locating. Anybody with a locator can hang a shingle and start doing business.

    6. Is there a notable utility locator association that I should consider being a member of?

    NULCA and the Common Ground Allicance.

    7. Is there another utility locator forum I should know about?

    No. this is the only forum you will ever need. Seriously, though. I don't know of another forum for utility locating.

    8. IN short explain how 811 works. How goes an does the locating when 811 is called?

    In short. Contractor calls 811 and submits a locate request a.k.a. a ticket. The ticket is submitted to all interested utilities. Utilities then go out and fulfill that tickets locate request.

    11. Am I crazy to consider adding this to my current business plan given that I have no prior work experience? With the consideration of the extensive training I will do, researching a lot, self motivation, and the experience I will gain by working with the sewer camera and locator.

    I wouldn't say crazy. You sound like you have the right attitude. Locating isn't just a technical trade there is a bit of an art to it, also. That comes from experience. I've been doing this for almost 20 years and I'm a little shy when it comes to private locates. I don't want the liability.

    12. I'm considering a Ridgid SR24 or SR60 can anyone explain the difference between the two, beside the GPS feature?

    This question could be asked in the Ridgid Forum.
    Last edited by TheCableVine; December 14th, 2014 at 05:54 PM.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I'll answer the few questions I can. I know way less compared to others on here so take my answers for what they are. I"ll wait for others to correct me if needed.

    4. Can someone recommend either online or live traing provider?

    http://www.utasearch.com/

    5. IS there any state licenses or national certifications required?

    Not where I live (Idaho). I don't believe most States if not all States lack licensing or certification for utility locating. That is one issue I have with utility locating. Anybody with a locator can hang a shingle and start doing business.

    6. Is there a notable utility locator association that I should consider being a member of?

    NULCA and the Common Ground Allicance.

    7. Is there another utility locator forum I should know about?

    No. this is the only forum you will ever need. Seriously, though. I don't know of another forum for utility locating.

    8. IN short explain how 811 works. How goes an does the locating when 811 is called?

    In short. Contractor calls 811 and submits a locate request a.k.a. a ticket. The ticket is submitted to all interested utilities. Utilities then go out and fulfill that tickets locate request.

    11. Am I crazy to consider adding this to my current business plan given that I have no prior work experience? With the consideration of the extensive training I will do, researching a lot, self motivation, and the experience I will gain by working with the sewer camera and locator.

    I wouldn't say crazy. You sound like you have the right attitude. Locating isn't just a technical trade there is a bit of an art to it, also. That comes from experience. I've been doing this for almost 20 years and I'm a little shy when it comes to private locates. I don't want the liability.

    12. I'm considering a Ridgid SR24 or SR60 can anyone explain the difference between the two, beside the GPS feature?

    This question could be asked in the Ridgid Forum.
    Thanks for the reply, can you explain why the liability is higher with residential?

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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    Here is a good place to go for info about locating.

    Video Library - Schonstedt Instrument Company - Schonstedt

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector View Post
    Thanks for the reply, can you explain why the liability is higher with residential?
    I meant the liability is higher for private locates. Or, should I say the risk is higher. With public utilities you get maps of all that utilities underground plant. When you do private locates you have no maps of what is there. I've missed lines underground during private locates and it scared me because the missed line was a power line. I don't want to miss a line and have someone hit it.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector View Post
    I do home inspections in Eugene, OR and I'm getting a sewer inspection camera. Since I have to buy a locator for finding the sonde in the camera head I thought I could also offer locating service for private utilities and contractors. I was hoping someone would provide me some insight to the industry, here are a some questions:

    1. How many locates would you expect a locating business do on average in a month assuming it had been established for 5-10 years. This will very depending on contracts and employees. Public locators will perform a ton more locates then a private locator. A private locator will locate a lot of different utilities. When I was doing private locates, my work load would very from day to day. I would always work a full day, but the number of jobs could be 1-10 depending on what and where.

    2. Do you carry E&O insurance in addition to general liability insurance?You should, the companies you do work with may or may not require it, but the more insurance you have in this industry the better off you are.

    3. Roughly, how much in insurance for a small locator company?Again, this will depend on type of companies you work for. Some federal contracts require 10mil in liability coverage.... some smaller agencies won't be so high. It all depends on what services you provide.

    4. Can someone recommend either online or live traing provider?I will let you know now, there really isn't a great private locating training program out there. The best thing for you is experience and repitition. There is good basic training programs to teach you how the equipment works.

    5. IS there any state licenses or national certifications required?**giggles**

    6. Is there a notable utility locator association that I should consider being a member of?There are associations out there, but most of the time people calling for work don't know or don't care. However, there are people who like acronyms attached to companies.... it makes them look important.

    7. Is there another utility locator forum I should know about?Lookin at it.

    8. IN short explain how 811 works. How goes an does the locating when 811 is called?Steve covered this one.

    9. Do larger national locating companies have the local utility companies ties up with big contracts that small guys like me can forget about ever getting? Yes and No. Smaller companies tend not to be able to handle large contracts due to the size of their companies. They do have a chance to get contracts when they go up for bid, but they have to show that they can provide service that is required in the contract. That is easier said then done.

    10. Could I expect to work as a sub-contractor for larger companies? Would I even want to? What would I get paid for these jobs if so?Typically the larger companies in your area won't contract out any locates, even if they are understaffed. There are a couple of different companies that do sub-contract out locating to smaller companies. Level III comes to mind, but how you get that opportunity....My guess is you have to wait for the RFP process to start.

    11. Am I crazy to consider adding this to my current business plan given that I have no prior work experience? With the consideration of the extensive training I will do, researching a lot, self motivation, and the experience I will gain by working with the sewer camera and locator.When I was working for a smaller locating outfit, I actually was the guy doing the sewer inspections as well. From a personal, first hand point of view.... Stick with the inspection side of things. Just open yourself up to weird requests. I've done everything from the simple sewer scope in a residential area to a scope of a vertical monitoring well on the banks of the Willamette (went down 198'). Inspection and the locating of the sonde is almost a zero liability process, and in sharp contrast to locating in general.

    12. I'm considering a Ridgid SR24 or SR60 can anyone explain the difference between the two, beside the GPS feature? Don't buy any piece of equipment solely for the GPS feature...its kinda a gimmick. The Rigid locators are great and for finding sondes.... they are perfect. Used one for 4 years to find the sonde. If you are considering private locating, there is several pieces of equipment that you will need to add to the list as well. Right now I have 5 different pieces of equipment in the truck for locates. Each of them for specific reasons.

    You guys seem to have a neat industry and I love the technology! Thanks in advance for any and all help.


    PM me if you have any other questions.... I've done some work down in your neck of the woods before.

    mke

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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    Thanks for everyones reply, some really good info.

    So there is a pretty decent private locator market? A google search for my area only bring up one company.

    So when 811 gets a call they call the utility company that has utilities lines in the area and then they call their contracted locator to go mark the lines? What all do they mark?

    Would I be in the ball park to guess that GL and E&O insurance is about $1,500-$2,000 a year?

    Is there more liability in doing private locates and why?

    If you where doing everything correctly, but miss located a line what liability does the locator assume? Do you guys have some limited liability clauses in our contracts and do they always work?

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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?


    SeekTech SR-20 - Getting Started - Basics (1 of 4)



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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?


    RIDGID SeekTech SR-60 Line Trace Product Video



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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Getting into locating, am I crazy?

    These videos are great thanks Wingfoot.

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