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Thread: Heated exchange with contractor

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    Talking Heated exchange with contractor

    A locator in my district butted heads with a contractor notorious for calling in huge projects, not showing up, and calling them back in 6 months later. Figured I'd share. We've all been there. Names censored.

    Locator:
    > XXX,
    >
    > 101652XXX, 101652XXX, 101652XXX, 101652XXX
    >
    > Are your guys going to be digging on this job this time?
    >
    > Thanks

    Contractor: (CC'd to all district supervisors, DM, all of his foremen, etc)

    > XXXX,
    >
    > I usually do not respond to these kind of emails (unless sent by XXX
    > or one of his Supervisors) but since I have nothing better to do
    > except wait for traffic to die down (and since you made such a huge
    > issue the last time)I will tell you this much....................
    >
    > Yes we are scheduled to do this job again unless Ameren (maybe you
    > have heard of them) decides to put this job on hold again like they
    > did before.
    >
    > My turn for a question to you::::::: Will you have this marked on
    > time and not be days late like the last time? I would think that
    > there shouldn't be any issues since you have already had a practice
    > run at it.
    >
    > I will also let you know that I will be on this job the morning of
    > the 17th when they are due and guess what kind of shit storm I am
    > going to start with the company you are employed with and every
    > company that you were suppose to locate for on this project and it
    > just happens that I have all of their phone numbers and email
    > addresses so it should be interesting to say the least.
    >
    > Thanks for the email and have a GREAT DAY!
    >
    > Sincerley,
    >
    > XXX

    Locator:

    > That's what surprised me XXX, you were upset (and of course emailed
    > it to everyone as you just did again) about this job not being done
    > the day after it was due (it took us three solid days to finish it
    > with two guys on site, and no one ever showed up the entire time we
    > were there) and then the work never took place. It seemed you were
    > out there looking to complain about me without first asking me when
    > it would be done (I never saw you out there, if you saw me I would
    > have gladly told you our progress on site). I will attempt to have
    > the job finished on time (as that is the job I do for USIC, Inc) if
    > it is not a possibility due to us being exceptionally busy, I will
    > have XXX communicate it to you. And though were are on such
    > friendly terms now, I'd like to ask to have a foreman listed as a
    > contact person on the jobs called in, if that's too much to ask,
    > don't think a thing of it.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > XXXX

    Unfortunately I lost the rest, the contractor basically retorted saying "I don't care how bust you are, all I care about is my tickets getting marked on time" at which point the DM interjected and said they both had too much time on their hands. The job got marked (took 4 guys the majority of a day) and the contractor ended up sending a thank you email to the locator and CC'd it to everyone.

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    Senior Member Paint'n & Flag'n's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Had it been me and my crew..the contractor would have been digging with a spoon after we got done with it!!!!

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    I've been known to put down an extra line here and there or mark a line about a foot and a half off. Some of those bastards deserve it.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Most of the time, when contractors call in a locate an not get to it in time, its because they called it in for bidding purposes. Then the company requesting the work has to process the bids and once its awarded it is called in again. The companies that do this are usually ran by a bunch of Asshats. I Yelled at a contractor for the same thing earlier this year. He kept requesting locates on sites that were not going to be worked for months. He just wanted to "see" what was in the way. I told him to refer to his project book to view the utilities in the way, and he insisted he needed field marks. We bantered back and forth, and some things were said, and I told him that I wasn't getting into a pissing match with him, and as soon as he had an excavator on board I would mark that area. I just marked that area 2 weeks ago.

    go figure.

    mke

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    Senior Member big boots mcghee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    We have a subcontractor that does a ton of work for the phone company out here that likes to call in tickets that say "Pre-Job Locate" somewhere in their locate request. As we've come to find out the hard way, these are jobs that they may or may not even have the green light on, and none of these jobs ever get started until weeks or even months later.

    And I'm sorry, but our primary job is to locate the utilities when and where you're planning on digging. Not where you might dig......or are thinking of digging....or wondering what's in the ground....or just covering your butt.....
    My boots may be red but I'm no clown.

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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Yeah, that's the issue we run into all the time. They MAY show up and dig, and sometimes do, but other times do not, it's always a crapshoot and they tell us "just mark it to be on the safe side." By the way, this guy's crew didn't make it to the site until 4 weeks later after he said the whole line about "it better be marked before 7am or there'll be a shitstorm, blah blah blah"

    Quote Originally Posted by big boots mcghee View Post
    We have a subcontractor that does a ton of work for the phone company out here that likes to call in tickets that say "Pre-Job Locate" somewhere in their locate request. As we've come to find out the hard way, these are jobs that they may or may not even have the green light on, and none of these jobs ever get started until weeks or even months later.

    And I'm sorry, but our primary job is to locate the utilities when and where you're planning on digging. Not where you might dig......or are thinking of digging....or wondering what's in the ground....or just covering your butt.....

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Red face Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Quote Originally Posted by threephase View Post
    A locator in my district butted heads with a contractor notorious for calling in huge projects, not showing up and calling [renewals] 6 months later.

    Locator:
    XXX,

    Are your guys going to be digging on this job this time?

    Thanks

    Yada, Yada, Yada...............

    The contractor basically retorted saying "I don't care how busy you are! All I care about is my tickets getting marked on time!" The DM interjected and said they both had too much time on their hands.
    Hey 3phase - Thanks for sharing this story. We locators many times choose to pick our battles with the wrong people. Please stay with me while I make my point.

    In my past jobs in full commission sales, I learned very quickly to whom I made my sales presentations and to whom I put the squeeze for the order. I learned quickly to stay away from business owners and business purchasing agents. These are the wrong people to ask for an order. (That is, unless I am selling 4-ply, ultra-soft toilet paper in bulk for the office shitter! Then these penny-pinching S.O.B.s are ready to buy - NOW!) These people - owners & purchasing agents - are MAJOR cock-blockers for a salesperson trying to make a buck or 2!

    For me to be successful in getting the order, I had to find the sweaty dude in the back of the building in charge of making money for the company. If I convinced the sweaty dude he needed my products and services, the sweaty dude would convince the penny-pinchers in their air-conditioned cubicles to buy my stuff. It was very simple. In essence, the sweaty dude was working for me!


    Sweaty Dude Making Money for the Company

    Now to apply my set-up scenario to picking my battles in locating. I've been locating for 13 years and have battled - and lost - with maybe 5 assholes just like your opening post with the "notorious contractor." In every case, I found the asshole I was battling with was either the excavation company owner or the business project manager; the same assholes that NEVER get their hands dirty........ The same assholes who consider all locators a necessary evil who are lazy, pain-in-their-asses who are not trustworthy................ Owners and Project Managers are the wrong people for a locator to talk to; for anything - PERIOD!!!!!!!

    Whenever I suspect I'm talking to the wrong person to get the facts for a specific locate job, (i.e. a person not willing to answer simple questions like, "When will you start setting up your equipment?" or "When will you start digging?" or "Which end of this project are you starting?") I quickly ask, "Who will be the on-sight foreman and what is his/her cell telephone number?" The on-sight foreman is "the sweaty dude in the back of the building in charge of making money for the company." The sweaty dude definitely respects, appreciates and understands the value of having a good working relationship with his/her utility locators.

    No more assholes for me! I always make sure I'm talking to the sweaty dude..................

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    wet_boots101 likes this.

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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Yeah, this guy does not get his hands dirty at all. His foremen are great guys, never really give us a problem. He sits in an office, occasionally drives into the field to make sure our marks our marks are present, then goes back to the office.

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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    AWESOME summation of "how stuff really works" Wingfoot~!!! Amen to that. That picture of the Sweaty Dude is now ingrained in my head for all time.

    He is right, threephase... you gotta find the right person to talk to. Years ago a contractor used to call in their tickets EVERY DAY on jobs I marked out at pretty much the same pace... After yapping at their office clerk (she was clueless) and the office manager (ditto), I had the brilliant idea of talking to the owner's son who happened to be the foreman for the jobs. We came to the conclusion that, yeah, the office gal would probably call in the tix regardless because she's only doing what she is told, and to call him directly with questions from that point forward. We exchanged cell #s, and basically he called me at the end of the day most of the time and said where he'd need marked next. On the one occasion I came right away w/o a ticket to refer to because his marks got wrecked / he had to jump ahead, I painted for him and he duked me $20 and said "here's for some new boots, thanks man."

    Of course that's a best-case scenario, but you get the point. It's all about "who you talk to."
    "Aye, verily hath I spoken." - Thor, god of thunder

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    I actually like the "digging with a spoon idea"......
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    wow.. i would have marked the lines correctly then put ghost marks all over the place to make the idiot dig for no reasons lol
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    I got agitated one time at our DOT. They called in a ticket for a busy intersection for two busy roads. I can't recall what they were supposed to be doing (I do remember what the ticket said made me want to be sure I did everything right). They called in entire intersection plus 200' in all directions (again, our policy is +25 feet for regular, +25 for high profile markings), so this brought the total footage up to 1000'. This included a 4" Plastic main that crosses the road in a weird manner, then looped and tied into the 4" Steel main for the remainder of the ticket, and also included multiple businesses. Two of these businesses were abandoned (there was still gas service, so I had to mark them anyway). Unfortunately, these businesses did not have their addresses or names displayed, so it took awhile to just figure out what the address was so I could look up their service line info. After working for 1 - 2 hours (making me late for an emergency), I'd located everything except for 4 services to the north. I was just about to get to those when the city's water locator approached me. He looked at me and told me he'd just talked to DOT and that they weren't planning on doing any digging until at least the end of 2013. After hearing this, I stopped what I was doing, advised DOT (who at this point was on-site) of my markings, then left.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    I have 1 contractor that totally refuses to co-operate and always calls in 3 - 6 tickets b/4 he digs. I got tired of this so 1 day I told one of his foremen that I accurately marked the tickets the 1st time but since they didn't dig , I assumed I had missed something and added extra marks every time I received a new ticket. The foreman asked me which were the accurate marks, I replied I couldn't remember because it had been 8 - 10 weeks since I did the original. I did this on about 3 or 4 consecutive tickets and then noticed I was only receiving 2-3 tickets per locate. I guess he got tired of paying his men to expose the 'extra' facilities.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


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    Default Re: Heated exchange with contractor

    Just noticed a reply to this post I made a long time ago! Just as a follow up, that contractor I was referring to in the original post has now somehow convinced our company to agree to a rule in which NO locator is ever allowed to call him or any of his foremen. The kicker is, he is the contact person on all of the tickets. We have to go through our supervisors. I don't think anyone really wants to talk to him though, so no one is too upset about this rule!

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