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Thread: I've got $10 Grand to spend

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    Default I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Greetings guys... I'm looking for some input.

    I am seriously considering starting a locating business. I've got $10 grand to spend on equipment and start up costs, and I'm wondering if it's a crazy idea or if it can work. I'm completely new to the locating business. I've had a lot of construction and marketing experience and don't need a lot right now for personal expenses. I have a couple other "jobs" that pay well, but the work is dangerous, unpleasant and seasonal.

    Am I crazy to think I can start something in the locating business with this amount of money and no experience?
    What is the basic equipment setup you would recommend? Are there niches I could focus on to get going?

    Thanks for any input!!!

    Abishiai

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    Senior Member locatethis's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Dear Abishiai; First let me assure you, your not crazy ! Now all you have to do is send me a cashiers check for $10,000.00 and I'll get you started right away .....

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    I think you should work for a locating firm for a least 1 year to gain the experience.

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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    I think you should work for a locating firm for a least 1 year to gain the experience.
    Then, and only then, will we be able to call you crazy!

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    Mke
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    I think 10g's are a bit thin to start up a Locating company. Specially since you don't have any locating behind you. It takes a track record to even get contractors to look in your direction. Rough figuring... Lets say you spend 4g's just for Locating equipment..... you are now down to 6g's. Out of that 6 G's You'll need to spend 2g's to get a lawyer on board to draw up a limited liability disclosure for your invoices. Once you get that done then you need to pay for the invoices.... we will roll invoices and miscellaneous tools into the next Grand. You are now down to 3G's. Out of this 3g's, you'll need to buy your first supply of paint which will be a couple of hundred bucks. Business Cards, Website, Advertising, Decals on your Personal Rig, Cones, Vest and etc.. We'll take another G off the total. So you are now down to 2g's. That 2 G's will have to maintain you for about 6months before you get your first invoice to come back. Hopefully Gas will drop to below a buck, and you won't have to get a business license or anything like that..

    On a side note..... With no offense intended. Why do people think locating is easy enough to do to fill some free time? I had a retired Engineer in a Training class who knew nothing of locating wanting to start up a locating company. Just because he had some money and free time.

    I'm almost offended, then it dawns on me how low on the totem pole I am, and then I finish off the thought by shrugging.

    Mke

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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Thanks for the feedback. I definitely don't want to demean the profession by suggesting one might start for the bit of capital I have available. My interest was sparked by looking at an offer to sell a locating business, but then it was pulled from the market. So, I've started exploring to see if this is feasible to start on my own. Obviously I wouldn't have a book of business to walk into, but I'm also not having to shell out cash or take on debt to get that book of business either.

    I can't find any local locating jobs--so if I want one I'll have to create it.

    I have a quote from Ditch Witch for a 950R/T kit right at $4G. Now I'm looking at other manufacturers and trying to figure out the best setup to start with. I appreciate the input.

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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    In my completely biased opinion, every professional/experienced locator should have a Pipehorn in the arsenal for places where direct connection in not possible, for sweeps, and for the really nasty locates like inserted services, cast or ductile iron with electrically resisitve joints, broken or corroded tracer wire, tracer tape, street lights, short side services, stub outs...

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    I would recommend against the Ditch Witch for a private locator. They are fine for locating cable, telco, and power, but beyond that I constantly see them having a hard time locating gas and h2o. David Dodd is right about the pipehorn. I think that to do private locates you ought to consider getting a Metrotech 810, a Pipehorn, and either a Vivax Vlocpro or a RD7000/RD8000. If you try it, maybe you could partner up with a very experienced locator and use his help to learn.

    As for just how difficult locating can be think of it like carpentry. Sure it looks easy to frame a house, but it takes a year or so to be decent at that, then if you move on to tighter things like trim and cabinets it takes about a year or so to get decent at that too. But get a really good carpenter on site and even after you've been working for 4-5 years he can(if good) make your "good" work look like slop and show you better, faster, and easier ways to do the same things. I've been locating for about 10 years and I still run into utilities that I either have a hard time locating or cannot locate at all.

    My 2 cents.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    I definitely don't want to demean the profession by suggesting one might start for the bit of capital I have available.
    That does not demean the profession. It is thinking it is so easy that you can jump into it with NO EXPERIENCE that some might take offense to.

    I'm just a locator. I have 13+ years of experience. On the side I used to do private locates. I would go out and survey the area and tell them if I could do it or not. I took the easy jobs. I quit doing private locates on the side because I missed a few things here and there and I was afraid I would get somebody injured. Luckily nobody got injured and the cost to me was several hundred dollars to have an electrician make the repairs. And that is after cherry picking the jobs I wanted to do versus the difficult jobs.

    Utility Locating isn't hooking up to a wire and then going out and finding it. Especially if you are doing Private Locates or SUE. There is so much to locating that you can't read about it or watch a video and get it.

    If you are serious about this I would take that 10 grand and buy some sort of investment that you can cash out down the road. Then, I would get a job as a locator. Even if you need to move (if you are serious about it) to another city or state. Then, after at least one year if you think you got it and know what you are doing, then get a job with a SUE outfit and learn the other 50% (or more) there is to know about utility locating. In a SUE outfit you will more than likely work closely with the company owner. There is where you can learn about the business of locating.

    I'm not trying to be a wet blanket I'm trying to let you know how much there is to it. I personally wouldn't do it for the reasons I mentioned in the 2nd paragraph.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member FiosKing's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    you can def do it with 10K go after a small township water locating contract and start from there.
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
    you have entered a restricted area

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Hey FioS,

    I would think a small town water/waster system would be a nightmare to locate. Bad as-builts, no one to be sure to the system was but right. I worked for a county and they were just as bad until 2002 when I was able to get the tech manual changed to add tracer wire to the PVC lines. Up til then they just put a line on the construction without offsets or stationing locations. The best was to try and find the 22's 45's and the tees with a Shonstead and or probe rod.

    Just Saying.

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    Senior Member FiosKing's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    good point, around here its pretty easy, they only mark up to the meter... but those old line are a pain is the azz for sure.
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    Thanks for the idea! There are some rural water districts around here. I'll check it out.

    Am I right assuming the only way they detect plastic water mains that don't have tracer wire is using something like Ground Penetrating Radar?

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've got $10 Grand to spend

    That would be correct. RD make a device an RD 500 that can be connected to a water meter, water faucet or a fire hydrant. I have used it before. It has a tendency to blow pipes in older pipes. A/C water mains do not like it. It sends sound waves through the water and you have a device and listen for the sound.


    http://www.pearpoint.com/products_de...89&art_id=5613

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