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Thread: Starting a Private Locate Business

  1. #1
    Senior Member Nb22x's Avatar
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    Question Starting a Private Locate Business

    Hello,

    I am thinking about starting a private locate business.

    I'm just doing this to make some spending money on the weekends.

    Just by myself unless it gets busy.
    I would locate all the lines that 811 doesn't mark.
    Pool electric lines, dog fences, ground lighting, well lines etc.

    Any suggestions?

    What schemes do you think would generate the most business?

    At-will agreements between myself and the contractor where they just call me if they need a line marked
    and pay me a flat-rate per job-site I mark?

    Marketing?
    Post advertisements for my services and have people contact me?

    Cold-calling and emailing prospective clients and informing them about my services?

    What do you think?

    Thanks.
    Homeowner - "They still bury lines in the ground?
    I thought they didn't do that anymore!"
    Me - "Yes sir they do."
    ____________________
    Homeowner - "...But you're painting all over people's property"
    Me - "Yes I am. It's the law."
    ____________________
    Homeowner - "My gas line is not over there"
    Me - "Yes it is."

  2. #2
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    great idea for ya and great to have the get up and go spirit . But my thoughts are this and I am telling you what I think which is what you asked ....don' t get yourself in a liable situation that you can't afford to get yourself out of in this sue-happy world we live in . No customer you work for will ever be happy 100% of the time because of the nature of our business . with that said if you decide to go out on your own be very very careful and carry very very high insurance . Good Luck .
    Mke likes this.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  3. #3
    Mke
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Nb22x View Post
    Hello,

    I am thinking about starting a private locate business.

    I'm just doing this to make some spending money on the weekends.

    Just by myself unless it gets busy.
    I would locate all the lines that 811 doesn't mark.
    Pool electric lines, dog fences, ground lighting, well lines etc. you might as well learn now that they not only want you to locate all that stuff, but they want you to verify all the one-call marks as well.

    Any suggestions? Talk to private locate owners. If you want, I can share a couple of #'s if you like. They will tell you how it is.

    What schemes do you think would generate the most business? There is no "Schemes" that will get you work. Most work will come by word of mouth. You don't have to offer weekly deals to single moms or anything like that. It won't help. The best thing to do is work with one contractor and make him trust your work enough to recomend you to other contractors.

    At-will agreements between myself and the contractor where they just call me if they need a line marked
    and pay me a flat-rate per job-site I mark? I wouldn't go with a flat rate. If you have an hourly rate, that should work fine. The contractors will learn that if it is a small quick job it will always be the same price. If it is a longer job it will be different. You will have to remember that a contractor always thinks its a "Quick Job". Besides that, it is always eaiser to argue about price when you have a difinitive hourly rate and you won't have to discuss why you couldn't do the job for the flat rate fee.

    Marketing?
    Post advertisements for my services and have people contact me? Again, you don't have to spend tons on this. I would hit up the local one-call center and let them know that you are a new private locator and see if they have a list they recomend to callers that need those services. I'd make sure you have a simple website so people can google you. Lots of pics help. I'd also see if they have a local contractors association in your area. Check with the chamber of commerce they should know if there is a contractors association.

    Cold-calling and emailing prospective clients and informing them about my services? You can. Typically these guys have "go to" guys already. The only bone you will get is if you offer them a 1st time use special and let them know to give you a call if their go-to guy is busy

    What do you think? I'm with Yahoo.....Lots and lots of insurance and don't get bullied by the contractor

    Thanks.
    Mke
    Nb22x and yahoo like this.

  4. #4
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    Killer advice MKE, you need to submit that guy an invoice.....
    yahoo likes this.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
    "America isn't free, in America you are free to follow the rules." -Anthony Cumia


  5. #5
    Senior Member Nb22x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    I'm glad to have been schooled by Mke. :-)
    Homeowner - "They still bury lines in the ground?
    I thought they didn't do that anymore!"
    Me - "Yes sir they do."
    ____________________
    Homeowner - "...But you're painting all over people's property"
    Me - "Yes I am. It's the law."
    ____________________
    Homeowner - "My gas line is not over there"
    Me - "Yes it is."

  6. #6
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    Quote Originally Posted by ifinditunderground View Post
    Killer advice MKE, you need to submit that guy an invoice.....
    LOL ....that MKE always goes all out !!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  7. #7
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    I heard that there's only about a billion brain cells left in the entire state of Oregon. Looks like Mke got em all.
    yahoo likes this.

  8. #8
    Mke
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    Default Re: Starting a Private Locate Business

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    I heard that there's only about a billion brain cells left in the entire state of Oregon. Looks like Mke got em all.
    They did just legalize the "recreational" use of weed.

    mke
    yahoo likes this.

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