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Thread: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

  1. #16
    Member Metroman's Avatar
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JMilbragen View Post
    Ironically, I haven't been here as long as the senior locator who has 10 years at this company behind his belt, and he CHOOSES to use the Metrotech 9800XT. And dude, you won't believe it but I finally got a real piece of locating equipment today. I managed to snag an RD4000 this afternoon and it's been working out great. I thought they were going to feed me that kid's table nonsense for awhile longer but they finally came through.

    At first I had mixed feelings about it. The tone comming in from the left, the heavier weight of the instrument, the shaky tone bar when you get to higher levels of gain, and the constant manual adjustment of gain had me on the edge. But once I started to mark out with it I was satisfied.

    I think the radio passive is amazing on it. The previous reciever I had was the Metrotech 9800XT and I never touched the radio passive. But the RD4000 really impresses me. I had entertained a fantasy of getting a magical wand of sorcery that would light up only what I wanted and would ignore anything I wasn't hooked up to. Obviously that didn't turn out to be the case but I still think I will be more efficient with it.

    I first used it on regular markout: a pole drop with power/phone/cable in the same trench going to the same meter cluster on the house. I marked it out by hooking up to each utility and sweeping around like I normally do. Then afterwards I switched between power and radio passive to double check the marks and they both gave the same general peak when swept over which I thought was sweet. The metrotech definitely wouldn't have given such good results.

    The weight of it might get to me. After 20 minutes or so I could feel the pressure in my elbow from holding it so long. I wonder what the design mechanism was which required it to be so heavy. I'm also wondering about the clamp that literally presses down on top of the conduit you want instead of needing to go all the way around it. You would never need to worry about getting your crowbar out or ever losing it!

    Don't get me wrong though. I enjoy working for On Target and I want to stay and make it a career. It's fun trying to challenge yourself with each ticket and to see how many you can do throughout the day. And it's certainly very cool to drive around to a bunch of different places you'd never see otherwise. Just today I was at a marina I'd never seen before and the view of the water was gorgeous, to mark some phone.

    I just seriously hope they don't let me rot in Connecticut. If only some high level manager had just enough time to lurk these boards and troll one of my threads. Maybe they would see how interested and enthusiastic I am about this profession, and how excited I would be to get a transfer up north. Maybe they would appreciate I'm trying to become informed and learn more about locating by conversing with all of these other locators. Maybe they would stop and think "Hey, that's not a bad person. I'll put in a good word on thier behalf." Oh well.
    I use both the Metro 9800XT and the RD4000 and i can get the same results with both.I prefer to use the Metro for its speed.The transmitters ability to transmit multiple frequencies at the same time is a godsend.Maybe who ever trained you on it didn't really know what they were doing.Most RD people i have run into just cant stand the thought of an automatic gain for some reason.Ironcially i cant even count how many times ive been to a damage where the locator used an RD but didnt turn up the gain enough for his sweep and got dinged,I relocate using the AUTO GAIN and found all signals including the one that got damaged(after it was fixed of course).Rant over.....I get all touchy when someone doesn't like my shiny Metro 9800XT LOL

  2. #17
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    is that the one with the bouncing needle????
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  3. #18
    Member JMilbragen's Avatar
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    yahoo - Thanks man! This is really cool that someone took the time out of thier 60 hour locate week to make this forum for us to post on. I don't think there are any land surveying forums that are this popular or have as many active posters. I see you have like 2,081 posts are you the owner or something?


    ifinditunderground - I admit I didn't do a huge amount of research before asking about SUE companies. I guess I wanted more experienced people to spoon feed me information on what it was like to work for them. I was hoping for a bunch of people to immediately point out whether "NO DON'T DO THAT FOR A LIVING" or "YES IT'S THE SWEETEST GIG EVER".


    Metroman - Ah, the best of both worlds. I do miss the centerline needle from the Metrotech, I'll admit that. Is that Peak and Null at the same time? You must be talking about the ALL or AUTO frequency selection on the metrotech, right? I actually was never allowed to use that or know what that is. I only had 2 choices - 9.8khz or 82khz. Lol. Some of the transmitters On Target has supposedly don't even push the 82khz because they are so old or out of calibration. Could you imagine being forced to use the ring clamp on 9.8khz all the time?! I think their repair place is shady. Well the one thing about the RD4000 I would change so far is the manual gain control jumps too far on the first gain paddle press. I don't want to jump from 40 gain to 65 gain on the first single press every time. Maybe I want to go up to 52... now I have to stand there and crank it all the way back down. I still don't understand why they made it jump so far with the first turn of the paddle.


    Dave72 - WOW thank you dude! When I first came here I wanted to try to offer up as much relevant information as I could without being an idiot and revealing something foolish. That's the major problem I had growing up was I never knew what a good wage was or what was considered alot of money, or what kind of labor was worth what kind of salary.





    I can say that I made $15/hour STARTING as a land surveyor in central Connecticut, and that was before I passed my surveying class. I was an instrument operator, I ran the total station all the time. As complicated as the gun was, the responsibilities of turning angles and successfully closing traverses and knowing all that trigonometry... I was still overwhelmed when I was learning about the utility locating world. This job definitly is more responsibility and stress than land surveying lol. But, I got laid off TWICE from 2 different surveying companies within 1 year during the 2008 recession so I knew I needed something more stable.

    All the guys I had in my class when I started at On Target have already left, I'm the last dude of my class. In fact I think all the locators here are the last ones left of the class they started with. It's weird. I feel bad for On Target as they had to waste that money training those people who just left anyway because they thought the job was too hard or didn't pay enough. Pretty much every day for the first 2 months I was here I thought to myself "Wow, all this responsibility and it only pays $12.50? Damn." I mean, If I ever mark a electrical sub-station wrong and some dude hits it hard enough with a backhoe, he could DIE. I don't want blood on my hands for the same wage you get for putting a sandwich together, know what I'm sayin'?

    But I stayed. And I'm glad I did, I've met some seriously cool people here at this company and I'm not making that up because I think someone of influence might be reading it. I have a great relationship with my immediate superiors and they have always been good and civil to me. Nobdy I've met has been mean spirited in the least. I couldn't even say that about any of the other land surveying companies I've worked with. One of the guys I trained with in Hartford showed me how he marks all of the telephone ducts, and I saw him block traffic with his car and pop open manholes and clamp those fat ass copper cables and mark the lines out in the middle of rush hour traffic... all while jokin' around as if he wasn't just risking his life every day. I offered to buy him breakfast the next morning and told him straight up he was one of the most amazing people I've ever worked with.

    Of course it's not perfect. And this is what AULupstate is referring to. You can get LONG ass markouts that only count for 1 ticket. For example a mile long strech of road in an industrial complex where there is a double power primary on BOTH sides of the road and the gas company calls in the entire road because they have to excavate to locate thier couplings on the gas main... that's gonna take someone like me, who tries to direct connect to every transformer and pop every handhole, HOURS to get that done and it only counts as 1 ticket. They want to see 30 minutes per ticket and they are strict about it. I've been trying to pick up my pace but I hate to cut corners if I don't have to. I don't like to drive away from a ticket if I'm not completely confident my marks are what's really in the ground. I like to sleep at night, you know?

    However that brings me back to another dude I trained with. He was a really, really good locator. Even in my lack of experience I could tell how freakin' good he was. He would get all these tickets in Hartford with power ducts and telephone ducts on BOTH sides of the road and he would get out his RD4000 and switch over to power or radio passive and mark that shit almost perfect. I watched him do it over and over and was just awe struck. I had been hooking up for every utility on every single locate and this guy walks into Asylum Avenue and just paints the friggin' street on passive? THAT is skill and THAT is the level of knowledge I hope to attain someday and THAT is way I came here: to learn more about locating and open my mind to the tricks that other people are willing to share.



    Oh, and one last thing. Don't want to sound like I'm advertising but On Target is currently hiring for Western Connecticut and Glastonbury.

  4. #19
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    Big Thanks goes out to Steve first for putting this together (cablevine) and then to his 2 Lietenants Tbone and Goldenboy and last butnot least to the many loyal viners that are t o numerous to name!!!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  5. #20
    nkb
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    Hi there
    I just had to sign up to post.......My relative worked for Premier for a number of years and was VERY unhappy with the company at the end. When the company first started, it was a GREAT place to work. Now, not so much. The management has forgotten where they come from and they do not treat all employees equaly. Someone had posted that if your name is not Makley, Heaney, or Marchesse, you will get no where in the company and they were right! You can go above and beyond your job expectations and get no real appreciation for the work. STAY AT ON-TARGET!!

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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    I just left my job at Premier after over a year. It wasn't the worst job I've had, I just wasn't cut out for this type of work.

    They wanted us to average 2.5 tickets an hour, and at the end of every week, they would tally up our completed tickets, and send out an e-mail with our averages. I always thought this was a bad idea, as it showed how bad the slow locators were doing compared to the faster (not necessarily better) ones. I thought this was bad for their confidence, and opened them up to ridicule from the others.

    In this area, we only had to mark gas for one gas company. We used 810's, which only had two settings (on or off). You could either hook up directly to a wire (if there even was one, most of the time there wasn't), or take out the leads and induce a signal (policy said we could only do this on steel). If it wasn't steel and there were no wires, or we couldn't locate the shut-off, we were to draw a line straight from the shut-off to the meter, and mark it as SLM. If we were marking a main, we marked it according to the computer's measurements (if we could find two that agreed, which wasn't always the case).

    One of the biggest aggravations I had working for Premier wasn't with Premier itself, but the contractors. I had some who were courteous enough to state their exact work area, and even mark it out. Unfortunately, this was rarely the case, so most of my tickets said 'Entire property', 'Entire property and both sides of road' (which was worse, especially if they end up just working in a 10' x 10' area in the curb lawn), or the absolute worst, which was Entire intersection and both sides of road in 250' all directions, just to do a little work on one corner.

    Premier's policy is to mark out entire stated ticket, plus 25' (50' for 'High Profile locates') on either side.

    Sorry this was so long (and partially off-topic), but this is my first post and I wanted to get it out of my head. Any questions?

    Did I mention that I never got a raise, and I was told there were no raises the previous year, either?

  7. #22
    Senior Member FailedSafetyAudit's Avatar
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    Default Re: On Target Utility Services vs. Premier Locating, need opinions please :)

    I knew someone that worked for Premier in New York. One day he found out that one of his trainees who had never marked gas before was actually being paid a higher hourly wage than he was, the guy with more experience and with actual gas locating experience on top. He had been with them for about 4 years and only recieved a single pay raise in that time.

    I had another friend work at premier who told me one of the most beautiful quotes I've ever heard.

    "Premier, is a meat grinder. If you can survive here, you can survive anywhere."
    TRUST no one !!!
    QUESTION everything !!!
    Find the TRUTH for yourself !!!
    Sound a bit paranoid ???
    That's what this business is. - Don Lyng

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