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Thread: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

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    Mke
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    Default Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Ok, From time to time I get a wierd question stuck in my head.

    Do you believe there is a definitive difference between the Private side of locating and the Public side of locating?

    (The reason for the question- I'm in the middle of the hiring process and was curious how the majority of locators think.... So, I ask the question.)

    The question goes down a path of other questions...

    Can a Private locator switch to public locates without a problem? Likewise, Can the Public locator easily switch to Private locating?

    If you had prints or no prints, who would typically perform better on an average locate? (I know that average is a grey term. There is too many perameters that effect the locate. Too many to be specific.)

    What says you guys?

    mke

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Ok, From time to time I get a wierd question stuck in my head.

    Do you believe there is a definitive difference between the Private side of locating and the Public side of locating?

    (The reason for the question- I'm in the middle of the hiring process and was curious how the majority of locators think.... So, I ask the question.)

    The question goes down a path of other questions...

    Can a Private locator switch to public locates without a problem? Likewise, Can the Public locator easily switch to Private locating?

    If you had prints or no prints, who would typically perform better on an average locate? (I know that average is a grey term. There is too many perameters that effect the locate. Too many to be specific.)

    What says you guys?

    mke
    The differences starts with the basics,

    The public locator's job is to mark facilities within a tolerance enough that there is no damage yet spends the least amount of time on the marking as is possible becasue numerous jobs are behind it all with deadlines.

    Private marking is often for engineering future construction and requires more precise marks. The marking company is paid for that job and usually has a greater amount of time available for the locator to perform the marks and still make a profit.

    (Heard complaint today from an engineering firm that when they call the one call center for a ticket to mark utilities so they can test pit and make a survey map for their client the marks are not up to their standards. This is becasue the construction industry lobbied the legislature to pass laws allowing this so that the SUE firms could reduce their overhead for private marking and pass the costs onto the utility firms customers. The 'survey markings' or 'design ticket' gets the locate company the same amount of money as any one call ticket and marking to SUE standards is just losing money. In addition these tickets are given to the locator assigned that area and that employee can be from new to very experienced. The new locator cannot perform up to SUE standards and the experienced locator is not given the time to perform up to SUE standards. In short these SUE firms went cheap, got what they paid for.

    Any locator can switch between public and private marking as long as they can change their mindset to match the standards that these marking call for. Some people are so set in their ways they simply cannot make the transition.

    Having no prints is a major disadvantage in public locating as figuring out where everything is and then sweeping the area for any possible additional facilities is not within the time allotted to do tickets within. A ticket like this popping up can be absorbed but not if there are no prints for every job.

    I know that many times a private locator has no prints or only some of the prints for a job.

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    Senior Member Enjoythefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    I think it is mostly about work ethic. A loser is going to be a loser regardless of title. They're different jobs, but I don't think a background in public locating would in any way prevent someone from being able to learn the ins and outs of privatized locating. If someone is so set in their ways that they can't lay an accurate mark, I don't think they have a place in either position.

    I am a public locator, however I don't think I'd have any issues switching to private locates with a little OJT. Obviously the basics are the same. An EM field is going to act like am EM field regardless of your salary, so I don't think breaking it down to a brick and mortar level is necessary with a seasoned tech of either type. As long as the work ethic is there, the job can get done.

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    Senior Member dragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Ok, From time to time I get a wierd question stuck in my head.

    Do you believe there is a definitive difference between the Private side of locating and the Public side of locating?

    (The reason for the question- I'm in the middle of the hiring process and was curious how the majority of locators think.... So, I ask the question.)

    The question goes down a path of other questions...

    Can a Private locator switch to public locates without a problem? Likewise, Can the Public locator easily switch to Private locating?

    If you had prints or no prints, who would typically perform better on an average locate? (I know that average is a grey term. There is too many perameters that effect the locate. Too many to be specific.)


    What says you guys?

    mke
    I think that it is the same either way , a good locator ,both private and public always has their eyes open to evevrything around them . No one has ever had a set of prints that are 100% correct . The only difference is time . Public companies push their people to go faster but the locator can choose to slow down . The private locator has all the time they need . Both need to be on the money as far as what they are locating . Any locator that tries to flythru any locate is cutting their on throats .

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    I think it is mostly about work ethic. A loser is going to be a loser regardless of title. They're different jobs, but I don't think a background in public locating would in any way prevent someone from being able to learn the ins and outs of privatized locating. If someone is so set in their ways that they can't lay an accurate mark, I don't think they have a place in either position.

    I am a public locator, however I don't think I'd have any issues switching to private locates with a little OJT. Obviously the basics are the same. An EM field is going to act like am EM field regardless of your salary, so I don't think breaking it down to a brick and mortar level is necessary with a seasoned tech of either type. As long as the work ethic is there, the job can get done.
    I think ETF is pretty close here. We have been able to transition 2 former contract locators into SUE/Private, but we've had far more that have washed out very quickly. I would classify the two I have as exceptions rather than the rule. The less tenured (but very astute) contract locators will fare much better as they have not developed as many bad habits as a seasoned contract locator. (Bad habits developed for self-preservation, I know...) ETF is also correct is his thinking that an EM signal is the same, it is, it really does boil down to having the proper mindset for the work, quality over quantity.

    Unfortunately, in my discussions with several of the other SUE company owners/managers on the East Coast, they just simply will not touch contract locators. Each has their own reasons why, and that's just the way it is. I try to be a little more open minded, but I am extremely critical of the contract locator resumes that cross my desk. As is often the case in other professions like Fire Fighting, etc. it's just easier, cheaper and safer to "Home Grow" your locators rather than try to beat them into the proper mindset and beat the bad habits back out of them.

    Now, as for PL's statement about SUE companies calling in design tickets, I don't know anything about that, and if one was, they should close their doors because they aren't an SUE company. It actually is the engineering and survey firms calling in those tickets to save money. Once they have been burned enough times, they will eventually seek the services of a proper SUE firm and will get the product they need.
    Last edited by ifinditunderground; January 23rd, 2013 at 09:33 AM.
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    Mke
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    I see where you guys are going with that, and I agree. It really comes down to the type of locator and not neccisarily wether he does privates or publics.

    How would you weigh the experience? Wing mentioned being critical of some contract locating resume's that come accross his desk... Would you put more weight behind Private experience or Public experience?

    So, If you owned a locataing company. Would you hire a guy who's been in contract locating for public utilities for 20 years or a guy who's been doing SUE / Privates for 10?

    I ask, because i'm going through these applications and some of them have only located water and sewer and no electrical, or electrical and no water or sewer. I know these skills can be learned but with time, which i don't quite have.

    mke

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    I see where you guys are going with that, and I agree. It really comes down to the type of locator and not neccisarily wether he does privates or publics.

    How would you weigh the experience? Wing mentioned being critical of some contract locating resume's that come accross his desk... Would you put more weight behind Private experience or Public experience?

    So, If you owned a locataing company. Would you hire a guy who's been in contract locating for public utilities for 20 years or a guy who's been doing SUE / Privates for 10?

    I ask, because i'm going through these applications and some of them have only located water and sewer and no electrical, or electrical and no water or sewer. I know these skills can be learned but with time, which i don't quite have.

    mke
    MKE, what I look for is good job history, no changing jobs every year or two years. Obviously if they have SUE or Private Locating experience I am going to steer for those guys, but that is my specialty, and I've stated more detail above. Obviously for you, you need someone that is well rounded -a very hard thing to come by. I'd lay more weight in a locator that was heavily experienced and with a sound record in locating Water and Gas lines. They tend to be far more difficult than the cable utilities. And if they have that much experience, they SHOULD also be pretty good at problem solving, since they SHOULD have spent a great deal of time trying to pull their water and gas lines out of the ground between multiple conductors that locate much better. Just my $.02
    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


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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post

    How would you weigh the experience? Wing mentioned being critical of some contract locating resume's that come accross his desk... Would you put more weight behind Private experience or Public experience?


    mke
    Oh my God!!! You called ifindituderground WING! Change your name and move!

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    I did note that, it's gotta be worth a weeklong ban or something. At least he didn't call me Justice John. That would be very upsetting.
    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


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    Mke
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    Oh my God!!! You called ifindituderground WING! Change your name and move!
    D'oh. To my defense I just had a big swig of hand sanitizer.

    I meant no offense to whomever would be more offended.

    Mke

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    It might just be Wing. However, if I remember correctly we are both Irish so we'll have a drink or two and fix any bad blood that may occur.....
    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


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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    whoever has the engineering mindset of the utility world as we know it......and loves this job as most of us do....they...(whoever they are )can do either one with some difficulty ,,,,of course...!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    As a recent change from electrical/cable/telephone locator to water and sewer, I would say that that would be your best route. I am so used to hooking up, that I will go find a hydrant for ductile iron in a heartbeat, and run it as far as I can. After that, I use a probe rod to engage the pipe itself, ground away, and run it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
    I guess, as was stated, problem solving is used to its fullest, and I have to find another alternative, which usually involves induction, and the probe rod as a second verification. I know I can't do that in streets, or parking lots, but finding valves, and noticing where my marks lead me help out. Prints for water and sewer are a blessing, as most of the stuff was babysat by engineers when it was going in.
    That's coming from my perspective, though.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    There are, but they may not be what many of us would normally believe. For example, the worst locating I have ever seen by someone with more than a years experience was some work I saw an SUE foreman do about three seasons back. Just absolute made up B.S., "going through the motions" locating. Everything that I could back check after he left the site was wrong. Everything. That's not usually the case at all with these guys around here. They are far better as a whole than their contract counterparts here. That said, the absolute best locator I know here ( myself excluded lol...) is a contract guy whom I've known forever. He is nothing short of an amazing problem solver, and I've run some of my own oddball stuff past him, and he's been a great help. Bottom line for me is this: Tenacity, and focus are what you need on either side, and humility doesn't hurt either. Strive to do your best always, and strive to learn all you can. Wisdom appears in the strangest places sometimes.
    Last edited by Bad Robot; January 23rd, 2013 at 09:26 PM.

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there truely a difference between Private Locating and Public Locating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Tenacity, and focus are what you need on either side, and humility doesn't hurt either. Strive to do your best always, and strive to learn all you can. Wisdom appears in the strangest places sometimes.
    Extremely well put Bad Robot.
    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


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