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Thread: Face to face

  1. #46
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    I second Steve's post......stick around and do some reading, there is plenty of info to read and learn from here.
    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


  2. #47
    Junior Member Linden Riddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    I wonder if his posting on The Cablevine had anything to do with him getting passed over?

  3. #48
    Junior Member Indy911's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Gee, lets hope not. I just applied with Bloodhound. Not sure if they work up here in Northern Indiana, but I applied anyway. Thanks for the tip.

  4. #49
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Good Luck.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  5. #50
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    You could also send OVUS1 a PM asking him about contracts and work in your area, it might take him a little time to get back to you, but I'm confident he would.
    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


  6. #51
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy911 View Post
    Hello all.

    Jumped through most of the hoops and have my face to face interview coming up. Never worked in this field before, but have done outdoor work for a major toll road. Pleased to see that even in the lean months you still get your 40 hours in. From what i have seen, most of you really enjoy your work.
    I have yet to discuss pay and don't want to undervalue myself. I'm currently unemployed and collect about 330 a week. Without being too personal, may I ask how much I should expect, or ask for when we get to the point of pay?

    Looking foward to joining the brotherhood.

    Simper Gumby
    When it comes to pay as a newcomer you will start out at whatever they offer as starting pay. I mean you have no experience and they have to train you.

    Part of the training expense comes after training, for some period of time you will have low productivity. Plus it is common to get damages in your first year or two. Damages cost varies due to utility and even who you have your contract with but $1,000 cost to the company as an average can be expected. Some places more, some places less.

    As completely new to the business you can expect to have lower productivity and a higher damage rate.

    A tip: It is common for supervisors to push to you increase your productivity. You do this before your level of experience catches up to the speed they want you will "damage out". If you give into the pressure you will get so many damages they will fire you. So just do the best YOU can, speed and productivity will come with experience.

    The pay for a locator varies wildly and the gross amount is no indicator of the value they are paying out. Someone may be making two dollars an hour less. But in your area a one bedroom apartment costs $1,200 a month and in their area it costs $500 a month. You may get a higher income but they get more buying power due to the lower cost of living in their area. Do not worry about the gross figure except for your needs in your area.

    Something else to consider. Every state in the Union has call before you dig and marking laws. Once you have been a locator for awhile you can move anywhere in the country and find a job. You may not want to be a locator but there is that job waiting. Using the Internet you can find locating firms in any area and set up a new job anywhere in the country. If nothing else you can set yourself up with move to another part of the country if you want. Heck, I got offered a locating job in Canada!

    One thing you will find about locating is this, not everybody is cut out for this job. Part of the turnover rate is people that try it and it is just not for them. Me, I love it. And like the rest here I bitch and complain about it, but I love it.

    Like I told one supervisor. Locating is a high stress job and locators are cranky. By their nature employees complain and locators complain loudest. This is a good thing, worry about when they stop complaining. If they are not complaining then they are plotting against you, maybe a coup. Locaotors are the safest when they are complaining, makes them happy.

    Here is another observation about locating. Locating is half science and half art. That locating machine will not due the job for you no matter how sophisticated it's electronics. Your skill will be the determining factor more than the equipment you use.

  7. #52
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy911 View Post
    Well folks, I guess this is my last post. The company passed on me. Said there were people with better qualifications being considered. Thanks to all of you for your input and help. Stay safe.

    I am sorry the hear that, but - - -KEEP TRYING!

    There is in general a high loss rate among locators. People come in and do not like this type of work, very common. Others come in and no matter how good the training they get they just do not catch on. Others come in just looking for a place to goof off and collect a pay check.

    I worked at one place for two years and I was one of their "senior" locators. Most people there lasted three to six months. While attrition rate varies by firm and office it is common to loose a lot of new locators in the first year. Finding locators that have more than 3 to 5 years experiance can become a needle in a haystack at some locations.

    So apply with them again in a few months whether they advertise for a locator or not. Use the net and find other locating firms in your area and just go and apply with them. Tell them the truth, that after investigation of the field you find the work appealing. You have conversed with experienced locators and know how tough the job really is and it is a the type of challenge you want in a job.

    Since you are drawing unemployment you have to apply for jobs anyway, apply for these jobs.

  8. #53
    Senior Member 6feetunder's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO View Post
    Ok, Peak....I can't take anymore. There are definately industries in which labor unions have improved working conditions and have benefitted the employees. However, Contract Locating is not one of them. Here's why:

    Based on publically available records, STS/Utiliquest saw Revenue in Sales of $217.6 million in 2008. Likewise, SM&P's Sales were estimated (cannot pinpoint due to sale of business) at around $195 million. These numbers sound high don't they? Well...we're not finished yet.

    According to a March 2009 article in the Journal of Labor Research, unionized shops within the private sector receive a 22.7% premium in wages over their non-unionized counterparts. If only it were that easy.

    Now, stay with me here. I'm not a mathematician, so let's assume that the average technician makes around $14 per hour. When you include base pay, OT, medical benefits & insurance, retirement benefits (401k), truck payments & depreciation, vacation & sick time, truck insurance, equipment depreciation, fuel & oil, cell phone, and vehicle maintenance, each tech would cost the company approximately $61k. Using our 22.7% premium number, that would jump to around $75k (give or take).

    Now, let's add in the overhead. For a company the size of the two mentioned above, you have to account for executive positions, administrative positions, legal & other professional services, IT, etc. Since these are all non-producing positions, meaning they generate no revenue, we have to add this cost in with the "per tech" cost. This brings our coust (and this is VERY ROUGH math) to about $75k and $92k respectively. I'm being really conservative with these estimates!

    So, if you have a company with 2,500 employees, a Gross Revenue of approx. $217k, and a non-union labor expense of $75k...the profit margin would be about 14%. But, if you change the numbers a little to 2,500 employees, a Gross Revenue of approx. $217k, and a UNION labor expense of $92k...the profit margin would be about -6%.

    As you can see, the profit margins for Contract Locating firms is tight to begin with, but when you add the expense of a unionized shop, it gets much worse. Unionizing is not the solution!






    Wow, where to begin, I guess I will start by saying almost everything said here is garbage. No one in this industry would even be talking about unions if 1: they were paid fair and 2. if they were treated with a little respect. Anyone operating at 14% profit margin should be shot or fired and replaced, that simply means the management is not doing their job and/or many other things are broken. There are plenty of operations pumping out close to 40% profit in this industry, obviously that is people operating extremely efficiently, but there is no reason they can't operate at right around 30%. The point is there is plenty of room to pay the locators more money if the management is doing their job and ensure things are running effeciently. Efficiency does not just come from labor cost, you have supplies, equipment, maintenance , damage costs, etc. The truth is most operations are not doing their jobs as they should so they don't make as much profit as they should. The problem is even in the areas where profits are maximized " the company " still doesn't want to shell out some change to give those employees proper due raises/wages because of all the other areas not doing their jobs. Stop making excuses for " the companies " they are making big time money, otherwise they would not be in the business. I am not saying unions have all the answers, and/or are the solutions to the problems the locators face, but without one the little guy has no power to do anything except get fired for opening his mouth. As far as not being able to absorb the increase in labor cost, that is complete BS. I have seen some of the union wages in the locating industry and they are not the same as the union wages of the facility owner companies. For example in one case I know of a 5 year locator would make 18/hr in the locate union ( not unreasonable ) vs. 5 year people I know of making around 11/hr ( insane ). Good luck trying to form a union, the truth is you will be fired as soon as " they " know who you are, and it's an extremely hard thing to get instituted.
    Life's a garden, dig it! - Joe Dirt

  9. #54
    Junior Member Indy911's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Thanks Pro Loc, that's great advise. I will.

  10. #55
    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by 6feetunder View Post
    Wow, where to begin, I guess I will start by saying almost everything said here is garbage. No one in this industry would even be talking about unions if 1: they were paid fair and 2. if they were treated with a little respect. Anyone operating at 14% profit margin should be shot or fired and replaced, that simply means the management is not doing their job and/or many other things are broken. There are plenty of operations pumping out close to 40% profit in this industry, obviously that is people operating extremely efficiently, but there is no reason they can't operate at right around 30%. The point is there is plenty of room to pay the locators more money if the management is doing their job and ensure things are running effeciently. Efficiency does not just come from labor cost, you have supplies, equipment, maintenance , damage costs, etc. The truth is most operations are not doing their jobs as they should so they don't make as much profit as they should. The problem is even in the areas where profits are maximized " the company " still doesn't want to shell out some change to give those employees proper due raises/wages because of all the other areas not doing their jobs. Stop making excuses for " the companies " they are making big time money, otherwise they would not be in the business. I am not saying unions have all the answers, and/or are the solutions to the problems the locators face, but without one the little guy has no power to do anything except get fired for opening his mouth. As far as not being able to absorb the increase in labor cost, that is complete BS. I have seen some of the union wages in the locating industry and they are not the same as the union wages of the facility owner companies. For example in one case I know of a 5 year locator would make 18/hr in the locate union ( not unreasonable ) vs. 5 year people I know of making around 11/hr ( insane ). Good luck trying to form a union, the truth is you will be fired as soon as " they " know who you are, and it's an extremely hard thing to get instituted.
    30 - 40% profit margins? Dude, what are you smoking? You might need to provide a sample for testing....

    As the owner of a decent sized company in this industry segment, I can tell you without question that those margins you dreamed up are not even close to reality.

    This type of misperception is dangerous, trying to convince others that this is "reality" is just plain wrong.

    Have you ever owned a business? Do you have any idea of the ACTUAL costs of owning a real, functioning business, especially one in this market segment?

    I love guys who think labor costs are limited to the hourly wage of the employee. There are so many other things like, FUTA, SUTA, FICA, etc, etc...Workers Comp insurance (do you know how workers comp insurance rates are calculated?), auto insurance, liability insurance, property insurance, medical/dental/life insurances. There are overhead costs for office rent, utilities, cell phones, computers, software, time keeping, payroll costs (you think prepping & printing checks is free?) digital cameras, batteries....oh I could go on and on...job cost/receivables financing (not everyone pays their bills on time...how do you make payroll if your client(s) does not pay the bill?) There is overhead for payroll clerks, accounting department staff, management, set aside reserves for damages, legal fees, corporate taxes, corporate filing fees, licenses, occupational licenses, training, re-training, drug & alcohol testing and reporting, OSHA compliance....I hope you are getting the picture...it is not uncommon for an employee to cost his employer 3x or more what his hourly wage is....so your $11 an hour guy could be costing his employer $33 an hour or more.

    It really frosts me when people talk out of their a$$. If it is so easy, start your own company, pony up the funds and show us how its done...Signing your name on the line for the first million is the scariest one, the millions after that are less and less scary.

  11. #56
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    You just eliminated all future competition.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  12. #57
    Senior Member 6feetunder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_CAS View Post
    30 - 40% profit margins? Dude, what are you smoking? You might need to provide a sample for testing....

    As the owner of a decent sized company in this industry segment, I can tell you without question that those margins you dreamed up are not even close to reality.

    This type of misperception is dangerous, trying to convince others that this is "reality" is just plain wrong.

    Have you ever owned a business? Do you have any idea of the ACTUAL costs of owning a real, functioning business, especially one in this market segment?

    I love guys who think labor costs are limited to the hourly wage of the employee. There are so many other things like, FUTA, SUTA, FICA, etc, etc...Workers Comp insurance (do you know how workers comp insurance rates are calculated?), auto insurance, liability insurance, property insurance, medical/dental/life insurances. There are overhead costs for office rent, utilities, cell phones, computers, software, time keeping, payroll costs (you think prepping & printing checks is free?) digital cameras, batteries....oh I could go on and on...job cost/receivables financing (not everyone pays their bills on time...how do you make payroll if your client(s) does not pay the bill?) There is overhead for payroll clerks, accounting department staff, management, set aside reserves for damages, legal fees, corporate taxes, corporate filing fees, licenses, occupational licenses, training, re-training, drug & alcohol testing and reporting, OSHA compliance....I hope you are getting the picture...it is not uncommon for an employee to cost his employer 3x or more what his hourly wage is....so your $11 an hour guy could be costing his employer $33 an hour or more.

    It really frosts me when people talk out of their a$$. If it is so easy, start your own company, pony up the funds and show us how its done...Signing your name on the line for the first million is the scariest one, the millions after that are less and less scary.


    Exactly what I said earlier, they would have you think they make nothing. Just read this owner's post above. Why then are you in the business if you make so little?? Is it because your love for the industry?? Bah! You're making money hand over fist. Yes I know what my eyes have seen and those margins are a reality in certain cases as I've said when things are running at maximum efficiency. It's waste, poor management and overhead that could be eliminated that causes some profit margins to be so low.There is so much waste at the management / administration level, among other things but no one ever does anything about that, instead they just want more from the little guy. The great eye for some reason is always focused on the locators who are theives and low-lifes in the corporate eye and how can we get more out of them. The reality is management is the problem, everything stems from accountability, hard work and good leadership, and in most cases there is none. Yes the business has many many costs that aren't seen by the average joe but there is plenty of money to be made and there is plenty that could be shared with the guys in the grind.
    Life's a garden, dig it! - Joe Dirt

  13. #58
    Senior Member Mark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    You just eliminated all future competition.
    LOL, and he didn't even mention the cost of purchasing and maintaining a fleet of work trucks. Gee, I wonder who takes the risk in his business.

  14. #59
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    I gotta pipe in on this one. Years ago companies made good money. Those days are gone. If you read through this site you will see multiple threads on companies that underbid contracts just to get the contract. When you underbid a contract you make little to no money. You may even lose money. That is common these days.

    How can a company making 30-40% profit margins stay in business when there are multiple locate companies who are glad to come in and do it for half?

    Sure, there is always waste somewhere but that doesn't mean companies are making huge profits. If I were to guess I would say the profit margins are 3%-5% for an average company.

    I was surprised to hear that profit margins for major grocery stores are at about 1% - 2%.

    The basic rule of business is that high profit margins in an industry attract competition. Competition drives down prices so companies lose those profit margins.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  15. #60
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Face to face

    Greg and Steve, you guys hit it right on the head. 6feet, you have your head up your behind.....40% profits my red money butt. Steve said it best, 40% profits would breed so much competition any profitability to had would fall well below the 10% mark in a few years. 6feet, find some real facts, unless you are an owner or stockholder you don't have access to any and are talking out of your ass.
    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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