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Thread: Getting into the industry

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    Default Getting into the industry

    Hello guys,

    My name is Sean, I've been a surveyor for three years and our firm is looking to get into the utility locate business. We are located in Texas.

    I just have a few questions. What does one have to do to start receiving locate tickets? Are there training or insurance requirements? How do we get our name "on the radar"?

    I know that we may eventually provide a little competition in the industry, but a little information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sean

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    I am on the doing the marking end, not starting and running the firm.

    You have to decide which part of the market you are going to start in, contract locating or SUE.

    Contract locating is subcontracting to the utility firms and municipalities to mark their plant in accordance with the local call before you dig laws. This is usually a good sized start up effort and hard to do with no track record.

    Then there is SUE which are private locates for proposed construction or feasibility studies of a site prior to purchase. This is a smaller start up and the most likely place to start getting a name in the industry. Right now many of these SUE firms are feeling a strong loss of business due to the poor economy, the demand is less. While contract locating is driven by local laws requiring it even they feel the lower number of locates called for. SUE work is very economy driven.

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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    Thanks Pro.

    That's good info. Just looking to get a foot in the door, you know what I mean? SUE seems reasonable for what we already have set up as a surveying firm.

    Let me ask you another question: What sort of training makes a good locator? I have used the electronic transmitter/receiver method in the past to locate gas facilities, but cannot seem to figure out how to locate fiber optics, telephone, PVC water lines, etc. I'm looking for some local training or some sort of hands-on program/seminar.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by seanicompton View Post
    Thanks Pro.

    That's good info. Just looking to get a foot in the door, you know what I mean? SUE seems reasonable for what we already have set up as a surveying firm.

    Let me ask you another question: What sort of training makes a good locator? I have used the electronic transmitter/receiver method in the past to locate gas facilities, but cannot seem to figure out how to locate fiber optics, telephone, PVC water lines, etc. I'm looking for some local training or some sort of hands-on program/seminar.

    Thanks in advance.
    One, hire an experienced locator, preferably with a background in SUE.

    Since most locators are trained by the firms that first hired them you do not have that options, so...

    Two, pay for training at a place like StakingU, http://www.underspace.com/staking_u/index.php .

    If you search through the postings here you will get a lot of tips on how to hook up and trace at lot of different utilities. Just look through the past postings. Surf into this page http://www.thecablevine.com/forum/forum.php and you will see headers for the subjects of the different forums.
    Try looking through the Forum "Tech Talk" though with the informality here tips and tricks can turn up in any forum or thread. We tend to wander sometimes, I think it has something to do with the paint fumes.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    Back in the day ours were all made of wood. If you are handy make a set but a lot easier to buy some.

    Ours were called "barricades" but they really were not capable of stopping anything but pedestrian traffic. I know becasue one coworker got pinned to a truck by a car running through them, lost his leg.

    Some wood boards, a couple of hinges, paint and reflective tape. We opened a two side section at the hinges and the spread it out to 90 degrees. We then attached another with a simple screen door hook to form the circle around the manhole.
    Al least one needs hinges that swing both way so you can open the "door" to your work area. We even put little holders for flags on them to make them more visible. Also kept the flags handy should someone need to be flagman.

  6. #6
    Mke
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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    I think PL is channeling from another thread....

    Sean, PL is on the right track. It will probably be easier to start on the SUE end and bid on smaller one-call contracts if thats what floats your boat. Being a survey company you already know about insurance and the coverage you need. The likely hood is you will need way more when you spread into locating.

    The best way to get your foot in the door is to hire an experienced Locator. One who knows how to locate multiple utilities with multiple different pieces of equipment. Locating is more of a "prove it" type of profession, having certificates from training seminars may look good on a bid application, but they won't use you unless you can prove your knowlege out in the field. I know someone who knows his stuff, and has been locating on the better part of 20years. He still had to prove himself to the clientel.


    The hard part is finding a good experienced locator, if your not a locator you may blow past some warning signs a seasoned locator can hone in on. Everyone thinks they can locate, untill thrown into a situation where their abilities are deminished due to site conditions....and the good ones progress through the situation, and the bad ones burst into flames.

    Good luck

    Mke

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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    I think PL is channeling from another thread....

    Mke
    I wondered where that posting went to.

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    The hard part is finding a good experienced locator. If your not a locator, you may blow past some warning signs a seasoned locator can hone in on. Everyone thinks they can locate, until thrown into a situation where their abilities are diminished due to site conditions....and the good ones progress through the situation, and the bad ones burst into flames.
    Hey Mke - I'm impressed on how you broke it down to layman's terms. I quit carrying my fire extinguisher years ago. Maybe I should carry one with me now for protection because I work around huge sparks every day. Luv Ya Man!



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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    The best training? Experience hands down.

    It's not hard to get a handle on the theory, but theory is no where near reality.

    When looking for an experienced locator, I would suggest that if you hire someone they have a proven background with both h2o and Gas. Locating only telecommunications is a different world than deep and low capacative pipelines.

    I've seen SUE firms fail miserably trying to locate our h2o, electric and gas. At times 9 feet off.

    Then again, we don't have the high caliber SUE firms like some of the members on here.

    I've also had "certified trainers" tell our crew "you can't do that, that can't work." and then proven wrong.

    Point being: Get some diversely experienced help for your start up, and remember no one knows how to locate everything.
    Training can only get you a beginning in the field, experience will truly train.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting into the industry

    welcome to our site the vine...post often once you get your foot in the door............Good luck dude!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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