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Thread: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

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    Question Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    My firm is looking to hire a utility locator with 1-3 years of experience (RD8000 or similar and/or GPR) to do private utility investigations/markouts. I need a better idea of what sort of competitive salary or hourly rate we can offer. We are located in the NY/NJ region. Any help would be much appreciated!!!!!

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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    15 / hr.
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    I wouldn't hire anybody with only 1-3 years experience to do private utility locating.Leave them at 811,they don't have the basics down yet.Last thing you wanna do is turn them loose on locating private utilities were there are no prints,and they have to figure things out.You need to look for people that have no less than 15 years experience on locating all utilities.Hiring the wrong people can really cause your company problems.
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    Don't know the cost of living in NY but the midwest is around 25.00 plus bennies.
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    Quote Originally Posted by yaherdme22 View Post
    I wouldn't hire anybody with only 1-3 years experience to do private utility locating.Leave them at 811,they don't have the basics down yet.Last thing you wanna do is turn them loose on locating private utilities were there are no prints,and they have to figure things out.You need to look for people that have no less than 15 years experience on locating all utilities.Hiring the wrong people can really cause your company problems.


    Experience is everything. 1 - 3 years is just enough to give a false sense of security. If all they have is 811 experience then they need troubleshooting experience they won't get in the first 3 years. Besides, if you pay a good locator too little, you'll have him looking to move on for more money. Pay him enough to stick with you and you'll have a locator for life.

    I'd say no less than $20/hr with regular raises or attainable bonuses. Maybe more depending on where in the North/East you are.
    Last edited by daman1; March 10th, 2016 at 01:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    I think any locator who can perform privates at an acceptable level should be worth a crap load of money. I'd say $20 to start with benefits (these can include 401k's or insurance or Bonus' for performance). This wage can't be stagnant. You have to keep giving them raises to keep them producing and putting up with all the crap on a day to day basis. No 19 cent raises. As long as they are performing adequately, they should be getting good raises.

    The question is, Do you want some one with 1-3 years private locating experience or 1-3 years Public locating experience? There is two different facets of employees you will get. I went through the hiring process for a second locator a few years back. Out of the 40+ applications only 6 were true locators (people who are used to daily locating) One of these guys was from out of state and my work didn't want to fly them in. One owned his own GPR business and wanted 80K a year... he had no locating experience other then GPR. So I was left with 4. One was a guy I previously worked with who worked for a public locating company for 2 years before he started doing privates. He couldn't pass a piss test though. Now I'm down to 3 guys. One was my supervisor when I was doing publics and the other two were public guys with no private experience. One had about 3 years experience, and the other had about 12.

    I couldn't pic my supervisor due to the physical requirements of the job and the fact that he had two bum knees. So now I'm down to two. I went with the guy with 12 years experience thinking that his experience can carry him through the learning process of locating all the other utilities. I was wrong. I think there is a fine line between too much experience and just enough to be open to new techniques. You almost have to hire someone with 1-3 years but yet train them in the ways of private locating for a few months before slowly giving him some cake work to cut his teeth on.

    So when it comes down to it. Aim for the 2-5 year locator and offer around 16-18 depending on where you are located, and step him up to $20 if he is performing on his own @ the 6 month mark. If he continues performing well and understanding the job, bump him to $22 at a year. Show him that as long as he keeps improving that he is rewarded for such. At his year mark, the performance bonus' should be keeping him interested then you can give him raises accordingly.

    starting a new guy off @26 an hour seems a bit high for me. Specially considering I'm not much higher then that and I'm in-house in a government agency with 14+years of experience.

    mke
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    Thanks everyone for your input. My main interest is finding someone who is familiar with the equipment and has locating experience (preferably private utilities). I plan to do a period of training and tag-alongs with me for a while, with the length depending on experience level. I am not planning on throwing this person out there and expect them to get results without any extra input from me.

    My company only uses Monster to list the posting and search for resumes, I am trying to get our recruiter to register to utilityes.com but can anyone recommend any other sites where we can search specifically for utility locators?

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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    Quote Originally Posted by jking123 View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input. My main interest is finding someone who is familiar with the equipment and has locating experience (preferably private utilities). I plan to do a period of training and tag-alongs with me for a while, with the length depending on experience level. I am not planning on throwing this person out there and expect them to get results without any extra input from me.

    My company only uses Monster to list the posting and search for resumes, I am trying to get our recruiter to register to utilityes.com but can anyone recommend any other sites where we can search specifically for utility locators?
    If you hire someone with only 1-3 years experience they will be riding and tagging along with you for years.You will just be paying that person to keep you company.There is no way to quick train someone on locating private utilities.The first thing you need to do is find someone with at least 15 years experience in locating (all utilities).Good Luck
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    On a side note... Not sure how you do privates without an 810 or pipehorn in the bag. I perform most of my locates with the 810 and the use of induction.

    Matter of fact, I just cleared an FAA RTR site this morning and couldn't get some of the cableing with just a ring clamp. I had to use induction in order to get quite a few of the cables and grounding...

    I actually think box placement on induction is what takes the most time when training for Privates.

    mke
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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    It really depends on what they were locating more so than for how many years. Take a CATV/TEL locator who's been in the business for 10 years, and try to get him to locate a wet utility with no input. He won't know where to start. You'll have 15+ year cable locator's trying to direct connect to Plastic Gas risers, or trying to induce on concrete water mains.

    Hooking up to a cable sheath and chasing a tone is hugely different than verifying valves, identifying pipe risers for what they are, and understanding pipeline construction enough to actually find a utility.

    A solid understanding of Induction is paramount, and passive modes are worth a million dollars in the right circumstances, however most large box locators are forbidden from using these techniques.

    You also need to be careful about some of the "theory" that is bouncing around in the contract locating world.

    In my day to day contract locating for Gas, Water, Electric, CATV, and Telephone I use a Pipehorn, RD8000, Oldschool Metrotech 810, Schonstedt, Whites, and Fischer metal detectors, and measuring devices including tapes, wheels, and laser range finders to accurately spot my utils. I also have a truck bed full of shovels and digging bars that a standard cable locator simply doesn't use.

    It seems that we are all painting our replies with a very broad brush, and you can't just look at years locating if you need a good employee.


    You take someone who's been locating for 5 years marking Gas, Water, etc, and you'll have someone who can do the job.It is all about a well rounded experience base.

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    Default Re: Going rate or average salary for locator w/ 1-3 years experience???

    Quote Originally Posted by yaherdme22 View Post
    I wouldn't hire anybody with only 1-3 years experience to do private utility locating.Leave them at 811,they don't have the basics down yet.Last thing you wanna do is turn them loose on locating private utilities were there are no prints,and they have to figure things out.You need to look for people that have no less than 15 years experience on locating all utilities.Hiring the wrong people can really cause your company problems.
    one of the smartest things I've ever read on here

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