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Thread: I'm New Here - From W PA

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    Default I'm New Here - From W PA

    Hello all! Just thought I'd make my presence known as I just registered to this forum.

    My career experience is/was primarily in the environmental field with site assessment and remediation of petroleum-impacted property. One of the duties I had at a former employer was to utility locate the private properties, typically retail gasoline-dispensing stations, prior to excavation and intrusive work. Once the One Call was placed, and a few days before activities were to commence, I would visit the site to locate and mark all subsurface utilities...and then mark where the work (drilling, excavations, etc.) is to be performed. We used a C.A.T. genny and receiver, C-clamp, and metal snake to utility locate. If I didn't have a site plan, I'd create a detailed site sketch with which to show approximate locations of all underground and overhead utilities wrt site features. I thoroughly loved this part of my job, the detective work of not knowing and finding what was below the surface gave me alot of satisfaction and enjoyment, AND it was one of the easiest parts of my job.

    To cut to the chase, I'm unemployed and am considering purchasing utility locator equipment and going at it myself. As I already stated, I loved doing this activity. I don't plan this to be a get rich quick scheme...just something to provide for my home of wife and two young boys. Therefore, I soon plan to ask alot of questions here regarding this possible endeavor, and hope some will share information such as liability contract language, bidding/proposal formats, etc. (if that's not too much to ask) and I would appreciate any input (such as equipment recommendations that may be better than the CAT equipment I'm familiar with) y'all want to throw at me beforehand.

    Tom from W PA

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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Well, after reading through numerous threads from differing topics, maybe I'm jumping the gun regarding starting my own business. I've done alot of internet searches and am convinced there are no private locators in this area, which gave me the incentive to consider this field. I'm sensing that most locators here work for companies and few are in private business. I'd like to think there is a market for locating services, but now I'm beginning to wonder WHY there are no private locating firms in my area. This may be the rude awakening I need before going any farther.

    I was hoping to market services to residential needs, construction companies, engineering and environmental firms, local communities and boroughs, even locating residential septic system configurations (as I did for myself), etc. The surrounding area I live in is going through growth, not only new construction, but even oil & gas exploration and development. I'd like to think there is a need for these services, but what do I really know. Frankly I simply need employment that will suffice supporting my family, and this is an activity I am familiar with and enjoy and definitely something to consider.

    As I said before, any input would be greatly appreciated...and any criticism will be taken as constructive.

    Tom

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    I'm sure you are already on it, but just to make sure: Private Locators
    Use the search function as well, there are a couple of other threads about Private Locating posted already.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    you definitely have Locate Experience, why don't you try applying with one of the Local Companies in the State?
    USIC is the Big Player in PA but it doesn't look like many of the Current Staff is happy. Premier has work in PA also.
    Good Luck and Welcome to the Vine!

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Aside from the home owner, most contractors use engineering firm for private locates. These SUE firms do a lot of for all the mentioned. Residential work is hard to get as most home owner have no idea what 811 call before you dig is.

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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Quote Originally Posted by uulc View Post
    aside from the home owner, most contractors use engineering firm for private locates. These sue firms do a lot of for all the mentioned. Residential work is hard to get as most home owner have no idea what 811 call before you dig is.
    these days i am seeing a lot more engineering firms go after public locate contracts. Everyone is hurting even big companies who will jump into locating as long as it pays.

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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    I believe that you may do well. If you can find no other private locators in your area maybe it is because they work through word of mouth as some of the private locators do in here in Idaho. I think that if you get your name out there and start doing locates as a side job you might get a better feel for the market.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Thanks for the welcomes! I've spent the majority of this week reading threads of this site and I must say what I've read gives me the willies wrt my knowledge. I was pretty thorough at the locating I did, but I had time to complete and feel comfortable with my work, but it was all pretty much the same scenario...you guys have many sites/tickets each day and are under the gun to perform efficiently and quickly on many different scenarios.

    I'm starting to feel like a noob who knows nothing. I know that's not the case, but in a way it is, that is, if I do go out on my own. I like the idea of doing this as a side job, but right now I have no job at all.

    I've put alot of thought, made a ton of notes, have a good idea of all the equipment and tools I'll need. I've got a handle on marketing strategies, small business start up requirements, etc. from anothe venture I've decided not to pursue. I have yet to get quotes regarding personal liability insurance. I'll definitely need to generate or be provided with a thorough No Liability Contract for clients to agree to and sign before work is performed, and I see this as my biggest hurdle.

    Anywhoo...this is all speculation at this point. Reading though this site is a reality check as you guys are the real deal. I've learned alot this past week, but I feel that the more I read the less I know. One thing I do know is... I need a job, and I'm willing to take this chance!

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    I understand what you are talking about. You would think that a person who starts a site on Utility Locating would be a knowledgeable person in the field. I found out after starting this site and reading others experiences and knowledge that I have much to learn to catch up to many of the locators on this site.

    As far as Private locating, I used to do it on the side but I had a couple of scares that made me quit on the spot. I didn't want to be responsible for any injuries and I didn't want to be sued for any equipment damage. Having a piece of paper that releases you from liability is all good but it won't protect you from the court costs it takes to defend that piece of paper. You may win in court but how much will that win cost you. Will insurance cover the cost of a lawyer?
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Also, you may want to consider talking to somebody who does this for a living. There are a few people on here who make a living off of private locating. I bet if you ask nicely you could get someone to spend 20 or 30 minutes on the phone with you and that could probably get you started in a positive direction.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    Also, you may want to consider talking to somebody who does this for a living. There are a few people on here who make a living off of private locating. I bet if you ask nicely you could get someone to spend 20 or 30 minutes on the phone with you and that could probably get you started in a positive direction.
    Input coming in the morning. Too late now.
    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: I'm New Here - From W PA

    welcome to the vine dude!!! post often!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    My .02 cents=

    1. Get a professional, clear and concise contract, and get it signed before doing any work, make sure it has good disclaimers in it about unlocatable utilities, etc.

    2. Don't be cheap, pony up for Liability Insurance, damages are costly.

    If it comes down to a potential client evaluating your proposal to someone elses and the fees and service are comparable, the company with proper insurance will get the work every time. The company/person who cheaps out and just disclaimers against any liability isn't going to be as successful as the company who has proper insurance coverages.

    You don't drive your car with no insurance do you?
    Last edited by ifinditunderground; August 6th, 2012 at 03:04 PM.
    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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    Default Re: I'm New Here - From W PA

    Thanks for the welcomes and the information, ifinditunderground.

    I believe I have a handle on all aspects except for a contract. And this is where an attorney initially comes into play. I'm sure I could draft up a contract, as I'm sure there are books on the topic I could use for reference to get the structure and proper wording. But to get a document that is concise right from the getgo is what I'll need, as I can't afford poor legal drafting that's left out necessary safeguards.

    I need to look into this further.

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