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Thread: New member with some random questions :)

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    Default New member with some random questions :)

    Hi i am new to the site, i ran across it browsing through the internet on utility locator jobs. Any help and incite is appreciated!!! My first question is:
    Is utility locating physically demanding? (i been browsing around this board and have seen people make the comment "we paint dirt" and wonder how its a back breaking job)
    Another question is how often do you have to work with contractors? (i can imagine some can be a pain in the butt)
    Does USIS offer tuition reimbursement?
    Do you have sick days at USIC?
    How much driving do you do? (hrs driving VS hrs working in a days time or week, does a 60 hr week mean 20 hrs driving 40 on foot)
    Are the trucks at USIC nice and reliable?
    Is the training very hard?
    Also does anyone know, is USIC training a state certification or company?

    I know they might be some random questions but some incite from others experienced in field would be great! Thanks!

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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    Welcome aboard!

    Hi i am new to the site, i ran across it browsing through the internet on utility locator jobs. Any help and incite is appreciated!!! My first question is:
    Is utility locating physically demanding? (i been browsing around this board and have seen people make the comment "we paint dirt" and wonder how its a back breaking job)


    Physically it is not a demanding job. But is a very stressful job and at the end ot the day you can feel worn out.

    There can be long hours for days at a time, 10 - 12 or more hours a day including weekends.

    It is an outdoor job so sometimes you work in adverse weather.

    The industry is 24/7/352. While we do routine work daily there are emergency call outs nights and wekends. So you will periodicly be doing on-call. So working with little sleep is routine when doing oncall.


    Another question is how often do you have to work with contractors? (i can imagine some can be a pain in the butt)

    Most locators are grumpy, stressful job, and are a pain in the butt. You will work with contractors every day.


    Does USIS offer tuition reimbursement?

    I do not know.

    Do you have sick days at USIC?

    hee hee hee. Most USIC employees have found they feel sick everday.


    How much driving do you do? (hrs driving VS hrs working in a days time or week, does a 60 hr week mean 20 hrs driving 40 on foot)

    Driving, windsheild time, depends on the area you are assigned. Regardless you will be driving a lot.

    Are the trucks at USIC nice and reliable?

    USIC is just a few years old. Some investors got some money together and bought two companies to form USIC. So you may have a recent truck or and old one. I hear mostly they have recent trucks.

    the problem our industry has right now is the supply of trucks. Full size pickups are too big for most of our uses so trucks like the Ford ranger are used. The Ranger, Chevy Colorado (plus the GMC verzion) and Dodge Dakota are no longer built. If you want an appropiate sized pickup it is the Nissan or Toyota and with less competition for these trucks they need not offer such a good price.

    This industry tends to get dominated by bean counters who have little understanding of the physical demands on vehicles. The disturbing trend is to buy small cars like the Cheyc Cobalt and Aveo. These are terribly inadiquate for the task , never built for industrial use. Darn things do not have the small trucks duability or work use effecency.
    They tend to fall apart under the beating the job gives them. A real event; Locator stopped at intersection and the rear wheel passed him, it fell off. I beleive that car was three yeas old.

    Overall USIC is known for good trucks.


    Is the training very hard?
    Also does anyone know, is USIC training a state certification or company?


    Unless you are an idiot training is not hard. Most areas company certifaction.

    There is initial training and on the job learning. I have somthing like 25 years in the utility industry and still learn something new all the time. You never stop learning and if you do you don't last long.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    I guess I have a different oppinion on the physicality of the job. It really depends on what company you go with, USIC being a contract company shouldn't be to bad. However, Manhole lids are not as feather light as they look. Normal lids are a piece of cake. Where i'm at we have aviation rated MH lids wich can get upwards of 1200lbs. These lids are nut busters if you are not carefull. We actually have a portable MH lifter with dual magnets and it can barely budge these lids. Not to mention the hikes you have to go on. If your lucky you will only have to carry some extra paint. If you aren't, you have to carry extra gear and tools...and paint.

    Driving? I'm with PL on this one. Depends on your area. When I was doing private locates traveling from northern Cali to the Canadian boarder, from the Ocean to the boarder of Idaho, I put a crapload of miles on the company car. I've put on a little toyota matrix 96k in one year. However, if you live in the city you are locating in.... you will be no where even close to that #.

    mke

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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    Hi guys thanks for the replys!! I live in kinda a rural area...not exactly your metro type city like the bigger ones but it seems those big cities are the ones where the locators are slammed. I come from a job where everything was manual labor...if u were on a job for 10 hrs then 10 hrs were spent working and moving material by hand 95 or 65. So when i was reading some people say physically demanding and others say "we paint dirt" i was kinda confused. Wasnt sure if people new the difference between.work and WORK haha. This group seems pretty cool and very informative! Thanks!

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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    I guess not many people have input....

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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    Its not a labor intensive job. It is a fast paced job with much stress depending on your work load. Some have it easier than others. We paint dirt, grass, asphalt, and whatever else you can step on. And we paint A LOT of it.

    As for your comment about work vs WORK. It is all relative. I would rather haul dirt all day than, say, stand at attention in front of the Queens palace all day. I couldn't handle it. I would go nuts and probably quit after an hour. To me, the standing at attention is much more physically demanding (and mentally) than hauling dirt. So, some might consider locating more demanding because of its fast paced and stressful nature.

    Just my thoughts.

    Welcome to the site.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member sauroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: New member with some random questions :)

    I guess physically demanding depends on which utilities you currently "paint". There are days where you will walk your a$$ off, and others where you drive from one spot to another, and another, and another, etc. you may be in a "rural" setting, but I have found some of the hardest locates in those areas.
    There is no certification that can give you a chance to move on to another state and say I am certified, except in gas. And you want all the training you can get from the company as well as outside. You have come to the right place. There are people here that could spit and tell you where a line runs IN THEIR AREA, but can get lost just like everyone else on simple locates for someone else.
    THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE, I will reiterate, THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE! If someone told you they have a degree in locating, they may be either insane, or a fool. This is a practice and an art combined. NOONE has all the answers, because it is learning, applying, and failure on some points.
    USIC does offer tuition reimbursement, unless they have dropped that as well as other things....like raises. It is a great start, but do expect 60 plus hour weeks, as turnover is very high. I went through 4 supervisors in 3 years working for them, and out of a class of 11 people, there were 2 that were still in the field 3 years later.
    High production is key for them, oh, and don't get damages, you may have to run 30 or 40 tickets a day, but don't get damages.

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