Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    15
    Rep Power
    6

    Default New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to introduce myself. I am a "Utility Locate Technician" for USIC. I have absolutely no training / experience in this field, I guess I got lucky in getting the job. I attend paid company training on the 13th, and am pretty excited. I did a ride along and the work seemed pretty interesting.

    I have a couple of questions, will I get at least 40 hours a week? I know there is only 2 locators in my area and they are swamped with tickets. I am looking to work 40-70 hours a week, I really need the money lol.

    If you are a current or previous employee of USIC, what did you like or dislike about your job? I won't get too far into this subject, as from my understanding USIC visits this forum and from the paperwork I signed - I don't want to get myself in hot water.

    Anyways, I'm excited to be a part of this trade, I know it's nothing you can get rich from, but it seems like stable / honest work.

  2. #2
    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,308
    Years of Experience
    18
    Rep Power
    65

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Welcome to the trade and to the 'vine. I'm a fellow USIC'er with about 15 years of experience.

    As far as getting in your 40 in the winter that all depends on the area. I'm in Wisconsin and we slow down alot in the winter with plenty of layoffs but the spring/summer you can't wait for the winter break.

    I enjoy working outside and being my own boss to an extent. Yes we all have bosses but it is up to you to route your tickets,complete your tickets,work with crews, and many other things on a daily basis.

  3. #3
    Senior Member locatethis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    238
    Years of Experience
    10
    Rep Power
    18

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Man, I got a kick out of your handle, ( brokendreams ). Damn that's funny. Yes , You will not get rich, but it is honest, hard work. Depending on where you work as Goldenboy has stated,you will be busy enough. When I worked for the former CLS, now USIC, where I live, we could work all the overtime we could handle, as long as you were productive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,117
    Years of Experience
    30+
    Rep Power
    57

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Like locatethis I was a USIC'er. I worked as a locator and a supervisor. Back when USIC merged CLS & SMP together, It was not too bad, I have not worked for them since 2009. In the south there was/is always work. The south does not have the shutdown like the north does. You do have the slow down during the holidays but for the most part there is plenty of work.

    Welcome to the Vine. Be careful what you post as USIC does troll this site and will try to figure out who you are.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    15
    Rep Power
    6

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    Like locatethis I was a USIC'er. I worked as a locator and a supervisor. Back when USIC merged CLS & SMP together, It was not too bad, I have not worked for them since 2009. In the south there was/is always work. The south does not have the shutdown like the north does. You do have the slow down during the holidays but for the most part there is plenty of work.

    Welcome to the Vine. Be careful what you post as USIC does troll this site and will try to figure out who you are.
    Was the salary good as a supervisor? It is to my understanding that most of the hiring for supervisor positions are internal (* within the company *), I'm contemplating whether I should stay in this trade and cap out at $17.50-$22 or do 2 years and go to college. The sense of independence, workload, tools & equipment, and overtime is what attracted me the most.

    What do / did you guys do for lunch - anytime to stop for a hamburger at the drivethru? Also, from what I've read here, USIC reports to the IRS a $3 a day charge for use of the company vehicles? What does that mean, does that affect my tax return at all?

    OH... lastly, while I still remember. Should I use "POWER" mode on the RD8000? LOL... I wont go into details, but I heard it's not recommended by the schools but used by veteran techs.

    Thanks for the welcome guys.

  6. #6
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,117
    Years of Experience
    30+
    Rep Power
    57

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by brokendreams View Post
    Was the salary good as a supervisor? It is to my understanding that most of the hiring for supervisor positions are internal (* within the company *), I'm contemplating whether I should stay in this trade and cap out at $17.50-$22 or do 2 years and go to college. The sense of independence, workload, tools & equipment, and overtime is what attracted me the most.

    What do / did you guys do for lunch - anytime to stop for a hamburger at the drivethru? Also, from what I've read here, USIC reports to the IRS a $3 a day charge for use of the company vehicles? What does that mean, does that affect my tax return at all?

    OH... lastly, while I still remember. Should I use "POWER" mode on the RD8000? LOL... I wont go into details, but I heard it's not recommended by the schools but used by veteran techs.


    Thanks for the welcome guys.
    As a supervisor my locators made more money then me. I was paid the same if I worked 40 hrs or 60 hrs. I was not a supervisor who would work out of the house. I was always in the area with my team.

    I am not sure how it is now, but you had your lunch and they wanted you to take it. You could stop and sit down and eat. Golden would be the one to answer that. The $3 a day charge is given back to you.

    Power mode will get you fired. I would get fired up if one of my techs would power mode anything. Power mode is a last resort and then just to do a safety sweep.


    Just keep the post coming. It takes a special person to do this job. I have had people that went through 6 weeks of paid training and then out in the field for 4 weeks and quit because they did not like the work---(stress).
    Last edited by UULC; February 8th, 2012 at 10:34 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member The Big-E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tampa
    Posts
    247
    Years of Experience
    10
    Rep Power
    19

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Supervisors tend to make anywhere from 40-60K depending on region...They usually promote to supe from within...as far as the locating position... I love the independence of it... being your own boss (mostly) throughout the day... you route yourself, so its up to you when you stop and eat lunch... (most locators I know either have their own lunch and eat on the go or they drive-thru and eat on the go)... me, I don't have to worry about the ridiculous production goals that the contract locators have to put up with... so I enjoy me a full hr. for lunch...

    If you can put up with the stress that you will no doubt have, if you care about your locates, then you should do fine....

    Also... the $3.00 charge is part of your income for the pay period, then they deduct it on the same paycheck... so all you end up doing is paying taxes on that extra $3.00 to your check... it's mere pennies for a 2 wk. period....

  8. #8
    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Stuck outside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again
    Posts
    311
    Years of Experience
    4
    Rep Power
    20

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post

    Power mode will get you fired. I would get fired up if one of my techs would power mode anything. Power mode is a last resort and then just to do a safety sweep.
    Power mode is a useful tool under the right circumstances, say for locating a CATV trunk that you have located numerous times the correct way and know that it is the only thing buried in that area, but I wouldn't recommend anyone that was not an expert on the area in question use it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    815
    Years of Experience
    11.75 yrs
    Rep Power
    41

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by brokendreams View Post
    Was the salary good as a supervisor? It is to my understanding that most of the hiring for supervisor positions are internal (* within the company *), I'm contemplating whether I should stay in this trade and cap out at $17.50-$22 or do 2 years and go to college. The sense of independence, workload, tools & equipment, and overtime is what attracted me the most.

    What do / did you guys do for lunch - anytime to stop for a hamburger at the drivethru? Also, from what I've read here, USIC reports to the IRS a $3 a day charge for use of the company vehicles? What does that mean, does that affect my tax return at all?

    OH... lastly, while I still remember. Should I use "POWER" mode on the RD8000? LOL... I wont go into details, but I heard it's not recommended by the schools but used by veteran techs.

    Thanks for the welcome guys.
    They are correct on that $3.00 a day thing for the truck. It is mainly done for accounting purposes for usic. USIC charges you but give it back to you.

    As for the lunch they do require you to take a 30 minute lunch. Results of several lawsuits I am pretty sure. They do not pay you for the drive there or back to your work area. Basically if you drive 30-45 minutes to go someplace to take your lunch they will not pay. They do discourage two or more locators eating lunch together. they do not want you comparing notes and such. Most locator eat their lunch in their truck between locates.

    In the Midwest here I always told the ride along or new hires that between March 1st and Nov 1st figure on at least 40 hrs if not more between 55-65 hrs a week. keep your Saturday's flexible, but if you can not plan on going out on a Sunday to catch up. Figure on 8-12 hrs a day M-F.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Dallas Texas
    Posts
    102
    Years of Experience
    too many
    Rep Power
    12

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Be carefull what you ask for you may get it! listen to what your lead tech has to say and most of all DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!!!
    if your lead tech or sup says dont worry about that area put it in your notes..
    learn the trade before anything....
    dont take shortcuts......
    when in doubt ... Mark it!!!!
    Pictures Pitures Pictures!!!!! one more PICTURES!!!!!!!! good pre digs will save your ass in case of a damage.....
    Learn your area in and out!!!
    ASK QUESTIONS NO MATTER HOW STUPID YOU THINK IT IS....
    Yes off the bat everyone will think your a pain in the ass BUT they have forgotten what they were like when they stated!!!!!!
    do not power mode ........learn your equipment very well first.....Your Lucky if you got a 8000...if thats the case you do not need to power mode..Thats when you call your Lead and/or Sup for help..THAT IS THERE JOB!!!!!
    Come on here and ask questions ....We will probably break your balls a bit but this is a great place to learn a thing or two...

  11. #11
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    2,943
    Years of Experience
    16
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    134

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    I've been doing this for about 13 years and there is one thing that still bites me in the butt now and then. READ your locate instructions and understand them. Every now and then I will read it wrong or what ever and then mark the wrong area. Then I gotta go back and do it right. I hate doing the same locate twice.

    Example: I got a ticket that said to mark the entire intersection of State St. and Plaza St., Well, I had marked out the intersection of Eagle Rd. and Plaza St. so many times in the last couple of weeks that all I saw was PLAZA St. and my mind just assumed it was Eagle and Plaza. Took me 30 minutes to do the ticket. When I was done I noticed that I had marked the wrong intersection. I wasn't happy.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  12. #12
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    2,120
    Rep Power
    94

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I've been doing this for about 13 years and there is one thing that still bites me in the butt now and then. READ your locate instructions and understand them. Every now and then I will read it wrong or what ever and then mark the wrong area. Then I gotta go back and do it right. I hate doing the same locate twice.

    Example: I got a ticket that said to mark the entire intersection of State St. and Plaza St., Well, I had marked out the intersection of Eagle Rd. and Plaza St. so many times in the last couple of weeks that all I saw was PLAZA St. and my mind just assumed it was Eagle and Plaza. Took me 30 minutes to do the ticket. When I was done I noticed that I had marked the wrong intersection. I wasn't happy.
    I have a similar situation. I have a 15th St and a 15th Pl that parallel each other. It only took one screw up to make me read the directions better.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


    The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer. or my wife , if that matters.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    15
    Rep Power
    6

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Hey all,

    Sorry for the late response, been struggling with USIC's training - getting started at least. I was supposed to start today, but we got snowed out down here (* hasn't snowed all winter and just now mother nature decides to snow :P *). Hopefully if the weather clears up, and the snow melts (*there isn't much but if the ground is wet they may not let us paint on it in training? *) I may be starting.

    About the prints, I saw some telephone prints by at&t and pioneer, wow.. so many green lines , it was hard sort of confusing but I guess I'll nail that down during training. Only sort of complaint was the gps we use is streets & tips, I was sort of expecting a garmin voice guided or directional GPS... Not being too familar to oklahoma this will be kind of annoying to have to pull on the side of the road every so often to check where to go.. Maybe down the road ill buy a gps lol.

    Last question I had, do you guys ever have to travel out of state or whatever? They told me there is a possibility, which I wouldn't mind, I like to see new places and stuff. Well thanks for the tips ill make a note.

  14. #14
    Junior Member Spray More Paint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    "OZ" and this ain't Kansas...
    Posts
    12
    Years of Experience
    17
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: New USIC employee joining the locate trade..

    Quote Originally Posted by brokendreams View Post
    Hey all,

    Sorry for the late response, been struggling with USIC's training - getting started at least. I was supposed to start today, but we got snowed out down here (* hasn't snowed all winter and just now mother nature decides to snow :P *). Hopefully if the weather clears up, and the snow melts (*there isn't much but if the ground is wet they may not let us paint on it in training? *) I may be starting.

    About the prints, I saw some telephone prints by at&t and pioneer, wow.. so many green lines , it was hard sort of confusing but I guess I'll nail that down during training. Only sort of complaint was the gps we use is streets & tips, I was sort of expecting a garmin voice guided or directional GPS... Not being too familar to oklahoma this will be kind of annoying to have to pull on the side of the road every so often to check where to go.. Maybe down the road ill buy a gps lol.

    Last question I had, do you guys ever have to travel out of state or whatever? They told me there is a possibility, which I wouldn't mind, I like to see new places and stuff. Well thanks for the tips ill make a note.
    Welcome to the locate world....
    I started with SM&P (now USIC) in Oklahoma back in 99... I trained in Tulsa and my area that I was assigned to was from the eastern suburbs of Tulsa to the Arkansas State Line, mainly centered around Muskogee. I loved it, the scenery, windshield time and the freedom of not having anyone breathing down your back. The company has bumps and issues like any others but I did relocate to northern Indiana and worked for a few more years up here before starting on with a utility company that we located for. During my time up here, over the Winter slowdown, I was assigned back to Oklahoma to help out for two months and also when they started in Illinois, I did ridealongs with the newbies to reinforce their skills and training. I oversee the locate contract now with them for my utility and have a great working relationship with all the management, supervisors and locators that are in our territory... Hope you learn your way around Oklahoma... It was tough for me for a while but that was also in the days when GPS wasn'r readily available... Lots of hand drawn maps and directions...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •