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Odd Jobs around the 'hood?

Discussion in 'In the Office' started by aighead, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. aighead

    aighead Well-Known Member

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    I've dug through the threads here, a bit, and didn't see anything but can't imagine you guys haven't advised on this subject, so I apologize if I didn't find info already available.

    I just got my loader backhoe a few weeks ago, for personal home use around my 6 acres of yard. I'm learning how to use it as a (for the most part) brand new equipment operator. I have some experience driving forklifts, tractors, dump trucks, and a variety of small industrial mowers, but far, far from extensive experience (forklifts probably the most). It'd be nice to earn a few bucks here and there from neighbors that need an odd job done. I assume it'd be stuff like digging out stumps or moving gravel, all pretty basic. My thought was to just stick a sign out at the end of the driveway offering my services for anyone within a couple mile radius (since I don't have a trailer I'd have to drive the backhoe anywhere). How good or bad of an idea is this?

    I rented a backhoe about a year ago and a neighbor asked me to help dig a ditch to add some drainage tiles. I almost immediately hit phone line, that he ended up paying about a grand to repair. Uh, for real, call before you dig...

    I understand there are some liabilities that are likely involved, can you have people sign away that kind of stuff? What else should I be weary of?

    Thanks, as always, for your help and knowledge!
     
  2. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    That "phone line" job coulda turned ugly if the customer decided not to pay u.??
    I think I would "WAIT UNTIL" u were approached to do a job.. I don't think I would actually advertise..
    especially if u don't have a trailer.. & no experience..
    That way u could say, Hey, U approached/asked ME..
    1st time was a phone line.. what about "next time"??
     
  3. Mother Deuce

    Mother Deuce Senior Member

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    If you tag the "right" phone line with no locate and no insurance, you can just give them the keys to the tractor when they get there... and your house. That probably won't cover the bill you will receive. This happened in the 60's in Washington and in case it is still sensitive I leave the location out. My father was installing underground phone in a very rural location. They moved to start a new run and hadn't been working for about 5 minutes when half a dozen black sedans showed up. Some representatives of federal law enforcement bailed out and ordered work to stop. Dad explained that he was in process of installing a phone duct run for the phone company. The agent replied that he wasn't installing anything there and to backfill what he had open immediately and that any continued work could compromise national security. He complied and left the area. He did find out later what the line was, it was for a defense system that has been now been removed. No harm no foul contract canceled and reissued after some routing changes.
    Be careful... no matter how pastoral it looks. I just finished a project between a electrical conduit and a 8"gas line with crossing drainage that needed to be removed
    don't be bashing through things that you feel unless you know beyond a doubt that it is one of natures finest. Really sucks when the bucket come out of the ground
    festooned with copper spaghetti! (I have made copper spaghetti before and the old saying that "one oh #$%* wipes out a thousand atta boys" (or girl's) leaps right to the forefront!)
     
  4. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    I cut the cable line one time.. same senerio, about 6 cable trucks come screamin into my yard..lol.
    I had no idea what was going on.. so I asked.
    They said, u gotta about 15 old ladies about to rip ur head off cuz they're missin "their stories".. u cut the cable line..
    They spliced it back together & off they went.. I never heard another thing about it.. no bill, no nuthin..
    not even a nasty letter..
     
  5. Mother Deuce

    Mother Deuce Senior Member

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    LOL It is just because the little old ladies weren't given your location!! :)
     
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  6. colson04

    colson04 Senior Member

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    I helped a neighbor that rented a trailer mounted tree spade for a weekend. Goal was to thin out the white pines that were planted as border privacy fence. We moved 50 white pines that weekend and when we were done, his wife asked him to move a blue spruce from near the road to a spot closer to the house. Just as we finish setting the spruce in its new home, his wife comes out saying they have no telephone and no internet. He shrugs it off, says he'll check it out in a minute. We go to set the plug in the hole the spruce xame from and that's when we noticed the wire stub sticking out into the hole. That tree had been planted years ago directly over the telephone line that runs to his house.

    Moral of the story: call Miss Dig before starting work. And if the project becomes bigger and moves to a different area than planned, call them again.

    He never called them because he hadn't planned on touching any of the trees in that area. That was a last minute change that cost him a good chunk of money to fix.
     
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  7. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Lol.. GOOD stories.. I sure hope aighead takes heed..
    MD> can u just hear the "call center".?? lol.. 15 old ladies calling in at the same time & some foreign chick on the other end saying, "OK, tank u fer callin de cabllll company.. Have u tried unplugging the box from de wall?? I'll wait..." Lol..
     
  8. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    I really don't think I would advertise.. not until your confident in your abilities as an operator.
    It doesn't look real good if u start the conversation, "I'd like to come help u out but I don't have a trailer"..
    "Neighborhood jobs" are still a REAL iffy situation.. IF u f-up on 1.. you'll never get another..
    I don't mean to squash your dreams.. its just u have no operator experience.. Go out & spend a few hundred on fuel & get familiar w/ the controls..
    Practice filling a 5 gal. bucket w/ dirt.. w/o knocking it over.. {seriously}
     
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  9. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    If you stick a sign out front advertising backhoe work then you are in business and should have all the appropriate licenses and insurance to perform such work.

    You got lucky with the phone line - what if it had been a 6" gas main or worse an electrical main? People get killed hitting unmarked utilities - this is not child's play nor weekend warrior territory in order to "make a few bucks".

    A few years ago a utility contractor was exposing a dead end water main stub in order to remove the cap and facilitate extending the main. All utilities had been marked or so we thought. UG power was marked coming up the street to the transclosure where it turned and went under the existing road that serviced houses across the street.

    There were no red power markings within 40' of the buried water main stub. Contractor proceeds to uncover the water main and finds the pipe and cap like we normally do - scratch with excavator, hand probe, shovel, rinse repeat until you find it.

    All was good or so he thought. He went 2-3' past the cap on the stub to dig out in front of the pipe, a couple of buckets and BAM! A blue fire ball shot out of the ground and we heard several transclosure's blow - he hit a primary electrical main that was not marked.

    By the Grace of God there wasn't a ground man anywhere close as it probably would've killed him. What kept the excavator from energizing had to be the fuses blowing in the transformers. Knocked out power for a dozen houses and power co had to replace 2 transformers.

    Of course no charge for hitting the line as it wasn't marked and also no apology from line locator even though his mistake could have cost a mans life.
     
  10. aighead

    aighead Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Lots of good stories and warnings!

    I like the idea of filling a 5 gallon bucket. I'm not sure when I'm considered experienced (though I'm sure it's not yet), but the stories of hitting utilities are good enough to make me hesitant. My guess, if anyone comes to me, is I'll stay out in the middle of nowhere if I attempt to help out.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, the neighbor with the phone line issue didn't pay me, though he attempted to. I was being neighborly but probably not in the way he really wanted, when it was all said and done.

    Thanks again, y'all.
     
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  11. Buckethead

    Buckethead Senior Member

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    I wouldn't excavate until you have liability insurance. A lot of liability insurance. A lot of people have found every kind of utility in places where the markout people said there were none. If you had a $1 bill for every time, you would have a nice truck and trailer to haul that backhoe.
     
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  12. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    I guess I will save the story for another day about the 6" sprinkler water line that got pulled apart by a excavator on a hospital demolition job. The live end was in the main communication room that was underground and next to it was the main electrical service entrance room. Did I mention this was a major trauma hospital.
     
  13. Mother Deuce

    Mother Deuce Senior Member

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    Holy Cow!! :eek::eek::eek:
     
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  14. aighead

    aighead Well-Known Member

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    Uh... That sounds terrible. 6" lines hold a lot of water.
     
  15. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    It was a mess. The electrical and communication rooms were off limits to us contractors before the pond building exercise. The hospital had signed off that they had capped and disconnected the pipe inside the building and that it was just laying free in the sleeve and was cut off right at the wall line. Unfortunately they had cut and capped a sprinkler main going out of a different building on campus. Pissed of the gardener to. 8 hours later we had emergency cables, temporary splice boxes, generators, and switchgear from Peterson Caterpillar working and feeding normal power to the most critical portions of the hospitals. Fortunately all critical care functions in a hospital are on the emergency side and that switchgear was in a different part of the campus. Emergency communications' were by radio and all else was by runners carrying correspondence around the hospital. This was at the very beginning of the cell phone age when less than 1 in a hundred people had phones. The pagers were down also. When the mandatory investigative review was done after the chaos was over, my team and myself was very grateful we had the signed release from the facility. We were thanked for helping with the emergency work and got paid as well.
    The phone switch shut itself down as the water level rose and suffered no permanent damage. It was designed to survive water as long as it was shut off. They were thinking fire sprinkler damage when they designed them that way but it sufficed. It did take 3 heated days to dry out and be checked out. The switchgear had some minor short damage on the utility side and popped some breakers that had to be reprogrammed after flooding but it was up and running in a couple days.
     
  16. John Canfield

    John Canfield Well-Known Member

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    With my new Bobcat E42, I’ve pulled up (on my property) two water lines one of which was the feed to the entire house, a 2” sewer drain from a lift pump and one unused electric conduit from our pump house to the house. I did however find the 4” septic line to the drain field and marked it when trenching, a huge victory. I’m happy to do work at grade for free or diesel for neighbors but going below grade is a different situation.
     
  17. Pixie

    Pixie Well-Known Member

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    I recently had the town try to fine me for moving 6 buckets of dirt across the road with a 25 HP tractor. Make sure you know the rules about driving on the road and the rules for working in a Right of Way and the local definition of Right of way.
     
  18. aighead

    aighead Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to take that as you knew the law and they didn't?
     
  19. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    One little city in my area requires a separate land disturbance permit to move one shovel of dirt from one parcel of land to the other. Of course they have nothing better to do than ride around in city vehicles and fine offenders.
     
  20. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    Power line + excavator boom = one hell of a bright flash.