Frequently Asked Questions

Where are your services available?

We are based in Ramseur, North Carolina, very close to the geographic center of the state. Residential and commercial service is available up to roughly 100 miles from our office; further by special arrangement.

What do you charge?

We strive to offer the lowest possible prices to both individual and commercial clients alike, but each property and project is different, from logistics to complexity, so it is nearly impossible to offer a one-size-fits-all price.

Our price structure is based on a flat fee covering one or two hours on-site, depending on the type of site we are servicing (residential v. commercial). Sites further from our office may incur additional fees for mileage.

If you find a professional locating service offering better prices at a comparable distance, send us a verifiable quote and we will make every effort to meet or beat that price. For specific pricing please contact us or request a quote.

What are your payment terms?

Commercial clients in good standing may opt to be invoiced upon completion of each service call.  We prefer to submit invoices via email whenever possible.

All invoices are due upon receipt. Payment is expected within no more than thirty (30) calendar days from the date each invoice is issued. We reserve the right to refuse credit to anyone for any reason, or no reason, at any time.

All individuals – and commercial clients at our discretion – should expect to render payment via cash, credit or debit card, or company check at the time services are delivered. 

We no longer accept personal checks, but we will happily accept your debit card instead. We use Square to process all credit & debit card payments. We will never ask you for payment before services have been rendered.

What are your qualifications?

Piedmont Locating Services is owned and operated by Jay Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard began his utility locating career in 1992 and spent most of the next eighteen years gaining daily hands-on experience protecting electrical, telecommunication, and pipeline utilities across central North Carolina, and parts of Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia working for contract utility locating companies and civil engineering firms. Prior to entering the utility damage prevention industry Mr. Hubbard studied electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, and attended Western Carolina University where he studied broadcasting and social sciences.

How long have you been in business?

Piedmont Locating Services was established on November 1, 2010.

Are you insured?

Yes.  We carry general liability and workman’s compensation insurance. Certificates of insurance are available upon written request.

We issue hundreds of certificates of insurance every year.  Certificate renewals are the holder’s responsibility.  If your certificate expires, please request an update. Email works best.

Why are residential and commercial sites billed differently?

Residential properties typically take less time to complete and entail less overall liability for our company. Residential sites are defined as single-family dwellings on two acres or less. Larger estates with extensive infrastructure to be protected may incur higher, commercial fees.

Apartments, condominiums, and other multi-family residential settings are considered commercial properties for all billing purposes.

Commercial clients also typically require tax and insurance documentation and expect to be invoiced. This often means a delay of 90 days or more between service delivery and payment. If you opt to be invoiced you will be billed at the commercial rate regardless of the type of property being serviced.  Help us keep our rates as low as possible by paying your bill promptly.

What methods do you use to locate underground utilities?

Piedmont Locating Services utilizes electromagnetic signal tracing to locate most underground facilities. Most facilities that will conduct an electrical signal can be located by this method. We maintain a number of single and multi-frequency locating instruments and constantly seek new and better technology.

Non-conductive materials such as plastic, clay, asbestos, and concrete pipes will not carry an electrical signal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t locate them. In most cases ground penetrating radar (GPR) allows us to find non-conductive facilities. Soil type & compaction, moisture content, as well as tree roots, rocks, or other debris beneath the surface can limit the performance of GPR technology. For a more detailed explanation, please read, “How Utility Locating Works”.

If I hire you do I still need to call 811?

YES!  You should always call 811 before you dig anywhere in the United States – it’s the law. Anyone who tells you that their service can absolve you of this responsibility is putting you, your company, and anyone involved in your project at grave risk, physically, financially, or both.

The 811 affiliated locating companies serving your area are contracted by specific utility companies, sometimes several at once. They have access to very detailed information about the facilities they are hired to protect.

Do not be misled by the poorly worded script NC811’s customer service representatives use. 811 contracted locators will enter and mark private properties, but they will not mark lines owned and maintained by property owners.

Piedmont Locating Services cannot accept liability for damage to utilities covered by 811 contracts or caused by any client’s failure to comply with the law. 


If 811’s locating services are free why should I hire a private utility locator?

Click image to enlarge.

In most cases, once a utility passes through a metering device or other main connection point on your property it is considered privately owned and its location/protection becomes the property owner’s responsibility.

If you are uncertain about whether or not you need to hire a private utility locator please do not hesitate to call us and ask. Our primary concern is your safety. If you don’t need us, we will tell you. Your future business or referral, not to mention our integrity, is far more important to us than generating one more invoice could ever be.

How long do locate markings last?

Locate requests made through 811 must be updated every third week (21 days) to remain legally valid. At Piedmont Locating Services we use the highest quality marking paint we can find. Our marks should last at least fifteen days if undisturbed.

During the growing season lawn mowing may cause marks to disappear faster than normal. Please consider your lawn maintenance schedule when planning for locates.

Return visits to repaint faded or otherwise destroyed marks will incur additional charges. If you’re working on a long-term project requiring regular updates to locate marks please let us know in advance and we’ll work out a schedule to fit your needs.

General Service Agreement and Terms of Service

Piedmont Locating Services (PLS) is committed to providing our customers with the most accurate utility locating service available anywhere.  We employ state-of-the-art electromagnetic signal tracing and radar imaging technologies, however, no method of underground utility locating can ever guarantee 100% accuracy or completeness.

Many variables, including, but not limited to age and condition of the facilities in question, soil type, and moisture content can adversely affect the ability of our equipment to find and trace utilities, and on rare occasions may even result in errors or omissions beyond our control. Some utilities simply cannot be found by noninvasive means. The most accurate locating instrument in the world is a shovel.

The more information you can provide us about your site, the more complete and efficient our work will be. For best results, we recommend that our clients provide us with the following information whenever possible.

  • Copies of any available schematics, plans, or as-built drawings
  • At least one on-site contact from your company, to ensure the correct area(s) are fully investigated
  • Full access to any and all utility buildings, mechanical rooms, etc. within or near the area of investigation

PLS shall not be held liable for excavation-related damage to any utility not shown on prints, maps, plans, as-built drawings, or other documents provided, or having no serviceable connection point or visible surface structure within the requested area of investigation, and/or the presence of said utility is not otherwise made evident to us before or during the performance of our work.

PLS specializes in locating private utilities not owned or maintained by local electric, telecommunications, gas, water, or sewer operators, and we assume no liability for excavation-related damage to any utility owned or maintained by public utility providers (i.e, Duke Energy, AT&T, Time Warner, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, etc.) which are typically be protected by state-mandated one-call services (i.e, NC 811, SC PUPS, Miss Utility, ULOCO, etc.).

North Carolina law stipulates that “(b)efore commencing any excavation or demolition operation, the person responsible for the excavation or demolition shall provide or cause to be provided notice to the Notification Center of his or her intent to excavate or demolish… within three (3) to twelve (12) full working days before the proposed commencement date of the excavation or demolition.” – § 87-122

In the course of our work, there are times when we must mark facilities owned by public utility providers in order to eliminate them from our search process. Marks placed on public utilities to facilitate this process should never be relied upon in lieu of contacting public utility locators as mandated by state or federal law.  Employing Piedmont Locating Services does not fulfill this legal obligation and we assume no liability for any client or property owner’s failure to comply with NC law. 

Call 811 at least three days before you dig.