Don’t you hate it when you call the cable company to do an install and they tell you they will be there next Tuesday between 9:00 and 5:00? Seriously, can’t they narrow it down any more than that?
When you try to schedule a time with a surveyor, it is even worse. You will likely get, “We will be there in four to eight weeks, weather permitting.” Ever wonder why?
Well, let me tell you…
First, we schedule by due date and proximity. If we have a job in Cocke county that is the next one in the queue but it won’t take a full day and we have another one close to it but is quite a ways down the list, we will schedule it as well to be as productive as possible and to reduce the time loss for travel.
Second, a survey is never straightforward. There is no way to know ahead of time, how much time it will take. What would appear to be a simple, no-nonsense survey – something that should take about an hour in the field – can take a whole day, or more. Even this isn’t that certain, because we don’t know what happened the week before. Perhaps we had 7 jobs scheduled for week 1 but only got 5 done. Now these spill over into the next week, delaying the jobs that were supposed to start that week.
Third, there is the weather. There are certain elements we can’t work in, safely. If it is raining, it is difficult to get the jobs done. Not only do we have to worry about the functionality of the electronic equipment, but optics don’t function well with water all over them. Then there is the safety factor. That $650 job just went to crap when someone slips on a wet log and breaks a leg.
Other weather events that affect our ability to work are snow, temperature, and wind. Snow isn’t always a matter of getting to the job but seeing the ground when you are on the site. Extreme temperatures can cause many issues. Too cold, and the equipment freezes (not to mention it is hard to work when you are looking like the Michelin Tire Man); too hot, and the batteries die very quick. And then there is wind. When it is too windy, one cannot stand vertical easily to hold the rod plumb. When it is windy, you cannot work under trees as things tend to fall on your head.
Finely, there is scheduling the people. Illness, vacations, and whatnot are always a factor, but moreover, we have to make a judgement call early in the morning regarding the weather and viability of working any particular day. We have to decide if the chances of work are worth the risk of paying a crew to sit in the truck all day and watching the rain fall. Labor is costly and we cannot pass the expense of non-productive days onto the clients.
This can also affect what gets scheduled when. If there is a job that can be done (because the weather if favorable there) but is way down the list, we may schedule it that morning. So we cannot give notice that we will be out there.
All of these affect our ability to stay on a schedule and are magnified exponentially when you are looking at 8+ weeks of 40+ jobs ranging from small lots to huge boundaries. So when you want an ETA for the completion of your survey, just know that often it is out of our control and we are just plodding along as best we can.