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  1. #1

    Young Apprentice Stuck In Residential....Need Advice

    Im just starting into my third year as an apprentice but the company Ive worked for my entire apprenticeship only does residential service and installations. Ive always wanted to more challenging work in a commercial or industrial enviroment but this was the only job I could land out of school. Im starting to make pretty good money now but I dont want to be a journeyman down the road looking for a job and limit myself to residential work. Was wondering if its fairly easy to make the jump to commercial work from residential? Any advice on how to make a switch? (most companys looking for expirence, should I look for an entry position and start over?) any other thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks alot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    459
    I'd say look for a company that does both resi and comercial work. I was hired as resi tech out of school but the 2 places Ive worked for, did/ do both resi and commercial. As a result I began learning more and more commercial. Now I do 50/50. Light stuff though like WSHP, RTU, cooling towers etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    1,979
    Quote Originally Posted by FrostyBeer View Post
    I'd say look for a company that does both resi and comercial work. I was hired as resi tech out of school but the 2 places Ive worked for, did/ do both resi and commercial. As a result I began learning more and more commercial. Now I do 50/50. Light stuff though like WSHP, RTU, cooling towers etc.
    Don't worry zombies are looking for brains, you're safe...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Kansas City, Kansas, United States
    Posts
    13,817
    what kind of apprentice program are you in right now?
    is there a residential apprentice program?
    I WILL SELL WORK,GENERATE BUSINESS, GO GET NEW CUSTOMERS!
    YOU SHUT THE HELL UP AND QUIT RUNNING YOUR MOUTH!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange County, in a Galaxy far far away...
    Posts
    273
    I got my start in residential but knew after a few months I wanted to progress into commercial. Its tough but, jumping to commercial opens up a whole new world for you. I left a resi/plumbing company for a resi/light commercial then left that for a commercial install then jumped at an interview with my company now.
    But I had got out there and hit up 60+ companies with personal visits, resumes and cover letters, I wanted to break into commercial without the 5+ yrs experience everyone seems to want. The key be persistant, be a face or voice they remember not just another resume emailed in like 1000's of others.
    You cannot cheat an honest man. But that doesn't stop people trying!

  6. #6
    The program im in is just an HVAC&R apprenticeship program. Thanks for the comment Lightning Boy. Youve given me hope that im not trapped yet. Not lookin forward to the 60+ companys tho. haha Gotta do whatever it takes tho.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,061
    Do it now and don't look back! The sooner, the better!
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    If you've only been in residential for three years, you're still wet behind the ears....and really not ready to determine that "you're ready to move up to commercial".

    Are you an expert at residential installations and service? There is plenty of "challenge" to be had doing what you're doing now.

    You'll have much better luck finding a good commercial job, after proving yourself as a good residential tech.
    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    west burbs,il
    Posts
    145
    You can never be prepared for any level of hvac- resi,commercial,industrial, or refrigeration (each one is a different beast). Dont matter how much time you devote to each sector. If your getting that bored feeling then jump to a comany that does resi/commercial or commercial. My company does solely commercial accounts no residential and I still work on split systems from time to time. Dont matter how many years I put into comm'l I'll never be prepared for industrial (big fk'n beast) All u can do is grab your eggs and jump in.

    Heres my quote " tis easier to get hands dirty than to keep clean"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    526
    I work at a res/com/industrial. The way our company is structured you start out helping in industrial if your not a journeyman. After awhile they shove you off on your own residential. In 5-10 years after you forget stuff you learn you shift back to com/ind. Early in the game I fought for helping heavy lifting, dirty, difficult, dangerous, long hour jobs. My Mike Rowe willingness to get in and get dirty made a good name for me. With my uniforms heavily stained I added a mow-hawk to the equation and before you know it they did not want me anywhere near our residential customers. Let me tell you my heart was broken. Residential was just not for me I just love filthy junk too much.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    west burbs,il
    Posts
    145
    MR. freightshaker is right. lol I started out doing tin knocking out of trade school for 2 years and forgot half of what I learned in troulbeshooting/service. Started doing comm'l service and forgot half of tin working, now I'm doing both. Your always learning, forgetting and relearning. Commercial is what I enjoy, resi side work I enjoy much more $$$$, but coulnt imagine wearing booties all the time

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Kansas City, Kansas, United States
    Posts
    13,817
    i have been doing this for 30 years and am pretty good at it!!!!!!!!!!!

    that said! i havent mastered anything yet! not even paperwork!

    true knowledge exists in knowing you know nothing!!!!!!!!!
    socrates, I think"?







    Quote Originally Posted by John Markl View Post
    If you've only been in residential for three years, you're still wet behind the ears....and really not ready to determine that "you're ready to move up to commercial".

    Are you an expert at residential installations and service? There is plenty of "challenge" to be had doing what you're doing now.

    You'll have much better luck finding a good commercial job, after proving yourself as a good residential tech.
    I WILL SELL WORK,GENERATE BUSINESS, GO GET NEW CUSTOMERS!
    YOU SHUT THE HELL UP AND QUIT RUNNING YOUR MOUTH!

  13. #13
    I wish I could get a job just doing residential. I hate climbing up on a roof, getting the rope out, washing coils all day. A/C farming is about as boring as it gets if you ask me. And then you get lost half the time in the warehouse or plant. I did a corp. building the other day and they wouldn't let me use the roof access and made get out the ladder that just wrecked my back. I think on the tech. side commercial is easy if you have somebody to show you. I do hate when in a home and they don't leave you alone when your trying to think but at least you feel like a hero sometimes. Commercial sucks.

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