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#62454 - 02/15/06 09:03 PM I want to get into commercial work
Clydesdale Offline

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 139
What's the best way to get into commercial work? I seem to have trouble convincing the guy interviewing me that I can learn it even though I have very little experience. I currently run my own jobs(residential new construction). my boss checks my work and it's on to the next one. I just started bending pipe and I know good and well that if I was exposed to pipe every day, that it wouldn't be long(relatively speaking) before I became highly skilled at it. I work for another contractor nights, and weekends, so I put in more hours than most guys which is why I believe my learning curve seems to be higher than most....ok..i hate to hype myself up...but I suppose I am only trying to phsyche myself up for the next interview.

Can anyone give me hints on how to sell myself more evffectively?

I have 3 years experience.

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#62455 - 02/15/06 10:51 PM Re: I want to get into commercial work
macmikeman Offline

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Switch employers. Commercial is boatloads of fun to learn. You will not often get to thread and bend much 4"grc on a residential job. Or hookup transformers and switchgear. Pay attention when working on lighting fixtures, some of them will be at 277 volts and take it from me, it hurts to get shocked from that guy. If you live out in the sticks though you are not going to get exposed to that much of commercial so location plays a big factor. Good luck and happy bending.

#62456 - 02/16/06 12:25 AM Re: I want to get into commercial work
Mash Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 50
Loc: South Australia
Consider this. If you are an employer what is easier, 1 change you to commercial and have to get a good residential guy (2 people to train) or just get a commercial guy to train, (1 guy to train) sometimes if you are good at your job people dont want to move you. But they may rethink it if you were going to leave, no one wants to lose good people!

#62457 - 02/16/06 01:10 AM Re: I want to get into commercial work
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
"Can anyone give me hints on how to sell myself more evffectively?"

Just be honest about about what you know, and what you dont, and what you want to learn. People really like that!
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#62458 - 02/16/06 06:10 PM Re: I want to get into commercial work
luckyshadow Offline

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 305
Loc: Maryland USA
just be honest. Tell it like it is. explain WHY you want to switch to commercial. What ever you do -do not inflate your talents! you will be found out. I have been doing commercial for the last 21 years and find it loads of fun. Every job is different, a much more array of materials, and equipment.
I enjoy the challenge of finding a way to make it happen.

[This message has been edited by luckyshadow (edited 02-16-2006).]

#62459 - 02/16/06 06:40 PM Re: I want to get into commercial work
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Experience is fine- but your experience is limited by what your employer throws your way.

Education is also critical...especially if you want to get into the parts of the trade that can't be learned by rote.

If, in three years, your employer has not seen fit to enroll you in a formal apprentice program, with structured classes in the evening...well, you really deserve a better employer.

In lasting three years, you've shown a fair amount of reliability and stability- traits that are in demand. Soone spring will be here, and the seasonal work will pick up. Now is the time to approach various employers, setting the stage for moving over when work picks up.

I'd write prospective employers a note, explaining your experience and goals....and asking if they would consider talking to you in person. It worked for me.....

#62460 - 02/16/06 07:16 PM Re: I want to get into commercial work
Clydesdale Offline

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 139
Thank you for the input!

I am currently enrolled in a formal apprencticeship program, so that's covered. Also...I live in Connecticut, so there is quite a bit of commercial work around here.

I feel a lot better about pursuing a job in commercial.

Thanks again.

#62461 - 02/16/06 08:25 PM Re: I want to get into commercial work
Active 1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 684
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
My advice is don't let this slip out in the interview:
I just started bending pipe

Also desired pay may be a factor. Sometimes you have to take a step back befor you go forward. You might offer to take a lower than normal pay to get started and prove yourself.


#62462 - 02/17/06 03:42 AM Re: I want to get into commercial work
mahlere Offline

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
i agree with active1. we get candidates all the time who are strictly resi, they want to get into commercial, but lack all the necessary skills. Yet, when I indicate that they will have to take a lower pay scale for a little while, they refuse and can't understand. I mean their bills aren't changing.

I attempt to explain that they may have 4-5-6 yrs experience in resi and can work with limited supervision. but they lack experience on comm and will take longer to perform tasks than they should. it's vicious.

but if you really want to get into commercial, be willing to sacrifice for a short period of time 1 to 6 months (depending on your learning curve)

find a good employer, work with them and they will work with you.

good luck.

#62463 - 02/17/06 04:56 AM Re: I want to get into commercial work
mshaw Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 45
Loc: Fairborn, Oh, USA
Residential and commercial electric are worlds apart. If you want to get into commercial electric. Take the pay cut and get with a commercial E/C and get into an accrediated journeyman program. A commercial E/C puts less weight on your residentail experience and more on if you show up for work and work hard. It is easier to train someone who knows nothing than change someone who thinks they know a lot.

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