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Residential Vs. Commercial

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Old 12-13-2014, 07:07 PM   #1
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Residential Vs. Commercial

Hey guys,

So Ive worked in the residential building/carpentry trade for close to 12 years now and am currently about to graduate with a construction engineering degree. My question is for anyone with experience working in either commercial construction, or even better, commercial and residential construction.

What is the consensus as far as being a construction manager between commercial and residential construction? I know what to expect from a residential side but not sure if commercial is better.
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Old 12-15-2014, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Residential Vs. Commercial

That's a hard one to discuss on a message board.

I do only commercial, mostly because I discovered a long time that I didn't have the personality to deal with homeowners. In commercial; you generally deal with professionals where emotion isn't part of the project. It's almost always business. This may sound crazy but I actually miss doing residential where you can develope a personal relationship with the client.

Most commercial is a fast paced, long hours, high stakes, high stress, sink or swim type of game.

Please don't take this as an insult; Your degree will not help you very much in the "real world" GOOD CM's have the degree and some trade experience (you already have some) and worked as a super and/or field engineer for a number years. Those people end up being pretty successful but those with little practical experience and a degree tend to crash and burn pretty bad.

Best wishes!


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Old 12-15-2014, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Residential Vs. Commercial

I've worked in both.

Residential was harder from my opinion. Too many opinions, feelings, etc.

Commercial also pays better.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:52 PM   #4
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Re: Residential Vs. Commercial

I do primarily Commercial now with the exception of some custom homes here and there. The commercial end seems to have less ups and downs business wise where the residential comes to a screeching halt when the economy takes a *****.
And I agree with slowsol with the fact that the pain with residential being dealing with owners and the "needs and wants" of a project. The personal relationship you build is nice, and usually leads to repeat work but you have to hope the work and pay is worth the hassles and stress.

Commercial is fast paced with very little room for error. But with time / experience in the field those stressful moments become less and less frequent.

Personally I would choose commercial, but you also need to look at your area and see which side of construction is more stable and which has the most potential for growth for you. My 2 cents. Good luck whichever route you pursue!
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Old 12-30-2014, 03:47 PM   #5
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Re: Residential Vs. Commercial

Hey man, I just graduated with a Construction Manager degree in May, I live in Central New York so not to far from you. I have grown up doing carpentry, worked for a sprayfoam company throughout college, worked for a home builder, built a handful of houses, I still work for a roofer and run my own sidejob outside of work. But when I graduated I took a job as an Assisstant Project Manager for a local commerical GC. And well I don't enjoy my actual job I would love to get out in the field and work as a carpenter and learn more and eventually be a superintendant.

That being said I believe each side has its perks, I personally love the customization and personal connections in residential construction. Some day I hope to own my own business specializing in custom home building/renovations and doing smaller scale commerical work.

As GCTony said don't let you're degree make you feel like you know it all cause there is still a ton to learn. No matter what you decide, work your hardest, ask questions, respect your superiors, and don't be afraid to offer ideas and suggestions. Show them how much you know but learn all you can from them as well.
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