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Residential pricing is a race to the bottom. I look at the replies on here when someone asks "how much would you charge" and it ranges from some obscure sq/ft number like $3 to $12 a square foot, or more! Mind blowing. Also you're competing with EC's and GC's who use "sub-crews" that are not on the payroll where they pay crews that only do rough-in or trim. Don't pay taxes or insurance.
I like commercial because I'm on a level playing field, compete against the same EC's that work for the same GC's and pricing is based on real cost. We bid the same plans/specs and no one is allowed to lowball because bids are vetted prior to award.
 

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I like commercial because I'm on a level playing field, compete against the same EC's that work for the same GC's and pricing is based on real cost. We bid the same plans/specs and no one is allowed to lowball because bids are vetted prior to award.
I just awarded a 1.75 mil contract. I let it be know before hand that lowball bids will be frowned upon, as well as Fluff added to the bid to make it look better. They all new what the outcome of the project was to be and what was expected, amazing how close the bid became when you set the rules.

Cowboy
 

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Why does residential get so much hate? At least, that's what I keep seeing? Wondering about it.
I'm not convinced people hate residential work. It's absolutely perfect for a one or two-man shop, and a perfect cash cow. I believe its nearly impossible to scale up beyond a very few very well-trusted close employees/ family members.
I cut my teeth in that market and I can tell you, you have to be an absolute go-getter and a problem solver to get into someone's house, find the problem, correct it in record-breaking time, collect the $$ and GTFO.
Renovations are very tough when working on a wholesale level for a GC. There just isn't any money for contingencies and changes.
If you are starting out, its the very best way to make steady cash with very, very little investment or overhead.

As for hating residential work, ask yourself why people dislike lift station work or working on slabs or roofs in the summer. People don't come on here and complain about that due to being so tired and dirty.
 

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I'm not convinced people hate residential work. It's absolutely perfect for a one or two-man shop, and a perfect cash cow. I believe its nearly impossible to scale up beyond a very few very well-trusted close employees/ family members.
I cut my teeth in that market and I can tell you, you have to be an absolute go-getter and a problem solver to get into someone's house, find the problem, correct it in record-breaking time, collect the $$ and GTFO.
Renovations are very tough when working on a wholesale level for a GC. There just isn't any money for contingencies and changes.
If you are starting out, its the very best way to make steady cash with very, very little investment or overhead.

As for hating residential work, ask yourself why people dislike lift station work or working on slabs or roofs in the summer. People don't come on here and complain about that due to being so tired and dirty.
Resi service is a complete different animal than resi new construction. Did you ever compete in new construction?
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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I avoid residential work for the very same reasons @MotoGP1199 does. I find that in residential work it's very hard to find customers willing to pay more for better.

I also don't like doing work for customer's whose main criteria for judging who does the best work, is who wipes their feet and takes out the trash and vacuums up after themselves best. Understandably homeowners in their dream home are a lot fussier with cosmetic minutia than the average commercial customer. At a commercial site, if I leave a few insulation scraps on the carpet for housekeeping to vacuum up that night, nobody cares. In a house, it will be on Yelp how I could have killed their toddler if they found those scraps. Imagine a commercial job where the architect lived on the job, that's residential.

Industrial, if you don't spit on the floor and flush after yourself you're above average for cleanup but nobody cares.
Your mentioning about clean ups brings to mind something my father said to a home owner years ago.
We were on a jobs in a wealthy area house. We picked up the cuttings, stripping, and particles that the dust pan could. As we are packing up the lady ask if we are going to dust the furniture and floors. My father turns around and tells the lady, " my name is not Hazel". That did not go over well. That was a job from hell anyway.
 

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In many union locals there is a lower pay rate for doing residential compared to commercial.
Around here it's still not low enough. There used to be shops that only did residential and some small commercial with "B" guys. As the owners retired, the shops all went away. You just can't compete with the low wages around here. I would have avoided track homes and condos altogether if I never went Union. It's too bad we don't get that type of work anymore. You learn a lot more doing that then being a material handler on the big jobs. The pension credits are all the same. So if for whatever reason, if you get stuck there a little longer than you'd like, at least you get the pension credits. Health insurance was all the same back then also. Not so anymore.

I'm on a 70 unit residential Romex job now at "A" rate. First time in twenty years. I love it! I could do without all the trash though. I've never been on a job so filthy in my life. It used to be the first thing you learned was to bend over nails in 2x4s. Maybe that's just a North American thing?

Residential Jobbing (service work) might be better for the contractor, but not the employee. Wages are still rock bottom, and your schedule is all over the place. Oddly enough, sometimes the schedule may be the good part of the job?
 

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Light Bender
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Around here it's still not low enough. There used to be shops that only did residential and some small commercial with "B" guys. As the owners retired, the shops all went away. You just can't compete with the low wages around here. I would have avoided track homes and condos altogether if I never went Union. It's too bad we don't get that type of work anymore. You learn a lot more doing that then being a material handler on the big jobs. The pension credits are all the same. So if for whatever reason, if you get stuck there a little longer than you'd like, at least you get the pension credits. Health insurance was all the same back then also. Not so anymore.

I'm on a 70 unit residential Romex job now at "A" rate. First time in twenty years. I love it! I could do without all the trash though. I've never been on a job so filthy in my life. It used to be the first thing you learned was to bend over nails in 2x4s. Maybe that's a North American thing?

Residential Jobbing (service work) might be better for the contractor, but not the employee. Wages are still rock bottom, and your schedule is all over the place. Oddly enough, sometimes the schedule may be the good part of the job?
Our local does lots of residential. Almost all the condo style buildings are union and almost 100% of new track home developments are also union. We also have many 1 to 5 men shops that do a mix of both.
The ressi rate is lower but the pension contributions are actually larger. Ressi is 40 hours a week where commercial is 36. At the end of the week it works out almost the same on your pay check.
We also have a comms division and rate but our market share is low on that
 

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I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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As for hating residential work, ask yourself why people dislike lift station work or working on slabs or roofs in the summer. People don't come on here and complain about that due to being so tired and dirty.
I don’t mind lift station work. I don’t take no Sh/t and it smells better then some residential units I’ve been in.
 

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I wouldn't mind doing six months of residential new work in the Chicago area. I'd love to rough in a house with 1/2" EMT. I guess it's just like anything though. When you have to do a lot of it, and you are always pushed to do more, it gets old quick.

It's the same in commercial / Industrial. Guy's say they like to run conduit. For some reason when guy's think conduit, they think laid back art work. They wouldn't say that if they had to get thousands of feet up a day. Then it's just like anything else. Lots of hard work. Although I might wan't to try it once, I'm glad never had to do high rise deck work. That's gotta send you home whooped and tired. Even if it's all ENT nowadays.
 

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Resi service is a complete different animal than resi new construction. Did you ever compete in new construction?
We did one of those Carvana car tower projects.
it was a last look kind of a project. The best I can recall is we lost about 40k on that job.
We are not at all setup for plan and spec work.
The best analogy I can come up with is that you need workers that are more or less cattle, we have pets.:LOL:
 

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Why does residential get so much hate? At least, that's what I keep seeing? Wondering about it.
Mark box locations, nail up boxes, pull Romex, staple wires, strip insulation from Romex, strip insulation from wires, twist wires and either use sta-ons or wirenuts,ons, etc...Over and over every day. Gotta love it....
 

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What I dislike about residential is following a previous electrician. Right now I am on a partial house renovation. Upscale house that had a reno 10 years ago. Right now the designer and sheetrocker are not to happy with me. The ceiling and walls are now Swiss cheese. I have found many buried boxes and splices along with crappy wiring. The kitchen cabinets were changed and the designer did not think to tell anyone. My recessed lights are now placed wrong and several receptacles have to be moved. More cutting and patching. Are we getting any more money? No, we are on a budget. What's to like about residential?
 

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Dope-less Hope Fiend
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What I dislike about residential is following a previous electrician. Right now I am on a partial house renovation. Upscale house that had a reno 10 years ago. Right now the designer and sheetrocker are not to happy with me. The ceiling and walls are now Swiss cheese. I have found many buried boxes and splices along with crappy wiring. The kitchen cabinets were changed and the designer did not think to tell anyone. My recessed lights are now placed wrong and several receptacles have to be moved. More cutting and patching. Are we getting any more money? No, we are on a budget. What's to like about residential?
This is why I won't do resi work (other than troubleshooting/repair) without a written quote.

Exact materials and labor are part of the quote. If anything changes, it costs the homeowner more money.

I'm not in business to lose money!
 

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This is why I won't do resi work (other than troubleshooting/repair) without a written quote.

Exact materials and labor are part of the quote. If anything changes, it costs the homeowner more money.

I'm not in business to lose money!
Homeowner is a several time repeat customer. It is the designer who screwed up. I had a talking with the HO about all the extra charges. On these jobs it is almost impossible to get change orders every hour. On this $4,800. reno job I would be up to over 30 change orders. Commercial is so much easier when it comes to design and plans.
 

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Dope-less Hope Fiend
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Homeowner is a several time repeat customer. It is the designer who screwed up. I had a talking with the HO about all the extra charges. On these jobs it is almost impossible to get change orders every hour. On this $4,800. reno job I would be up to over 30 change orders. Commercial is so much easier when it comes to design and plans.
I understand. I'm a small one-man shop, so I simply don't get into these situations, luckily!
 

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Homeowner is a several time repeat customer. It is the designer who screwed up. I had a talking with the HO about all the extra charges. On these jobs it is almost impossible to get change orders every hour. On this $4,800. reno job I would be up to over 30 change orders. Commercial is so much easier when it comes to design and plans.
On commercial that $4800 would be 3-4 days LABOR ONLY for one guy.
 

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Residential involves a lot of working with possibly difficult customers. Some people aren't very good at this and after they've smacked a few customers upside the head with a hammer they usually gravitate to commercial
 
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