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Commercial renovation cost: How to plan and budget for your next project

A woman walking down stairs in an office space with a group of people behind her.

When people think of renovations, they usually think about getting work done around the house. However, commercial spaces are also often renovated to revitalize the businesses that reside there.  

Commercial renovations differ from residential renovations in many areas, with one of the main ones being costs. Keep reading to learn about commercial renovation costs and answer questions such as:

  • How much does it cost to renovate a commercial building?
  • How much does an office renovation cost?
  • What is the average commercial renovation cost per square foot?

What is commercial renovation?

Commercial renovation is the remodeling of a commercial space. A commercial space is any space used for business or professional purposes, as opposed to residential spaces which are used only for living purposes.

A customer may need a variety of work done in their commercial space. This may include complex jobs such as converting a space from one type of business to another (i.e. from a restaurant to an office), or something simple like a commercial bathroom remodel.

No matter the job, good project management is key to figuring out commercial renovation costs.

Project management for commercial renovation

Commercial renovations are often big jobs. Commercial buildings are usually bigger than residential homes by square footage, meaning you need to organize the tasks and your time wisely.

For efficient commercial project management, you must consider:

  • Scope of the job.
  • Scheduling.
  • Safety.
  • Regulations. 
  • Cost.

Cost is one of the most important elements of commercial jobs, and the element your customer cares about the most. So, how much does a commercial renovation cost? Let’s find out. 

How do you calculate commercial renovation cost?

The cost to renovate a commercial space varies greatly. It could be as low as $25,000, or as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While there are online tools that can help, there’s unfortunately no magic commercial renovation cost calculator. But figuring out the cost of any commercial renovation starts with an estimate from your cost estimator.

The structure of your estimate for any commercial remodeling job should include:

  • Customer information.
  • Your business’s information.
  • Job description.
  • Invoice date and number.
  • Final estimate costs.

If you’re still wondering, “How much does it cost to renovate a building?”, here’s a cost breakdown for the average commercial renovation: 

  • Labor.
  • Materials.
  • Equipment.
  • Updated electrical and plumbing systems.
  • Building permit fees.

This breakdown is usually calculated based on commercial remodel cost per square foot. So the first thing to do is to figure out the square footage of your workspace.

Square footage isn’t the only factor that affects costs. Let’s take a look at what else you need to consider.

Factors that affect commercial renovation cost

The exact cost of commercial building renovation cost per square foot is difficult to predict because it depends on a series of factors.

Key factors that affect the cost of commercial renovation include:

  • The building quality: The worse the building quality, the more work you have to do.
  • Location: The location of the building may affect things such as land prices and building code regulations.
  • Size of the space: In general, the bigger the square footage, the costlier the renovation.
  • The type of building: You may be renovating a single floor office space, or an entire warehouse. Both have two entirely different costs.

These factors affect the direct costs of the job, including those incurred from labor, materials, and required permits.

Budgeting for a commercial renovation project

The cost per square foot to remodel commercial buildings gets quite high. Unfortunately, not everyone has a budget big enough for everything they want in a remodel.

It’s important to draw your customer’s attention to the relevant commercial renovation costs before beginning a project to ensure that it works within their budget.

You should stay mindful of your customer’s budget throughout the project and make accommodations and changes when possible, without compromising your bottom line. 

One way to work with your customer’s budget is to offer financing.

Financing options for commercial renovation

Your customers may ask whether you offer financing options for commercial renovations.

It’s always beneficial for your business to ask for a deposit before starting any work. From there, you can break down payment into installments that won’t overwhelm your customer but will ensure that you get paid throughout the job.

If getting paid in installments isn’t an option, you can propose ways to save money on commercial renovation costs.

Saving money on commercial renovation

There is often room to save money on the cost of commercial renovations if your customer is working with a tight budget. 

For example, maybe they want to renovate their bathroom, but once you calculate the commercial bathroom cost per square foot, the cost you give them is too high.

The first thing you need to do is convince them to manage their expectations. This part might be difficult, especially if your customer has their heart set on specific design choices. 

However, if you present them with the right alternatives, they’ll see that they don’t have to entirely compromise their vision. 

Another example is office remodeling. The average commercial office renovation cost per square foot is about $200. However, you can reduce those costs by suggesting simplet office designs to your customer or suggesting less expensive materials.

No matter how you choose to help your customer save money, remember to always have your general contractor markup built into the final estimate. 

Key takeaways

All in all, commercial renovation costs quickly become difficult to calculate. There are many variables to consider when coming up with a realistic estimate. 

What’s more, between balancing your customer’s budget and the actual cost of the renovation, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy.

That said, good planning is key to a smooth commercial renovation project. Knowing the cost per square foot to renovate commercial buildings in your area is a good starting point, and using an estimate template will save you plenty of time.

Commercial renovation cost FAQs

What is the commercial interior renovation cost per square foot?

The average cost of commercial renovation per square foot is around $200. The cost can be higher or lower depending on the extent of the job.

How do you estimate commercial office renovation costs?

You should estimate commercial office renovation costs per square foot. When doing so, consider the following factors:

  • Age of the building.
  • Permits required.
  • Complexity of the job.

How do you record renovation in accounting?

You can record renovations in your accounting the same way you record any other job. This process is much faster if you use accounting software, especially one that lets you convert estimates into invoices. 

Estimate commercial renovations in no time by downloading your free estimate template.

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