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4 Min. Read

Estimating Commercial Renovation Cost Per Square Foot

Estimating Commercial Renovation Cost Per Square Foot

Out with the old and in with the new.

There comes a time in every business’s life when there’s the need for a remodel. Whether you’re looking to expand or modernize your space, a renovation can be both an exciting and worrying thing.

When you’re tackling a building renovation, one of the first and most important factors to consider is cost. After all, the last thing you want to do is overshoot your budget and have to stop construction halfway through.

That’s why making sure you get an accurate estimate for your remodeling projects is key. But how do you estimate a commercial renovation cost per square foot? We’ll dive into the ins and outs so that you can start your renovation with confidence.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

The Cost

The Cost Factors

Key Takeaways

The Cost

When it comes to estimating your cost of renovation, there is no standard rule of thumb or average cost. Prices can vary based on a number of factors including construction cost, labor costs or any other additional costs. You could be paying less than $30 per square foot to well over $300 per square foot. There are also a number of unforeseen factors that can come into play and increase your costs.

The best way to get a sense of how much your project will cost is by looking at the specific cost factors of your renovation.

The Cost Factors

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when you’re estimating your commercial renovation. Here’s what you need to know about each factor.


Location, location, location. The price of a renovation can wildly vary depending on your location. If you’re in New York City, then unsurprisingly your renovation will cost a lot more than if you were in midwestern towns.

This is due to the fact that things like land prices, labor, materials and building code regulations can hugely vary. This can be by as much as 70% based on the location of where the renovation is taking place.

Building Codes

Building codes and local ordinances change state by state, and city by city. They are also constantly changing and evolving. So be sure to understand the building codes of the property you want to renovate so that you don’t fall into any problems further down the road.

Building Use

Whether you are renovating your own house or doing a commercial renovation project, the price per square footage varies wildly. Obviously, the more advanced the renovation is the more it will cost. If you are renovating a standard warehouse, it will most likely be on the lower end of the price-per-square-foot scale.

However, if you’re looking at larger projects such as renovating a large, temperature-controlled commercial office space then your price point will be much higher.

There will also be a much larger cost if you are changing the building use. For example, if you are turning an old warehouse into a five-star hotel, there will be huge costs incurred to make sure you meet safety codes.

Building Materials and Labor

Material and labor costs tend to be volatile. That’s why any estimate will have to consider the current market factors for construction.

You could research the average cost of labor and the cost of materials three months before you put the plan in place. But then by the time you want to build it's likely that the price will have changed in that time. To make your estimate accurate, be sure to consider the live changes in the market.

You also need to consider the quality of the materials you want to use. If you’re just doing a fine tune-up of your space, then you are most likely going to be paying for standard materials. However, if you’re looking for a high-end renovation then your material costs and installation costs will be higher.

Key Takeaways

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to how much a renovation will cost per square foot.

Commercial renovation projects each come with their own set of problems and criteria. That’s why using estimating software such as FreshBooks is highly recommended.

FreshBooks’ user-friendly services are perfectly tailored towards small business owners. It is smart, manageable software that is easy to use and has a wide range of features.

They allow you to set clear expectations with your estimates and proposals. It helps you to take the guesswork out of your planning and get you and your client on the same page.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?

Then check out the FreshBooks Hub.