Commercial Lighting Cost Per Square Foot (2023 Guide)
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Commercial Lighting Cost Per Square Foot (2023 Guide)

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A high-quality commercial building comes down to the details. Not only do you want to have a creative, functional design, but you also need to prioritize quality in the materials, plumbing, and electrical work.

Lighting can’t be overlooked when building a new commercial property. How will your employees get any work done, or how will your customers successfully shop if there isn’t good lighting? Be sure to account for commercial lighting in your overall construction budget.

We’ll be exploring the average commercial lighting cost per square foot as well as factors that can affect the final cost.

Average Cost per Square Foot of Commercial Lighting

Indoor lighting and electricity for commercial buildings cost $3.20-$4.00 per square foot on average. Lighting falls into a category called “outfitting,” which encompasses the finishing touches that get added to a building after the preliminary construction phase is complete.

In addition to lighting, other components that fall into the outfitting phase include:

  • Displays and fixtures
  • Roofing
  • Ceiling
  • HVAC
  • Flooring
  • Indoor and outdoor signage

Costs per square foot continue to rise in most categories, but lighting tends to fall right in the middle of the other outfitting categories. Keep in mind you’ll also be charged labor costs, but each electrician sets their own hourly rates.

commercial lighting cost per square foot hanging

4 Factors That Can Affect the Overall Cost

It’s not a guarantee that you’ll always pay $3.20 per square foot for commercial lighting, even though that’s the average. There are numerous factors that affect your final overall cost, so it’s important to get price quotes in the beginning stages of your commercial construction project.

Four main factors that impact costs include:

1) Location

The location of your commercial project will have an impact on your final cost. Different regions throughout the United States have higher or lower costs of living, which often directly correlate with the price of services.

The US regions with commercial construction costs from lowest to highest are:

  • Midwest
  • Southern
  • Eastern
  • Western

Location-based costs can get pretty granular. Price differences can come down to specific states, cities, or even different neighborhoods within cities.

2) Type of Fixtures

While the electrical wiring for lighting and physical lighting fixtures are two separate things, it’s still beneficial to consider what types of lighting fixtures you want. You’ll definitely see a significant price difference between installing multiple chandeliers or only sticking with fluorescent lights.

The average total costs of various fixtures (including installation costs) are:

  • Ceiling lights: $75-$1,200
  • Chandeliers: $400-$6,500
  • Fluorescent lights: $75-425
  • LED strip: $70-$400
  • Light bar: $350-$600
  • Pendant lights: $70-$4,800
  • Recessed lights: $100-$500
  • Track lighting: $100-$800
  • Wall-mounted lights: $180-$950

Depending on the purpose of your commercial building, your interior design will call for different lighting fixtures. In a high-class restaurant, you’ll probably want to budget for more expensive fixtures like chandeliers and wall sconces. But for warehouses, you’ll be well equipped with standard ceiling lights.

3) Size of the Project

It may seem redundant, but the size of your commercial project will directly impact your overall costs. Larger projects will have higher electrical costs than smaller projects. However, many contractors and manufacturers actually charge less per square foot on larger projects. This is another factor that you’ll get a more clear idea of if you get multiple price quotes before beginning.

4) Quality of the Installation Team

You know the saying, “You get what you pay for”? This adage definitely applies when hiring an electrician or contractor. It’s ideal to find a commercial electrician that uses high-quality products and has plenty of experience to back up their installation techniques.

To make it clear, high-quality electricians can offer competitive prices. But if you’ve gotten five quotes and one electrician has offered a significantly lower quote, alarm bells should go off that they probably don’t offer high-quality installation.

commercial lighting cost per square foot store

What if My Project Is a Remodel?

If you’re simply updating the lighting in an existing commercial space, your costs will be lower than starting from scratch. This is because most of the infrastructure for lighting is already in place – you’ll just need to update fixtures and make any necessary repairs.

In this case, your overall cost will probably only be $2-$3 per square foot. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule based on the size and scope of your project.

How Can I Lower My Overall Costs?

While some costs are out of your control (like the quality of installation), others are definitely within your power to change. Here are a few tips on how to lower your overall commercial lighting costs:

  • Get multiple quotes: This is a great way to compare and contrast different prices. Just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples – some electricians will offer a low quote but then tack on additional charges later.
  • Pay attention to the details: Smaller projects will have lower overall costs than larger projects. So, if you can find ways to downsize your project without compromising quality or functionality, you’ll save money in the long run.
  • Choose energy-efficient fixtures: If you’re starting from scratch, take advantage of the latest lighting technology by choosing energy-efficient fixtures. These may cost more upfront, but they’ll save you money on your energy bills in the long run. LED lights are a great example of an energy-efficient lighting option.
  • Do your research: If you want to DIY, make sure you have a firm understanding of the installation process before beginning. This will help you avoid any costly mistakes.
  • Hire a reputable electrician: We can’t stress this enough— hire an experienced electrician that uses high-quality products. They may cost more upfront, but they’ll save you money in the long run by doing the job right the first time.

Work With a Quality Commercial Electrician

At the end of the day, it’s important to pay a fair price for high-quality electrical work in your commercial building. Use these average cost estimates to inform your budget, but be sure to talk with professional electricians directly.

If you live in Minnesota, 4Front Energy would be happy to provide a free quote for your upcoming project, whether that be new construction, remodeling, or adding on. Our highly-rated and experienced electricians will get your lighting wired correctly the first time.

Reach out today to get your free estimate!

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