Commercial jobs are a completely different animal from residential (though painting is still painting, right?).  Let’s look at the challenges and the perks to commercial jobs and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

COMMERCIAL – The Challenges

  • Lowest Price Wins

In a commercial situation, the bidding process is more competitive and the winning bid usually comes down to price.  It’s really important to know your costs and estimate accurately.  Ask questions before submitting a bid – if something is missing your bid might be thrown out.

  • Commercial-grade Products

You have to use the right product for the job, and if you’re not as familiar with commercial-grade products, that can extend the length of your job.  Plan in advance by adding extra time to your estimate or training your crew.

  • Cash-flow and Other Costs

Commercial work usually requires bonding and specific insurance (extra costs).  You also may not get to set the terms of payment.  Plan ahead so you’re covered for up to 90 days – until you get paid.

  • Must Communicate Well

For most commercial jobs, you’ll be dealing with a general contractor.  You need to communicate with the GC to keep your part of the job running smoothly.

  • People are working here

You and your crew will need to jostle with other trade-workers if you’re working in new construction or a renovation project.  Otherwise, you’ll probably be working around the commercial business’ actual employees who are trying to get their own work done.  Be conscientious and efficient so you disturb them as little as possible.


  • You don’t have to make lots of decisions about materials/colors/process. The GC will determine most of that.
  • The timeline for most commercial jobs is short; you can plan to be finished with the job quickly.
  • The schedule is fixed, so unless another part of the project gets behind, you know when the work will start and when you need to be done. This lets you plan other jobs around it.
  • You don’t have to worry so much about damaging personal items. Unless you’re painting a china shop, commercial sites are generally less breakable than residential.

If you’re looking for a quick job and don’t want to have to make major design decisions, then commercial painting is right up your alley.