How to Rewire Your Commercial Building on a Shoestring Budget

How to Rewire Your Commercial Building on a Shoestring Budget


Rewiring a commercial building can be an intimidating and expensive project. However, with some planning and resourcefulness, it is possible to rewire on a tight budget. As the owner of a small business, I learned how to cut costs and still get the job done right. In this guide, I will share my tips for rewiring your commercial space affordably.

Assess Your Electrical Needs

The first step is to thoroughly assess your electrical needs. Take into account:

I recommend having a qualified electrician audit your electrical system. While it costs money up front, an expert can save you time and money down the road by identifying the most pressing issues.

Shop Secondhand Materials

One of the best ways I saved money was by scouring secondhand stores and websites for used electrical supplies. I found lightly used conduits, wiring, breakers, junction boxes, and more. The key is patience. I visited several salvage warehouses over time to hunt for deals. I also set “saved searches” on eBay and checked frequently. While I didn’t get everything secondhand, it added up to big savings.

Take Advantage of Sales and Promos

Sign up for emails and mailers from home improvement stores to get discounts and sale notifications. I always jumped on specials for wiring, conduit, outlets, and breakers. For example, one store discounted all electrical supplies 10% over Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, some retailers run promotions like “buy more, save more” on large electrical orders. Check competitor ads too. You can sometimes price match or get an even better deal.

Buy Materials in Bulk

Because I was rewiring the entire building, I knew I needed a lot of wiring, conduit, junction boxes, etc. By purchasing full reels of wire, bundles of conduit, and boxes in bulk packs, I spent way less per unit. This requires available storage space and upfront cost, but the volume discounts are significant. You can coordinate group purchases with other businesses to buy even larger bulk quantities.

Use Lower-Gauge Wiring When Possible

The wire gauge (thickness) determines the load current capacity. I used thicker 12 AWG wire for high-draw equipment circuits, but thinner 14 AWG wire worked for lighting and receptacles. Using the right gauge for the need saved me about 30% on wiring costs. Consult electrical codes, but don’t overbuy unnecessarily thick wire.

Install Conduit Yourself

Hiring an electrician is fastest for installing conduit, but it's also incredibly expensive. With some research and elbow grease, I learned to install it myself at a fraction of the cost. I just had to plan the layout, measure precisely, and pull wire through the finished conduits. It was hard work but led to huge savings.

Take Advantage of Federal and Local Incentives

There are often great rebates and tax incentives available on electrical upgrades, especially for energy efficiency improvements. I qualified for 30% back on the cost of my new LED lighting through a utility company program. My city also offered small business grants for upgrading outdated wiring and panels. The paperwork was cumbersome, but the payout was worth it.

Final Thoughts

Rewiring a commercial building doesn't have to drain your business finances. With strategic planning, deal hunting, bulk purchases, DIY installation, and incentive programs, I saved over 50% on my rewiring project. It took more time and effort, but the cost savings were tremendous. Just be sure to pull all required permits and have final inspections done to ensure safety and compliance. Your business will reap rewards for years to come. Let me know if you have any other tips for affordable commercial rewiring!