Average Cost Of Commercial Elevator Ubtruebluecom Business & Industrial Get A Grip On For 2-story Building Manufacturers Small Pricing Installation

Get a Grip on Commercial Elevator Cost

Editor: Robert Cochran | Updated: Sunday, October 29th, 2023

How Much Does a Commercial Elevator Cost. Considering the installation of a commercial elevator for a sizeable business space or multi-floor building is a common concern. This prompted me to explore the costs and requirements associated with this decision. Commercial elevators are available in various sizes and designs, and their pricing can be influenced by multiple factors.

First and foremost, it's crucial to be aware of local zoning laws, which might necessitate a commercial elevator for larger spaces or multi-story structures. Even without a legal mandate, opting for an elevator rather than a simpler lift can benefit both your business and your customers.

The cost of a commercial elevator can fluctuate significantly, contingent upon factors such as its size, how much weight it can carry, its design, and any needed upgrades to meet safety rules. Certifications, maintenance, and weight capacities must be considered for a safer and compliant installation. While precise quotes require a licensed installer, you can estimate a ballpark figure to make a well-considered financial plan.

Average Costs of Commercial Elevator Installation

For small buildings with less than five floors, a basic commercial elevator installation can set you back approximately $20,000. Conversely, for buildings with 20 or more floors, the installation of a commercial elevator can be a significant investment, costing around $100,000. The main drivers behind these costs are the elevator's size and style.

However, for larger buildings or businesses with intricate passenger movement requirements, expenses can escalate further. Factors such as personalized interior decor and additional installation demands stemming from the building's age or specific power supply needs can also impact the final price.

In essence, the price of a commercial elevator installation hinges on your distinct needs and the type of lift you require. Whether it's for transporting cargo over short distances or facilitating access to the highest floor of a skyscraper, your choice of elevator should be guided by the specific task it needs to perform. This educated choice is vital when investing in a commercial elevator, ensuring it caters to your business's needs and the structure it serves.

Additional Costs Associated with Installing an Elevator

As I navigated the complexities of installing a commercial elevator, I discovered that there's more to consider than just the elevator's sticker price. Let's shed light on the often-overlooked expenses that can accompany this undertaking.

1. Building Permits

One of the initial steps in this process is obtaining the necessary building permits. These permits are not only essential to ensure the legality of your elevator installation but also guarantee that it complies with all safety standards.

The cost of these permits can vary depending on your local authority but generally falls within the range of $200 to $1000.

2. Structural Renovations

In some cases, your building might require structural modifications to accommodate the new elevator. Hiring an architect to create the necessary redesign plans may set you back around $2,000.

Additionally, contracting a professional for the actual construction work, which includes labor and materials, can cost between $3,500 and $5,000.

3. Mechanical Room or Hoistway

The backbone of the majority of commercial elevators lies in their utilization of mechanical systems to function. Typically, these integral components find their homes either nestled within the elevator shaft, often on the lowest floor, or within a distinct mechanical chamber.

The cost of installing these mechanical systems can range from $2,500 to $9,000, contingent on your specific requirements and the complexity of the setup.

4. Elevator Purchase

The pulsating heart of your commercial elevator lies within the confines of the elevator car itself. The base price for this crucial component usually falls in the range of $20,000 to $75,000.

If you have multiple floors in your building, you should budget an additional $10,000 to $15,000 for each extra floor.

5. Electrical Work

To power your elevator, a licensed electrician is indispensable. Their labor typically comes at an hourly rate, ranging from $50 to $150, and the job usually takes around 3 to 5 hours.

Depending on your elevator's specific requirements, you might also need additional labor for carpentry or fixture installations.

6. Elevator Features

When deciding on the ideal finishes for your elevator, it's essential to ensure they resonate seamlessly with the unique aesthetics that define your business.

Although the majority of elevators arrive with a predefined set of features, yet the realm of optional upgrades stands ready for your contemplation. Here's a look at some key elements when customizing your commercial elevator.

7. Cab Doors

Within the commercial elevator industry, stainless steel doors are the prevailing standard. They're not only easy to maintain but also give your elevator a polished and professional look when kept clean.

For a more decorative touch, textured metal doors are an enticing option, allowing you to infuse your elevator with your desired style.

8. Cab Walls

The interior walls of the elevator are typically adorned with laminate panels that mimic wallpaper. Available in a multitude of colors and styles, these panels offer versatility, making it possible for them to complement any desired aesthetic.

However, if you're looking to elevate the overall look, consider optional upgrades such as glass panels, stainless steel, or textured metal, though keep in mind that they do come at an added cost.

9. Safety Handrails

Safety considerations take precedence when occupants stand inside a moving elevator. Standard handrails are typically made of flat steel, ensuring a secure grip.

However, for those who seek a touch of luxury or a distinctive style, optional upgrades include tubular grab bars or high-end wood handrails.

10. Flooring

Interestingly, the flooring inside an elevator doesn't come as part of the package. Instead, it's a feature handled by a general contractor.

The cost varies but usually hovering between $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot for the material, accompanied by an extra $300 to $600 to cover the labor costs for flooring installation.

11. Aesthetic Drop Ceiling

The ceiling in an elevator serves not only a functional purpose but also contributes to the overall aesthetics. It usually hangs approximately a foot lower than the car's ceiling and typically features LED or fluorescent lights and metal louvers.

The opportunity for personalization through optional upgrades means you can choose from features like recessed lighting, elegant polished metals, or even contemporary plastic laminate ceiling panels.

What Are the Most Common Types of Elevators?

The vast array of commercial elevators caters to a wide spectrum of needs. These vertical transport systems can be your perfect ally when it comes to creating efficient, accessible spaces.

Let's explore these elevator categories to comprehend their distinct roles and features.

1. Passenger Elevators

Passenger elevators, designed for moving people, are the stalwarts of commercial structures. They efficiently navigate occupants from one floor to another.

Powered by hydraulics, they necessitate an on-site elevator machine room. In skyscrapers, express elevators provide swift inter-floor transit. These elevators excel in ensuring smooth vertical movement.

2. Freight Elevators

In industrial settings, freight elevators play a vital role in the smooth movement of materials. Tailored to handle bulky and heavy loads like pallets and furniture, these robust elevators prove their mettle. Installation costs for freight elevators usually range from $75,000 to $150,000.

3. Hydraulic Elevators

Hydraulic elevators find their niche in buildings with fewer than eight floors. These elevators rely on an electric motor that pumps oil into a cylinder for operation.

Their mechanical components are typically located below the elevator or in an external machine room. Installation costs vary based on size, generally falling within the $20,000 to $50,000 range.

4. Traction Elevators

Traction elevators, the pioneers in vertical transportation, utilize a system of belts and pulleys. They employ a counterweight system to hoist the elevator car, putting less strain on the motor.

These elevators have stood the test of time, offering a blend of cost-efficiency and reliability. The average installation costs for traction elevators are typically between $50,000 and $80,000.

5. MRL Elevators

Machine room-less elevators (MRL) are innovative space-saving solutions. These elevators, available in both traction and hydraulic configurations, eliminate the need for extensive equipment rooms.

Besides their space efficiency, MRL elevators are environmentally friendly, consuming up to 80% less energy compared to traditional hydraulic models. This makes them a conscientious choice for "Green" buildings, contributing to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

What is the Size of a Standard Elevator?

Elevators are not one-size-fits-all, and their dimensions vary greatly. From compact dumbwaiters that could pass for a food tray to colossal freight elevators capable of holding an entire freight truck with pallets, there's no shortage of diversity in the elevator world.

When it comes to elevators for people, they often appear as rectangular boxes, measuring around four feet by eight feet. These user-friendly elevators can comfortably accommodate over 600 pounds, ensuring a smooth and spacious ride.

Typical elevator dimensions range from around 5 feet 8 inches by 4 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 8 inches by 7 feet 11 inches. However, what sets elevators apart is their adaptability. Elevator dimensions can be customized to suit your specific requirements.

Elevator Safety

Using elevators is a part of our daily routine, and while they're generally safe, it's important to be aware of some key safety measures. Here, I'll share practical insights to ensure a safe elevator experience.

The elevator doors glide open and shut with automation, and it's evident that mishaps can transpire without due diligence. Always maintain a safe distance from the doors to avoid any untoward incidents. It's a simple but vital practice.

Sometimes, people use their bodies to keep the elevator doors from closing. This can be risky. Instead, there's a designated button for this purpose. Pressing it signals the elevator system to keep the doors open safely. It's a safer alternative.

Elevator Inspections: Safeguarding Your Business

Elevator inspections are an indispensable part of guaranteeing the safety of your elevator and the individuals who use it. Regular maintenance and adherence to specific state regulations can help prevent accidents and maintain a smooth, secure elevator operation.

1. Legal Requirements

Operating an elevator within your business demands strict adherence to current building codes. This involves yearly evaluations by an independent engineer. They thoroughly assess the elevator's condition, maintenance, and advise on necessary repairs.

2. Mitigating Risks

Neglecting these repairs can lead to inspection failure, putting visitors in potential jeopardy. This not only jeopardizes their safety but also poses a significant risk to your business's reputation.

3. State-Specific Requirements

It's important to note that elevator building codes and maintenance prerequisites can vary from one state to another. It's vital to collaborate with your state inspector before installing a commercial elevator to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Elevator Maintenance: Navigating the Essentials

Elevator maintenance is not just a legal requirement; it's a practical investment in the safety and reliability of your elevator. Let's delve into the practical aspects of keeping elevators in top condition, ensuring the safety of all who use them.

1. Annual Check-ups

Routine annual inspections are a legal requirement and a vital part of the maintenance process. They serve as the first line of defense to identify and address issues promptly, ensuring compliance with safety standards.

2. Proactive Care

Beyond inspections, proactive maintenance is key. Regularly tending to your elevator minimizes the risk of unexpected breakdowns and extends its operational life. This includes lubricating moving parts, closely monitoring for wear and tear, and promptly addressing minor issues.

3. Understand Your Agreement

For those with maintenance contracts, it's imperative to comprehend the terms and conditions. Be clear about what's covered in the agreement and what responsibilities fall on your shoulders. This knowledge enables you to budget appropriately for maintenance costs.

4. Budget Considerations

Maintenance expenses can vary widely. On average, businesses allocate between $250 and $500 annually for elevator maintenance. However, modernizing older elevators can significantly increase costs, reaching up to $2,000 or $3,000.


Understanding the significance of accessibility in multistory buildings is essential, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandates the installation of commercial elevators.

This process encompasses more than just the elevator itself; there are additional expenses to consider. Acquiring permits is the initial step, followed by construction, electrical work, and ongoing maintenance. For smaller buildings, the total cost usually remains below $30,000, while larger buildings, with five or more floors, can anticipate expenses ranging from $75,000 to $150,000.

Being well-acquainted with the costs and responsibilities in the commercial elevator sector is crucial. It's not solely about ensuring accessibility; it's about abiding by the law and creating inclusive spaces for everyone.

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