Contractors turn to commercial work

Data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nonresidential construction continues to boost the U.S. economy amid the residential downturn. Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), estimates that about 400,000 specialty contractors formerly working in residential have shifted into the nonresidential arena. Many of the concrete contractors I've talked to in recent months say they've had to shift to more commercial work to keep their crews busy. There are challenges in taking on more commerical work, especially if your company is set up for mainly residential work. Whether you're performing traditional concrete work or decorative work, you'll find commercial jobs are larger and may require more equipment and employees on site to complete the job. With commercial projects it's more likely you'll work for a general contractor than directly with the owner as you might on a residential project. The bidding process is more involved in commercial work. And you most likely will have to wait longer to get paid when working on commercial jobs. Have you been picking up more commercial work to stay afloat in the current construction market? What are some of the challenges you've faced with an increased number of commercial jobs? Do you have advice to offer other contractors looking to take on more commercial work? Post your comments to the blog -- I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!