How Do Architects Determine Their Fees and How Much Are Architect’s Fees

I’ve noticed that most architects have avoided putting information on their website about what architects charge for their services and how much their fees are. However, in the EVstudio spirit of providing information on all sorts of architecture related topics I will give you an explanation.

First, it is very important to note that different project types may have very different fees and different architects provide different levels of service. This will be reflected in the fee that you see. You should also be aware that projects with more consultants contracted through the architect will have higher fees.

There are five methods of determining fees that I have commonly seen from architects:

The first one is guessing what someone is willing to pay, personally I don’t subscribe to this one but I’ve seen it. I would ask any service professional to give you the reasoning at how they arrive at their fee.

The second one is charging hourly. We tend to prefer hourly fees on projects that are particularly open ended or very small scope. Our hourly rates are currently between $60 and $120 per hour depending on who is doing the work. That’s a fairly typical range with some firms going a little lower and some going much higher. Keep in mind that picking a talented quick thinking architect will result in fewer hours.

The third method is fairly common with architects and that is a percentage of construction cost. There is a vast range of percentages that you’ll see and projects with larger budgets tend to have lower percentages because of the economies of scale on those projects. I’ve seen ranges from 3-20% depending on the scope and project type. Complex drawings and buildings are at the top but the vast majority are in the 4-10% range. Most of the time the number is based on the initial budget.

The fourth method is a $/sf rate. This is very common on residential and tenant improvement projects and not common on higher cost projects. The common range on these types of projects runs from $1.50/sf to $6/sf depending on what is in or out and sometimes engineering is included. On residential projects we tend to include structural design, site planning and electrical layouts and on TI work we generally include MEP engineering.

The fifth method is a fixed fee based on hours. We use this to verify our that our percentages or $/sf numbers are correct. We also use this for projects that fall outside of normal parameters and make an educated guess based on previous work.

It is important to note that these fees are indicative of the overall industry and EVstudio’s fees fall in a much tighter and affordable range. Our fees are exceptionally competitive and directly tied to the amount of work that we are doing. We discuss our fees in conjunction with our scope and we offer free estimates so please email or call for a precise budget number. We work with clients across the country and even have a toll free number 866.323.5882.  On a simple project giving you a fee is a 5 minute process.


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3 thoughts on “How Do Architects Determine Their Fees and How Much Are Architect’s Fees”

  1. I wish more companys would post their cost online. I’m doing a high school project and it involves what I want to be; which is an architect; but I can’t find the fees and cost no where.

  2. I certainly understand that architects don’t want to get backed into a corner or give away too much to their competition. However, it doesn’t hurt to explain how people reach their numbers and what a typical range is. Thanks for the comment.

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