The 3 Most Important Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Designer or Architect

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Question 2. How do your design process and design fees work?

The intent of this question is two-fold: To learn how the designer will work with you to come up with your design and to understand how they charge for their services.

Designers have different ways of working to arrive at a design solution. Some work very collaboratively and intimately with clients creating multiple design options at a time, then narrowing it down based on client feedback before arriving at a final concept. Others have an initial information gathering session, then go off on their own to craft a design to present to you.

Which method do you prefer? Do you like to be active involved in the design process or do you just want them to come up with a design for you?

Secondly, the scope of services may vary between designers. Some will prefer you to sign on for full design services that include construction observation. Others are OK with more limited services, allowing you to do some of the legwork of selecting products and fixtures yourself, among other things.

Aside from how their design process works, there are also differences in the ways designers charge for their services. While many will give you an estimate of their design fees, the way they charge for their services may differ. Some charge an hourly rate for their time. Others prefer a lump sum fee based on a pre-determined scope of services. And then there are others with a sort of hybrid fee structure.

By learning how designers work and bill for their services, you’ll get a better idea of whether you think they would be a good fit for you and if their scope of services and fees are aligned with your goals.

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Yvonne Riggie

Yvonne Riggie is a licensed architect at YR Architecture + Design, a modern residential architecture firm. She is also the founder of the OPEN DOOR project, an online platform to build confidence and motivate first time homebuilders to take action in creating their dream homes.

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