Industry standards for design fees range from 12-30% of project costs. However, I don’t work on a percentage or mark-up basis, I work on an as-needed basis. So your costs depend on the scope of your project and your availability to participate in your renovation. How much legwork can you realistically handle? If your job requires you to work 50 hours or more each week, you’ll likely prefer professional project management.
There are four phases to the design process:
1) Design and drafting
(Getting approvals, choosing and trafficking materials, preparing for construction)
3) Construction oversight
(Quality control, scheduling issues, adjusting plans post-demolition, etc.)
4) Move-in, decorating and finishing touches
What does it add up to, soup-to-nuts?
With the exception of certain drafting projects, all design services are offered by the hour, at a rate of $225 per hour. To anticipate the overall design fees for your project, I have found that the most consistent yardstick for all types of projects is to allot an average of 3-5 hours per week for the duration of the project. Some weeks will require an intense amount of attention, while others will require little or none.
Smaller projects (a single bathroom, small kitchen, or quickie decorating facelift) will span 2-6 months from planning to finishing touches. Larger renovations take 2-6 months of planning and board/DOB review, followed by 4-6 months of active construction, sometimes followed by several additional weeks of decorating and finishing touches.
Some clients need minimal guidance, and have garnered the perfect amount of design input for as little as $5,000. For smaller projects, anticipate roughly $2-4K in design fees per month, for a process that usually takes between 6 and 12 months. Larger, more complicated projects may require an investment of $4-6K per month.
Fees are invoiced in roughly 10-20 hour installments, beginning with an initial 10-hour retainer.