Architecture by Design DCARetainer or deposit.
Once you’ve decided to work with a particular architect, he or she may ask for a retainer (sometimes called a deposit) to begin the design work. This fee can range from $1,000 to $20,000 or more. Often, though, the fee falls between $2,500 and $4,000.
Many architects credit the client back for the retainer on the last invoice. Keep in mind that if you cancel the work for some reason, the retainer may not be refundable. Fixed fee.
Another way architects charge for their work is through a fixed fee. This may apply to a specific aspect of the project — for instance, coming up with ideas but not yet creating construction documents. Or the fixed fee may encompass the architect’s work on the project as a whole.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) divides the work architects do into five phases: schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding and negotiation, and construction services. Some architects use these AIA phases (or adaptations of them) as a structuring principle for their billing, assigning different rates for each phase. When Do You Pay an Architect?
After the initial retainer or deposit, it’s common for architects to bill for their work on a monthly basis. Policies vary as to whether a client who pulls out of a job is able to walk away with any completed drawings, so check with your pro about such details.