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How much does a set of plans cost?How much does a set of plans cost?

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Forum Index >> Elisa Garcia, RA - BLOG
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Joined: 18 Oct 2007
Posts: 1815

Posted: 04/15/18 07:56am  Reply with quote
How much does a set of plans cost?

I am finding most of these answers to a fairly simple question -- "How much does a set of plans cost?" -- to be quite depressing, because they fail to distinguish between cost and value, and don't help a prospect to understand that there is a fundamental difference.

Let's say you are shopping for tax preparation services, and you ask a bunch of budget tax services how much a "tax return costs." You get answers ranging from $500 to $1,500. (I'm going to assume that they will all come up with roughly the same calculation in the end.) Then, deciding to ask a top-notch CPA firm, you get quoted $5,000. For some reason, you go with the expensive CPA, who, after analyzing your tax situation, says, "You know, if you were to incorporate, and move these direct expenses over to the corporation along with a different type of retirement account, you could save $6,000 a year in your overall taxes." Which is the "cheapest" tax service now? How much does that expensive CPA "cost"? I think the correct answer is that the CPA is, essentially, even less than "free." You are being PAID to use them.

Similarly, good architects have the opportunity to create substantial value, both monetary and psychological: better (i.e. more comprehensive) sets of plans allow for apples-to-apples bids, reducing contractors' built-in contingencies. Fewer problems during construction. (Reduced headaches!) Increased resale value. Better quality control. Someone to help with problems during construction. Easier planning entitlement process. Etc., etc. Frankly, if I couldn't produce at least 10% more overall value over an unlicensed drafting service, I would probably take down my shingle.

It seems that the public--- and architects, too, for that matter -- have the mindset that every dollar spent for an architect is a dollar that isn't available for construction. Nothing could be further from the truth. The answer to the question "How much does a set of plans cost?" OUGHT to be "With me, often free or even less." At least, that response should start the discussion of price vs. value.
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