Designing is the process of crafting a plan based on your wants, needs, dreams and budget considerations. Sometimes this might only require a simple sketch and outline of work to be done. Other times multiple drawings, detailed specifications or even models are needed to fully develop concepts. The following steps outline a "typical" design process:
Step 1: Initial Site Meeting. We meet with you to visit the site, listen to your ideas, and understand where you are in the planning process. Normally we do not charge for this visit because we want to get a better sense of your needs and our ability to meet them without the pressure of money already being spent. If we agree there may be a good fit between our abilities and your needs, we will develop an initial set of concepts. Sketches and written descriptions can be part of our effort to help you determine if we are the designers best suited to help you achieve your goals.
Step 2: Presentation of Initial Ideas. After meeting with you to review the concepts we have come up with, there are four possibilities:
1. You love the ideas and want to move on to cost estimating or ...
2. You like the ideas but feel a more fully developed plan is needed. In this case we may enter into a Design Phase with agreed upon fees, work products and timetables, or ...
3. If you are not sure about the concepts or would like to explore different approaches, we might go back to the drawing board, or ...
4. It may be time to stop. We are not the right designers for every job. You have incurred no obligation to go any further. We request that you not use our ideas or work product without permission.
Step 3: Cost Estimating. Estimates are broken down into line items with potential costs ranging from low to high. In general the middle of the cost ranges is what we think it will take to do a good job. The lower end represents everything going quickly and smoothly and/or using less and/or lower cost materials. The high end represents it taking longer to do the highest level of craftsmanship and/or using more and/or higher cost materials.
There are many ways to cut costs but doing good quality work is not cheap. We can show you how and where the costs come from to help you determine what is, and is not, "worth it".
With your guidance, revisions are made to reach an agreed upon scope of work and target budget. When the project is complete, you can expect some items will come in high, others low, and most somewhere in between.
With careful planning, clear communication and a little luck, there should be no major surprises except for how much better it turned out than you ever imagined.