How much do architects charge in NYC? (and how to get more for less)

If you are planning a home renovation in New York City, chances are you need to engage the services of an architect. Here is what you need to know about how much you can expect to pay and why when you hire a Bolster Architect, you get a lot more for a lot less.


Market Rate vs. Bolster (spoiler, we win)

While architects all have a standard hourly rate for themselves and their senior and junior architects, they typically estimate your project by calculating how many hours it will take to deliver all your services and charge you a total figure with limits (e.g. $50,000 with a set number of meetings, calls, revisions etc) and this number works out to be a fairly reliable percentage of your total construction costs.


Regular Architect




AVG Saving

Across all of the firms we interviewed in NYC, the average fee was 17.5% atop of build costs with fees ranging from 10% for less experienced architects to 25% for the more experienced high-end architects.

Learn about the different ways regular architects charge

With Bolster, the average fee is 12.7% with fees ranging from 10.4% and going no higher than 15%.

Why the difference?


Less work for us yet more value for you

Because Bolster qualifies our customers, streamlines the entire renovation process, uses predictive methods to more accurately (and efficiently) price all while fostering collaboration wherever possible between all parties, our architects do less work to deliver the same or better results and can pass the savings associated with these benefits along to our customers.

Agustin Ayuso Bolster Architect.jpg

"Bolster makes my job easier and less stressful, especially during construction"

Take a typical $605,000 design-build project:

With a regular architect your budget will not be stress-tested against the scope of work your architect has been asked to design. As such, you'll spend $19,000 just to get started without knowing the cost of your project (is it $400,00 or $750,000?) and ultimately spend $56,424 in design fees before receiving preliminary bids from contractors that traditionally come in significantly higher than anticipated (up to 103% in our experience) and result in a painful, and sometimes expensive, re-design process.

In total, with a regular architect, you'll typically spend $94,041 in design fees.

With Bolster, you can embark upon your design for just $2,000 safe in the knowledge you'll only start paying for full design services once you have a scope of work that is achievable for your budget. Our upfront Sketches & Pre-Estimate process is supported by cost analytics and guides you through a simple iterative design & pricing process (think lean startup). This ultimately avoids our build pricing from coming back over budget and the sunk cost, time and emotional pain involved in us having to redesign (“value engineer”) your project. 

In total, with a Bolster, you'll typically spend $68,216 in architect's fees and save $25,825 and several weeks of your life.