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

Banner image is by Bolster Architect Jessica Wetters for a Bolster owner in Brooklyn.

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.



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 Architects


Bolster Architects


Across all of the firms we interviewed in NYC, the average fee was 20% 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 15% with fees ranging from 12.5% to 18% (we only have experienced and high-end architects).

Why the difference?



Because Bolster qualifies our customers, streamlines the entire renovation process, fosters collaboration wherever possible between all parties and financially guarantees our contractor’s performances, 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 $400,000 home renovation in New York City:

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 $16,000 just to get started without knowing the cost of your project (is it $400,00 or $750,000?) and ultimately spend $60,000 in design fees before receiving 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 $80,000 in architect's fees.

Table assumes architects with similar levels of experience

Working within the Bolster process however, you can embark upon your design with your Bolster Architect and General Contractor together for just $3,000 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 & Budget Planner process is supported by cost analytics and guides you through a simple iterative design & pricing process (think lean startup). This ultimately avoids contractor pricing from coming back way over budget and the sunk cost, time and emotional pain involved in the architect having to redesign (“value engineer”) your project. 

In total, with a Bolster Architect, you'll typically spend $60,800 in architect's fees and save $19,200 and several weeks of your life.