Designing is the process of crafting a plan based on your needs, dreams and budget considerations. Sometimes this might require only a simple sketch. 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. Based on the approved plan, a cost estimate is prepared. The numbers will not be "to the penny". We have many years of experience but it is still just an educated guess.
Costs are broken down into line items with estimates ranging from low to high. The middle is what we think it will take to do a good job. The low-end represents using lower cost products and/or everything going very quickly and smoothly. The high-end represents using more expensive materials and/or performing at higher levels of craftsmanship. There are many ways to cut corners and costs, but doing good quality work is not cheap. We are happy to show how and where the costs come from so you can determine what is, and is not, "worth it".
With your guidance revisions are made as needed to come up with a scope of work and mutually agreeable. In the final analysis you can expect some items to come in low, others high, and most somewhere in-between.
With careful planning and clear communication, there should be no major surprises except for how much better it all turned out than you ever imagined.