In a recent online poll, asked our readers how they bill clients for work. The results as of July 6 are interesting, revealing that most residential architects—33 percent, or 146 out of 440 respondents—use a billing method that combines more than one approach, among them hourly without cap, hourly with cap, hourly plus a percentage of construction costs, stipulated sum or stipulated lump sum per phase, per square foot, and/or a percentage of construction costs.
In addition:

  • 22 percent (98 out of 440 respondents) say they charge a stipulated sum or lump sum per project phase;
  • 13 percent charge an hourly fee with no cap for the entire project;
  • 12 percent charge a set dollar amount per project square foot;
  • 9 percent charge an hourly fee with a cap for the entire project;
  • 9 percent charge a percentage of construction costs; and
  • 2 percent charge an hourly fee plus a percentage of construction for observation services.

We also posed this question to our LinkedIn Group members, sparking a lively ongoing discussion about billing practices, experiences and frustrations with each approach, how they discuss pricing and billing with clients, collecting fees, project bidding wars, and opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of having such a variety of allowable billing methods within the profession.
An earlier LinkedIn discussion posted by ra contributor Cheryl Weber asked about the creative billing and fee structure adjustments that residential architects have made during the recession. Although not as recent, the discussion is still well worth visiting.