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Starting a New Project With An Architect

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Have a project idea but not sure how or where to start? Here is a breakdown of what starting a new project looks like with an architect.

We are always looking for new local projects and clients and would be happy to take your phone call or email, even if you are just looking to flush out your understanding of the process. We help clients with all types of residential and commercial projects - check out our breakdown of projects we typically see in our post here. Even if your project isn't a perfect fit for us, we can help guide you in a direction that will get you where you need to go and perhaps answer a few questions you didn't know to ask just yet. Here is a general breakdown of what starting a new project with an architect looks like.

On new projects, we are typically looking for a few specific details in our initial project intake calls and emails, and we've listed them all below to take the mystery or anxiety out of taking that first step. Once we have a basic understanding of your project, we can either set up a meeting in person to walk the space or go straight to putting together a proposal. Take a look at the steps below, and reach out if you would like clarification about anything!

Step 1 - Gather the below information

When you call, we will likely ask the below questions to assess your project and help us determine what information we need before we can put together a proposal:

  1. The name, phone number, and email of the primary contact for the project and to who the proposal and contract should be made out. This is so we know to whom we are addressing our proposal, how to get ahold of you if any questions come up while were putting it together, and an email address to send you the proposal and contract.

  2. The address of the project, and your mailing address, if it is different. (This one is a legal requirement of our contracts)

  3. The scope of work - this is where you tell us about your project. If it is an existing building, tell us a little about it. Tell us what your ideas are, your worries, your hope, etc.

  4. Do you have any existing drawings? This is for any project involving an existing building - homes, commercial spaces, etc. If you have existing drawings, it may save us the need to completely survey the space - which could translate to significant cost savings as surveying may take hours depending on how complex your project is. If your building was constructed somewhat recently (2000+), it may be worth reaching out to the city or county ASAP to request anything they have on file - or we can do this for you after our initial conversations.

  5. Are you working with a contractor or any other consultant on the project already? We are always happy to recommend contractors and consultants that we have had good experiences with if you are looking for recommendations.

  6. Budget - Now you may not have details on your budget yet, many people are just trying to get a feel for what to expect and perhaps how we compare with other options out there. However, we will want to have a transparent conversation early on about financial expectations. We will go over any consultants we feel will likely be required on your project that would be separate contracts with you (i.e. structural engineering and energy calculations are two services we do not offer in-house). We may be able to throw out a ballpark estimate or per-square-foot fee estimate based on recent similar projects, or we may not feel comfortable discussing fees in too much detail until we have more information - every project is different. We do like our potential clients to know up front that our fees are not in line with the plans you can purchase online for a couple of thousand dollars or less. We are licensed architects who will work with you on a custom design solution. We spend time perfecting a design with you, and then weeks preparing a construction and permit package. Our fees are based on our hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours we estimate your project will take to be successful in our experience.

  7. Last, but not least - How did you find us? We always like to know if we've been recommended by a colleague or client, or if our marketing efforts have been successful.

Step 2 - Give us a call or drop us an email!

Most frequently Tyler (501-681-0270 or will handle the majority of our commercial projects and Hayley (916-804-5599 or will handle the majority of our residential projects. However, we are both well-versed in both commercial and residential work and will trade off projects depending on who is available first.

Step 3 - Proposal & Contract

Depending on the project, we may need to meet you on-site and walk the space or lot, or we may be able to put together a proposal based on the information you've gathered above and a little research on our end. We strive to get our proposals out within 48 hours or so of our initial conversation (unless we are waiting on additional information or documents) so we can get the ball rolling and make the most of your momentum. If the proposal we send meets with your approval, as soon as you send back a copy of the signature page of the contract, we can send out our initial invoice to hold your position next on our calendar.

Step 4 - Project Kick-off!

For more Frequently Asked Questions, check out our FAQ page here.


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