What Should you Look for When Hiring an Architect in Indianapolis?

architect in Indianapolis, Indiana

Let’s face it: construction and renovation projects are complicated. Whether you’re looking for a professional to design your private or commercial establishment, you need the right architect. But don’t fret, you’ve come to the right place.

Indianapolis architects are problem solvers – they will successfully maneuver the complexities of different projects. However, some people downplay the importance of hiring someone with extensive experience in the field. This isn’t a decision to take lightly. Here is what should you look for when hiring an architect in Indianapolis.


You should consider how long the architect has been on the job before you hire them. They will spend a great deal of time explaining ideas to their clients and contractors.

An experienced architect offers many benefits to make sure the project is successful. They work with a contractor to ensure the projects keep moving regardless of the setbacks. If an architect spots any problems, he or she knows how to handle it to prevent costly downtime. Also, you can be sure they will finish the project within the set timelines.

Besides that, an experienced architect knows how to do the job right the first time without missing a gap. Moreover, these people have the experience of working with other professionals in the field. Of course, hiring experienced Indianapolis architects means saving time and money.

If you have a problem with your Indiana office space and you don’t know how to resolve it, an experienced architect will help you come up with creative ideas. Similarly, if you’re in a squeezed house and you don’t want to construct another one, they will help you spot the underutilized areas. You never know – what may look like space shortage can be solved with a few alterations.

Think about it – some remodeling projects can be extensive and costly. A good architect works as an intermediary and will guide you throughout the project for the best possible results. If you’re building on a complicated site or remodeling a historic home, you want an experienced person in the field.

What if you’re on a tight budget? While this may sound counterintuitive, the best Indianapolis architects will help you save money. They can suggest using economical building materials through value engineering.

Most Indianapolis architects who have practiced for many years, and work with an association or on their own. Before you hire them, you can request for some of their work. You can also see their previous projects on websites.

How can you get experienced Indianapolis Architects?

  • Do your research – check with the neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.
  • Look for their reputation on review sites
  • Ask how many projects they completed last year
  • Ask for a list of references
  • Get a written contract

Only work with contractors with a clean bill of health.

Indiana architect


What sets Indianapolis architects apart from other professionals in construction is that they are licensed. For one to obtain a license in Indianapolis, you must earn a degree from an approved institution, pass an exam, and complete an internship program.

When it comes to designing a house, the cheapest routes are not always the best. You may save thousands of dollars only to put your family at risk. Hiring a licensed architect may cost you more, but will eventually save you the trouble.

Most unlicensed Indianapolis architects are real criminals, and they will take your money without doing any work. If they manage to lure you with cheap prices, they may eventually steal your property. Thankfully, Indianapolis has passed laws to protect you from dishonest architects. If you want to be on the safe side, you should:

  • Avoid door-to-door solicitors
  • Check out the credentials of the architects
  • Stay away from those who promise a special price
  • Avoid those who demand a large down payment
  • Hire an architect with a real office
  • Make sure the contract can be broken if they don’t fulfill part of the agreement

Generally, licensed Indianapolis architects have put in the time and effort to obtain a license from government offices. They will ensure your building meets all the requirements set by the city council. Although most of their work is in the office, architects will go to the site to ensure the work is done according to the plan.

Indianapolis architects are smart thinkers. Since they use a systematic approach to complete the project on time, they carefully plan and prioritize open communication. Furthermore, they will ensure you have both signed a legal contract.

Finally, a licensed Indianapolis architect will take responsibility if something goes wrong. If they run away from their mistakes, they can easily lose their license. This is a risk one may not be willing to take.

Most home construction projects in Indianapolis require a permit before they begin. If you work with an unlicensed architect, you could be violating local laws that can lead to hefty fines.


Designing a home can be an expensive undertaking. An architect will help you visualize a project before it begins, and see the designs from different angles. The actual cost of hiring a professional architect will depend on many factors. Some will charge a percentage of the total cost of the project while others will charge per square foot. For example, an architect can charge 10-15% for every $10,000. The price will also vary based on location.

Each pricing structure has its pros and cons. So, before you hire the next person to work on your project, you should evaluate the architectural fees.

Cost per hour

Most Indianapolis architects will charge an average of $100-$150 per hour. If you hire an experienced person, you should expect the price to be on the higher side. Junior Indianapolis architects will always charge lower. If you can stick to a specific design, the cost per hour may be the way to go. But if you have a hard time making the right decision the hourly basis may not be the best option.

The longer the design process takes, the more you should expect to pay. A smart homeowner will always add a cap. For example, if the project takes 50 hours, you won’t pay for more than what you agreed in the contract. Do you get the picture?

Cost as a percentage of the project

If you decide to pay the architect as a percentage of the overall cost, you should first communicate the budget before the process begins. For this option, you must choose factors that count towards the success of the project. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to the total cost. Some Indianapolis architects may help in overseeing the contractors and subcontractors.

Cost per square foot

If you’re worried about negotiating with contractors, you should go for those who charge an hourly rate. The only way the cost can go up is if you decide to add more than what was originally agreed. And depending on the complexity of the project, Indianapolis architects can charge somewhere between $2 and $5 per square feet.

Other factors that can contribute to the actual price are where you live and the services offered – construction documents, draft plans, full plans, project administration, etc.

Architectural fees for residential projects

Most homeowners in Indianapolis spend about $3000 to $10000 to hire an architect. When it comes to residential projects, Indianapolis architects charge 8-15% for their services. But this price only reflects small projects and initial plans. Since an architect is an asset for any building structure, they will bring their skillsets like:

  • Creating plans or blueprints
  • Understanding the applicable zoning regulations and building codes
  • Can help in selecting a contractor and bid valuation

That’s not all. The best Indianapolis architects will help you know your payment options upfront. Even if you’re undertaking a small project, you should never pay cash. Instead, use a credit card. Another cautionary measure is trying to limit your down payment.

Indianapolis construction laws limit the amount of money an architect can request as a down payment. To be on the safe side, you should try to make payments during the project or after completion. So, if the work is don’t going to schedule, the payment can be delayed.

Before you get everything into writing, you should get an estimate that includes:

  • A complete description of what is to be done
  • The start and completion date of the project
  • Itemized costs
  • The required payment method

Just like any other sector, we are all looking for value. Those who offer a very low cost than the industry average could be cutting corners. Others will start the project and then start to give stories down the line. Don’t just go for the least expensive- you could be inviting trouble.

hiring an Indianapolis architect

Listening is key

Once you’ve made your choice, you should present your wishes comprehensively. This is where listening skills come in. As you create a catalog of the requirements, the best Indianapolis architects will take notes and optimize your wishes with ideas. If you want to bring your dream to life, the professional should be a team player.

A competent architect creates a stronger design, cultivates teamwork, and makes clients happy. So, how can teamwork exist without listening? You’ll get the best design if your Indianapolis architects listen to your problem and then gives a solution that suits you best.

You may not be interested in award-winning designs. Maybe you’re just looking for someone who understands your constraints and gives your goals as a priority. An architect who listens keeps the clients happy and fosters teamwork. Did you know that listening is more than just nodding the head? The most competent Indianapolis architects will:

  • Listen and ask questions
  • Take notes
  • Give undivided attention
  • Summarize what you’ve talked about
  • Do a follow-up

Before you break from the meeting, an architect will discuss the main points and summarize the conversation. This is a sign that everyone is on the same page. The follow-up could be the actual execution of the work.

So, what questions should you ask Indianapolis architects?

When you set up the initial meeting, you should ask questions that help you to fully understand what you should expect from the partnership. By now, you must have done your research, and you want to bring your vision to life. The point here is that you should know their design philosophy.

What is your process? While each project may vary from one firm to another, a typical case will include a consultation, preliminary design, documentation, bidding, and negotiation.

Do you foresee problems with this project? If you’re on a tight budget, you want to limit complications where possible. An architect will react to challenges upfront and tell you whether you’re best suited to tackle the project.

Have you done similar projects to this? You will have peace of mind when you know that the contractor understands the size of the project. Besides being business-oriented, Indianapolis architects are creative minds, so you should ensure that the contract is in full detail. Once everything is in writing, the work can begin.

Customer reviews

Before you settle for a specific architect, you should look at what the past clients say. Look for online reviews on Google to understand those you should hire and the ones you shouldn’t work with. This is where you find if the architect has screwed countless people or whether he’s truly legitimate.

More often than not, someone will always leave a negative review if they are not happy with the job done.

While you shouldn’t just use reviews to make your final decision, it’s merely a checkup on the company you want to work with. A reputable company will have multiple review platforms and large outreach of customers. Only work with Indianapolis architects that show the highest level of professionalism. And as you read the reviews, look for someone with:

  • Genuine enthusiasm for your project
  • A strong portfolio
  • The ability to handle the scope of the project
  • Ability to work with the rest of the team

You’re going to spend a lot of time with an architect. So, as you make the final decision make sure you feel comfortable working with the person. Be sure to check their background, personality, and communication skills. If you’re not on the same page, you could be disappointed and possibly spend more than you budget for.

Final thoughts

There are many reasons why you should consider hiring Indianapolis architects. Whether you’re planning for a whole house remodel or redoing your office, you need the right team for your project. The professional you choose will have a huge impact on how your building will look.

If you follow the above tips, finding the right architect can be a sure bet. The team should be ready to transform your desires into a functional vision that aligns with your budget.