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We are a design/build firm and have been offering Chief services to our clients for some time now without charging for our design time.  We are planning to begin charging at this point but we are concerned about liability issues since we are not licensed architects.  Does anyone have something like a hold harmless or exemption agreement that they have their potential clients sign to avoid potential legal issues especially if the client were to use our plans for building their home with another buillder?

 

Additionally, it looks like $65-$75 per hour is a reasonable rate to charge per hour for the Chief services. What is your experience?

 

 

Thank you.

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What does your lawyer suggest?

 

Seeing how the average factory worker is getting $63/hr, you should price your services to make a profit.

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16 minutes ago, parkwest said:

Seeing how the average factory worker is getting $63/hr, you should price your services to make a profit.

 

I think you will find that the average factory worker wage in the US is actually around $22/hr, and that's before deductions.

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages-in-manufacturing

 

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4 hours ago, HaywardVT said:

Thank you.

Why didn't you already have an indemnification clause? Even if you aren't charging you can be held professional liable.

 

Take a look here, a few years old but good clause(s) with explanations:

https://aepronet.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/PNN_2016_02_templates-for-reasonable-contract-clauses.pdf

 

$85-$100 is typical on the west coast, I like to bid a project based on historical data. Occasionally I use allowances or set a range with a not-to-exceed clause.

Site measurements and produce an as-built/bid sets will cost $800-$1,200.

Full permit sets, including several design iterations, will be an additional $3-$5K, or simply an allowance of $5k with a clause about allowances.

I see design-build firms charging in the $2-3K for site measurement and architectural sets. They typical make no profit at that price. Need to be clear that an engineer will be needed as well as title 24 etc. Also need to be very clear about knowing current building code as annotations and paperwork alone can blow your contract price with nothing covering your accrued hours.

I keep in constant contact with the client about the milestones and accrued costs of the design, and You absolutely should be charging for this service as it can eat up tens of hours.

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6 hours ago, parkwest said:


You need to factor in the full benefit package.



 

Sorry about that, what tricked me up was the "getting". Yes, the average cost to the employer of an employee is in the $60/hr range. This cost includes not only the employers benefit contributions but also other administrative costs and the employee's use/consumption of corporate facilities and resources. Definitely a valid guide one can use when evaluating their desired base income needs, operational cost and desired profit contribution.

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5 hours ago, TheKitchenAbode said:

 

Sorry about that, what tricked me up was the "getting". Yes, the average cost to the employer of an employee is in the $60/hr range. This cost includes not only the employers benefit contributions but also other administrative costs and the employee's use/consumption of corporate facilities and resources. Definitely a valid guide one can use when evaluating their desired base income needs, operational cost and desired profit contribution.

 

One of the mistakes I see repeatedly in small businesses is the self-employed "working for wages" without factoring in the total cost of being in business.

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Because Hilton Head is a barrier island, our building official dictates that all new structures must have engineered foundations and wind design details. Between this and the engineered subfloor systems being provided by the lumber vendor, my liability is extremely limited. I further limit it with the following Disputes clause:

 

"Should any dispute arise relative to the performance of this Agreement that the parties cannot resolve, the dispute shall be referred to the American Arbitration Association for resolution.  The parties do hereby agree to waive their right to sue in court for disputes that must be submitted to arbitration.

 

The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding on both parties, and it is agreed that judgment on the decision may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. All administrative fees for arbitration, and any attorney fees that shall be incurred in the resolution of disputes, will be paid by the party not prevailing in the dispute. In the event that DR Design & Consulting does not prevail in the dispute, the parties agree that DR Design & Consulting shall not be liable for compensation to Clients in any amount greater than the Total of Fees herein plus all administrative fees for arbitration and Clients’ attorney fees."

 

I use fixed fee design contracts based on a rate of $125/hr, and I charge hourly for work beyond the original scope. 

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I have a clause saying the first option to resolve a difference in opinions is by using the small claims court system... fast and cheap, and no lawyers.  If the amount is over the small claims court's limit, then we proceed to Binding Arbitration.

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I would check with your insurance agent, and have your client check with their insurance agent. 

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