Lighting design services cost guide

Light is the vital element of any building, be it a house, an office, or a storage. The right amount and location of the light source can transform any space into a pleasant and functional place. Lighting design professionals help with designing and organizing of space to make it look attractive, feel enjoyable, and work for the owners. They take into account the visual appeal of a place, and also ensure that it’s lit enough for the work of any nature.

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Experts in lighting design can help you design, create, and even install lighting solutions at home, in offices, industrial buildings, and large concert halls. However, these experts usually don’t intermix their primary fields of expertise, so it is crucial to seek the assistance of a related lighting designer.

Professionals in this industry not only develop plans, but they also have extensive knowledge of the latest electrical and lighting advancements and can help create an energy-efficient home of any size: they will carefully plan the wiring as well as bulbs usage to minimize your bills. Besides functionality, they also work on making your home and business environment appealing and visually pleasant.

Average lighting design cost

To calculate the average cost of lighting design is extremely complicated due to the difference in project scopes. Some homeowners hire lighting designers to only redesign their living room while others seek assistance in a whole-house makeover. Due to this fact, we name the average hourly rates of lighting designers: $90-$140/hour. The lower end price equals $70/hour while the top-rated industry experts may charge as much as $165/hour.

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Cost-related questions

How do lighting designers charge?

Most lighting designers have several charging methods.

  1. Per-hour charges apply to large scope projects that include a wide range of services and man-hours required. For instance, if you need to get a design project and then complete an installation of the light inside of the whole house.
  2. Flat rate charges are frequent for the standard project. For example, if you decide to renovate the light in the bathroom or want to order a project only for your living room.
  3. Per-project cost is calculated for every project individually. It depends on the project scope, the amount of work required as well as the condition of the current wiring (whether it needs a replacement or not) and the materials cost.

What are the standard lighting design services?

Those flat-rate priced projects include standard services and their combinations. Here is a tentative list of them:

  • Site setup: protection of all the existing structures, finishes, components, and materials.
  • Basic installation materials: provision and laying of materials that create proper support for the lighting column bases
  • Equipment required for the installation of all lighting fixtures
  • Labor time
  • Designer’s transportation fee
  • Delivery of the lighting fixtures

What services can increase the final cost?

Besides the standard packaged services, there is a number of vital yet additionally paid services that you will have to face, namely:

  • Repairs and alteration of an existing system in your home. For example, if your HVAC is not ready for the new project or your A/C unit requires relocation to a different spot, you will have to pay for it separately.
  • Cleaning and disposal of any waste materials.
  • Testing and removal of any hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead.
  • Subcontracting costs. Most often a lighting designer will need professional assistance of a general contractor or an electrician as well as one of an architect whom you will have to pay additionally.
  • Any taxes for materials and supplies.
  • Cost of permits required by the local building department.

What additional costs can I expect?

All lighting designers have their own particular lists of basic and additional services. However, the following is almost never included in the standard packages:

  • Daylight studies (required to evaluate whether your space requires artificial light even during the daytime; and if yes, then how much)
  • Supervision of construction (most lighting designers would create a project and only check upon the construction from time to time)
  • Assistance in evaluating returned tenders (after a designer creates a project, you will need to look for subcontractors and an architect or electrical engineer to complete the renovation and installation; if you want a professional opinion of a lighting designer, be ready to pay extra for this service)
  • Shop and field inspections (in case you don’t want to be much involved into the project and only want the job to be done, you can always pay extra to your designer to find all the fixtures and lamps for your space)
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Is there a minimal charge for the lighting design services?

Generally, even if you ask for a single consultation with a lighting architect, you will have to pay a minimum fee. Sometimes it equals only half an hour rate while most designers charge 1.5 - 2 hours of their effort.

Information to check

Before telling the exact points for you to verify, ensure that you cooperate with a lighting designer from a larger company. It’s highly advised to engage with a design firm or a lighting supplier to receive the highest level of service.

Experience and specialization. Experience can be counted in years a designer has been in the business and the available portfolio. Moreover, if you hire a designer from a firm, you can also inquire if he/she is be able to offer any discounts for the materials and fixtures. The large discounts a designer can offer, the longer they are in the business, and the better their reputation is.

License. Lighting Designer's license is required for all works that exceed $500 limit. However, not all states support this idea. So before hiring a local designer, check your local regulations on the matter. In case the license is not obligatory in your state, look for experts who are certified by independent organizations and who are the members of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Insurance. This is a must-have for lighting designers since they might be operating on construction sites. Ensure that your designer carries adequate liability insurance and has workman's compensation insurance for injuries or health risks related to the job.

Bonded contract. Again, if your project costs more than $500 we recommend signing a binding contract. It will protect you as a client in cases when your lighting designer doesn’t meet the terms of the contract. Besides the contract, ensure that your lighting designer's bond limit will cover the cost of completing or re-doing the work.

Other frequently asked questions

Do I need LED lamps?

Yes and no. LED lamps use significantly less power and as a result and much more cost-effective. Moreover, they last longer due to the advanced design and last for as long as 20 years. Generally, LED lamps are seen as eco-friendly and money-saving means for home design. However, practice shows that you will begin actually saving on such bulbs only after about 5 years of using them. SO while they are beneficial as a long-term investment, carefully consider their advantages for short-term projects.

Can electricians plan my lighting?

Yes, electricians can plan lighting because they have extensive knowledge of the industry. However, their field of expertise is more technical than visual. So while they can help put the bulbs and the sockets in the right places, they won’t help you find the best fitting fixtures and ensure that the light level in your office is enough for daily routine.

Bottom line

Lighting designers are professionals who can transform any space into an appealing and comfortable home and office. The average cost of lighting designer service is $90-$140/hour while most Americans spend between $5,050 and $6,120 for full-service lighting design and installation.

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