How Much Does It Cost?

If the church employed an architect what percentage of the total cost of the building would be represented by that architect's fee?

Charges for organ consulting work are based on the complexity of the project. If you would like to arrange a visit to the church for an on-site assessment it generally costs $500 plus expenses. Should a consulting contract develop from this visit, the $500 charge will be applied as a credit against the total fee. Generally, a one-day visit to include a meeting with church representatives is sufficient for this preliminary report.

In a circumstances involving an electronic organ, generally the total fee is $1,500 to $2,500 plus expenses, depending on circumstances. Digital electronic organs range in size from small to enormous and often involve the construction of cabinetry which houses and disguises the appearance of speakers. Projects with more complexities will typically increase the consulting fee. The fee includes meetings with the organ committee, the arrangement of visits to see instruments in other churches, the provision of educational resources and materials, attendance at congregational or board meetings to represent the committee and explain their work, the management of negotiations with organ companies, and the final inspection of the completed instrument which typically must be done "by the church or its representative."

In projects involving pipe organs, the consulting fee ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 plus expenses. Again, the fee is based on the amount of estimated time required to complete the project. Restoration and rebuilding projects are significantly more time-consuming than new organ construction.

Compare these fees with what the church would expect to pay an architect. I think you'll discover how affordable an organ consultant is. A comment made many times over the years by organ committee chairs comes to mind, "employing an organ consultant was the best money we spent."

The fees are quoted "plus expenses." What are these and how much are they estimated to be? If the church is within driving distance travel is billed at $.36 per mile. If an airline is involved the expense is that of the cost of an economy seat. Rarely is it necessary for the consultant to visit the organ builder on his premises but some complicated projects do require this. The costs include travel, lodging, and food. The cost of time is already included in the fee. Telephone calls are billed at cost. No expenses are ever incurred or billed without the prior approval of the church.