How Much Does a Draftsman Cost?

National Average Range:
$1,500 - $2,500
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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by

Draftsmen are professionals who have expertise in CAD and manual blueprint design. Homeowners often retain them to develop plans for new homes, house additions, and home remodeling projects. Homeowners discuss with their draftsman the particulars they want. The draftsman creates plans to scale that can be used by a contractor for building the structure. These blueprints include the placement of plumbing, HVAC, and structural components.

The average drafter cost range for house plans runs between $1,500 and $2,500, with most homeowners paying around $2,100 for new house plans on a three-bedroom, two-bath, 2,000 sq. ft. home, with minor closet customization. Costs can run as low as $1,000 for basic plans of a 1,000 sq. ft., two-bedroom, single-story home to as high as $3,000 for new house plans for a four-bedroom, three-bath, 3,000 sq. ft. home with a customer master suite.

Drafting Services Cost

Draftsman Cost
National average cost$2,100
Average range$1,500-$2,500

Draftsman Cost by Project Range

Basic plans for a single-story home with two bedrooms and 1,000 sq. ft.
Average Cost
New house plans for a 2,000 sq. ft. home with three bedrooms, two baths, and custom closets
New house plans for a 3,000 sq. ft home with four bedrooms, three baths, and a custom master suite

Premade House Plans vs Custom House Plans

Premade house plans run between $600 and $1,000 while having custom home plans drafted can cost between $1,500 and $2,500. The cost of drafting house plans is more expensive with a custom design primarily because it requires more time, research, and logistics. Many homeowners find that custom plans are the best option when they have specific home needs or wants. The drawback to this option is the cost and the time required for meetings with your draftsman to get everything you want to be worked into a feasible plan to build within your price range.

Home plans with cost to build, or pre-made home plans, are more often included with prefabricated homes or sometimes are used when developing homes in a subdivision. In most cases, these plans cannot be modified. They may allow for minor modifications in some cases. Stock plans offer various styles and room configurations, giving homeowners a wide range to choose from, but they tend to be limited to more basic designs. These can be ideal for the homeowner who is not concerned with the design and simply has a size, style, and room configuration in mind. It can be less stressful for many homeowners to just pick from a set number of options.

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Drafting Fees per Square Foot

On average, you can expect to pay between $0.05 and $2.25 per sq. ft. for drafting fees for your home plan. The cost depends on the project's complexity. Costs run higher when more unique or unusual requests may be more challenging for them to work into the plan, such as unique staircases. For example, if you are looking for a basic three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,500 sq. ft., one-story home with mostly square rooms and basic closets, the cost runs between $1,000 and $1,200. A two-story home, with 2,500 sq. ft., a master suite, and a customized kitchen layout runs $2,500 to $2,800. It is important to note that repeated changes to the plan incur additional costs.

Draftsman Drawing House Blueprints

Hourly Rate for Drafting Services

Average drafting rates per hour run between $75 and $125 per hour. Freelance drafting rates are often on the lower end at $75 to $100 per hour. Drafting services from a company average between $90 and $125 per hour. Freelance rates tend to be lower than the hourly rates of a company as freelancers incur fewer overhead costs.

Using drafting services from a company may appeal to homeowners who need a little more guidance walking through the process. They likely have assistants and additional staff who help when the draftsman is not available. Freelancers are popular choices with homeowners who may be looking for a little more customization.

The amount of time it takes to draft plans depends on the size, number of rooms, and layout of the home. Additional time may be needed if you need to work through specific customizations with your drafter. On average, you can expect your plans to take between 12 to 25 labor hours to complete. This means you can have plans drawn up in as little as a few days to as long as a week from when you provide the draftsman with the information until you receive the final prints. If changes are requested along the way, it takes longer.

While it may seem like an easy process, and you may be tempted to do it on your own since you know what you want, it is definitely worth the cost to hire a draftsman. House plans are more complicated than drawing out where you want rooms and at what scale. Draftsmen understand building codes and restrictions, electrical, plumbing, gas line placement, and structural designs to complete a house plan. Failing to account for all this can result in additional costs which would outweigh the drafting services cost.

CAD Drafting Services Prices

A CAD drafter hourly rate ranges between $75 and $125. CAD software has drastically changed the way many draftsmen work. It allows them to create precise drawings more quickly than traditional manual methods. With most drafting services, there is no cost difference between CAD drawings and traditional plan drawings. CAD software can be expensive to purchase and keep updated, but it allows changes to be made more quickly. The original plans can be made more quickly with CAD software as well.

The primary difference between the two types of services is the way that the information is input. With CAD, the draftsman enters the dimensions of the areas of your home and arranges them on the screen into a layout. Using this software, the draftsman can view the layout two- or three-dimensionally depending on their program to give them a better overall idea of what their layout will look like when constructed. Once the design is complete, they make a printed copy to use as blueprints 1.

When using traditional methods, your draftsman completes all work by hand, drawing the entire layout of the house to scale based on the desired dimensions.

Cost for Architectural Drawings for an Addition

The cost to draw up house plans for an addition runs anywhere between $1,200 and $1,500 when adding approximately 1,000 sq. ft. Whether the price is on the high end or the low end depends on the addition. An addition that includes additional bathrooms or custom closet spaces runs on the higher end. Additions with simple living spaces added run on the lower end. Having plans for an addition is just as important as having plans for the original house. Plans provide you with all of the particulars that need to be met to get the job done.

Drafting Services Cost for a Complete Remodel

A draftsman's cost to draw house plans for a complete remodel can be on the higher end of what it would be for original house plans, running between $2,000 and $2,500. These plans are more costly as they require extra work to fit the changes in the house's current structural design. You can save money by not having to move a significant amount of plumbing or gas lines. The draftsman may take extra time to develop a configuration that utilizes what is already in place. As with any house plan, the price goes up as the customization gets more extensive.

Draftsman Cost for a New Build

If you are looking to get house plans made for a completely new house and are not considering pre-made plans, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500. The square footage, configuration, number of stories, and customization play a role in the cost. New building plans will often be higher than addition plans, even if they are the same square footage. These plans must include adding gas lines, structural components, and additional plumbing.

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Add-On Costs to Your Drafting Project

While the actual cost for the draftsmen to create the plans will be the bulk of the planning process, some additional costs may need to be considered when determining a budget. In some cases, you may wish to have your plans reviewed by a second draftsman or an engineer to make sure that everything falls in line with what you want and works for the end goal. Review services cost between $200 and $400, depending on the complexity of the plans.

Land surveys can be an important part of the drafting process to determine property lines and ensure the plans work with the property regulations. You can expect to pay between $400 and $1,200 for a land survey depending on the property's size. Soil testing 2 is important if you suspect it may contain industrial chemicals or heavy pesticides. To have a soil test performed, you can expect to pay $700 to $1,800.

The cost to print your blueprints should also be considered. Depending on the material you choose to have them printed on, you can expect to pay between $10 and $60 for one set of plans.

Building permits will be required when it comes time to construct your home. While the cost for permits depends on the scope of the project and the regulations of the area where it is built, you can expect to pay between $450 and $600. A structural engineer must be hired to review the house plans to ensure that everything will be within code. Most engineers charge an hourly rate, with most projects falling between $500 and $2,000.

A final consideration when drafting plans for a home is the cost to hire a construction manager to handle the project. They charge a percentage of the project's total cost, ranging between 5% and 15%. The average cost for a 2,500 sq. ft. home runs between $15,000 and $25,000.

Cost to Add Blueprint Printing, Review Services, Land Survey, Permits, Structural Engineer Work, Soil Test or Construction Manager Work to a Drafting Project

Cost to Add Blueprint Printing, Review Services, Land Survey, Permits, Structural Engineer Work, Soil Test or Construction Manager Work to a Drafting Project

Add-OnAverage Cost
Blueprint Printing$10 - $60
Review Services$200 - $400
Land Survey$400 - $1,200
Permits$450 - $600
Structural Engineer$500 - $2,000
Soil Test$700 - $1,800
Construction Manager$15,000 - $25,000

Do You Need Blueprints for Your House?

Having blueprints when building your home is critical to ensure that the project is performed correctly and for a price that you can afford. In some cases, blueprints will be required to get new home financing. Think of blueprints as business proposals. If you are looking for a bank to finance a new business venture, they require you to have a business plan to make sure a solid business is being developed with the money. If you were to go to the bank and ask for money for a home without knowing the particulars, they likely would turn you down. Your house is the collateral for the loan. They want to make sure that it will have the value it needs to secure the loan. Blueprints give them the information they need to value your home and finish the underwriting process properly.

Blueprints are critical in determining the cost to build a new home. When hiring a contractor, they cannot provide you with an accurate quote for the building project. You need to know these costs to secure the proper funding and compare pricing between contractors. The cost of blueprints for a house is well worth the investment to ensure that your project stays on budget.

Blueprints are commonly used by companies and builders to communicate their ideas to clients or show their clients how their design has merit.

For homeowners, blueprints give them peace of mind that all details have been worked out, ensuring that their project goes as smoothly as possible with few problems. Finally, some homeowners want to have blueprints drafted of their current home to provide them with a record of their home or to use when remodeling.

Cost Factors When Having Your Blueprints Drafted

Many factors affect drafting rates. First, the size of the project plays a part in the cost. This does not mean just square footage but can also mean whether it is a remodel or an addition. Different room configurations and project complexities also affect the total cost. You’ve likely seen a range of house styles, from simple ranch designs to multi-level homes with customizations. As the complexity goes up, so will the drafting costs.

The draftsman’s time affects the price. More complex drawings take longer than simple ones. Alterations to pre-made ones take less time than new ones. Those requiring a lot of information and back and forth with the customer cost the most. Also involved in the time factor is the delivery date of the drafting project. If you require the plans more quickly than they normally would have them drafted, you will likely be charged more for the rushed deadlines.

A final component that affects the amount you pay for a draftsman is the tools they use to complete the process. Some draftsmen rely on traditional manual tools, such as paper and pencils, while others use more complex CAD software programs.

Eco-Friendly House Plans

Eco-friendly house plans, also known as “green” blueprints, are for homes designed to be more efficient and eco-conscious. You can find pre-made eco-friendly house plans or have them made from scratch. These plans involve several factors that reduce the home’s overall impact on the environment. When drafting these plans, the focus tends to be on smaller square footage, with all the space being maximized. They focus on energy-efficient features, such as solar panels, energy-efficient windows, or designs that use less energy to heat and cool. Other factors to consider when creating eco-friendly house plans are using recycled or sustainable materials and minimizing construction waste.

Draftsman Using Several Drawing Instruments to Draw Blueprints

Draftsman vs Architect Cost

The primary differences between a drafter and an architect are their education level and the scope that they are involved in the project. Architects have an additional two to three years of schooling and participate in an internship as part of their education. They will be more involved in projects by participating in the design, technical aspects, and the oversight. Draftsmen are typically only responsible for the technical aspects.

A draftsman takes your ideas for your home, addition, or remodel and turns them into a feasible plan for construction. They will not be involved in coming up with design elements, special home features, or ideas for customization. All of that will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

Additionally, unlike an architect, a draftsman’s job is done once you have approved the blueprints. They will not be involved in the construction project. An architect oversees the construction of the home until it is completed.

In large firms, draftsmen work under architects to help turn their designs into technical drawings. Architect per hour rates are also significantly higher than draftsmen, running between $350 and $400 per hour.

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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Drafting your own blueprints 1 is not a good idea unless you are an experienced CAD designer, architect, or engineer. Plans for a house are more than drawing pictures of what you want. They require knowledge about how homes are structured, and the systems included. If you have a good idea of how you want your home laid out, draw this out and give it to your draftsmen as a starting point.
  • In some cases, you may find that you need your blueprints drafted in a hurry. If you need rush services, your draftsmen may add a rush fee of 15% to 20% of what they would normally charge. Rush charges are applied as it will likely require them to work extra hours or push aside other projects to get yours completed.
  • Another type of draftsmen called civil drafters prepares drawings for both construction and engineering projects. These maps typically involve both relief and topographical maps. They are responsible for designing blueprints of highways, bridges, buildings, pipelines, and water and sewage systems.
  • Commercial building drafts are more complex than house plans as they require more complicated system plans, such as commercial HVAC and plumbing systems and ventilation systems. When a draftsman creates commercial plans, they often require mechanical engineers' services to ensure that the plans for these systems are set up correctly.
  • For homeowners who want to start by creating their own basic floor plan, software programs run between $25 and $75, letting you design a single floor layout. These programs are not the same as CAD software and are only used for visualization, not blueprint creation. However, they can be a great starting point for your draftsmen to get an idea of your preferences.


  • How much does it cost to have house plans drawn up?

The cost of house plans ranges from $1,000 for premade plans to $3,000 for custom plans on a larger home. Most homeowners pay around $2,100.

  • How to get blueprints for my house?

If you weren’t given the original blueprints of your house when you purchased it, a few places can help you find a copy. One place to check is with the realtor. They have resources that may help you find the best places to get started. If you know who originally built the home, you can inquire with that company. Another option is to go to the city or municipality where permits would have been obtained to see if they still have filed copies of the blueprints.

  • Is a draftsman cheaper than an architect?

A draftsman’s costs are less than that of an architect, running $75 to $125 per hour. An architect’s cost runs between $350 and $400 per hour. Architect services cost more because they come with a higher level of education. Also, they provide design assistance and oversight of the project.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Blueprint 1 Blueprints: A technical drawing of an architectural design. Traditionally these were made using a printing process that produced a white line on a blue background. They can also be made with CAD software and a large-scale printer
glossary term picture Soil Test 2 Soil testing: Chemical analysis kit used to assess soil pH, and sometimes soil nutrients, for the purpose of making fertilizer recommendations (type, quantity, and frequency)

Cost to have blueprints for a new home drafted varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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