getting started

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What We Are Best At

We can do a lot of things, but the things we do best are building design and project management.  Our founding architect, Rebecca Calbert, also coaches business owners of all skill levels on how to develop real estate for their business needs.

free, no obligation

Phone Call

Yes, we offer a free, 30-minute, no obligation phone call to prospective clients. We will not try to sell you anything. We don’t need to.  We offer this call to see if you’re a good fit for us, and if we’re a good fit for you. Either we’ll click and we’ll be excited about working together, or we won’t.

After talking for 30-minutes we, or you, may conclude you’re not ready to do this now, or that you should come back in a month or two. The entire purpose of this call is for us to learn if we can help you, and if you think we can help you. When all the stars align and we hit it off, then it’s wonderful. That happens often enough we’re happy to offer these calls. If, after our initial discussion you decide to hire us, then we’ll move forward with a proposal and a proposed timeline via email.

Either way, you’ll hang up knowing a lot more about your project than you did when you first called. We’ll give you a lot to think about. We’ll also send you a free ebook to read about the development process if you’re undecided. Building or remodeling a building isn’t something you should jump into before considering your options. We think an informed client is a happy client.  That’s our goal.  If you need/want more than 30-minutes of our time we offer a $250 hourly consulting rate as well.

hourly consulting


$250 an hour! That’s expensive! Or is it? It depends on what YOUR time is worth to you. To the average CEO pulling down a quarter million dollar income, or making million-dollar deals, it’s a bargain. For the average newcomer to real estate and property development, learning the basics of “what to do next” in a matter of minutes, or in one quick hour could save you months reading blogs on the Internet. So, it gets down to value. What do you value? What is your time worth?

Do you have the time to spend hours, days, or weeks surfing the Internet, reading books, and watching videos? Or do you want to learn right now what you need to do next to move your project forward, what issues to look out for, what items to consider asking for in your lease agreement, and what are standard property development practices so you can get started immediately?

If you’re a busy business owner who wants to find out how things work from someone who does this work every day, then it’s a bargain. If you want to start right now, planning how to get started, a consulting hour is just smart.  

What follow-up information you get after our consultation:

     An ebook with the basic information we discuss in our call.

     A recording of our call so you don’t have to take notes. Feel free to listen to the call over and over.

     A list of “next steps” you’ll need to take to make building your building a reality.


Other things you can ask or learn during your hour:

     How do I know if the property I’m looking at will be big enough for what I want to build?

     What if I found a perfect property, but it’s not zoned for what I want to use it for?

     How do I find out what the costs will be so I know I’m budgeting the right amount for my loan?

     Do I even need a bare piece of property?  What if I find an existing building instead?

     How long will everything take?

     Do I even need an architect?

     Are there better alternatives, can I do this part myself?

     What’s the quickest way to get open for business – in six months or less?

     Who do I hire, and when do I hire them?  Can you hire them for me?

     Where do I find all these different service providers? 

     I’ve never hired these services before, how do I know if I’m getting everything I need?

If you need more guidance than a one or two hour phone wall, we recommend you consider our online courses in real estate and property development at www.SaveOnBuilding.com.

property development

Consulting & Design

Other than charging for my consulting phone calls, we rarely do a “per hour” rate for clients. Why? Because we don’t swap time for money. We charge you based on the value we deliver for your project. That’s why we offer flat rate fees. Every client’s project is different too. Some clients may have purchased undeveloped property with a steel slope and need the building and site designed from scratch. Others come to me with a flat property lot and a first draft of how they want it laid out. Others find an existing building that only needs minor changes to make it work for them. So, it’s hard to tell you what something will cost unless I know what you need. That’s like asking a lawn care company what they charge to mow “a lawn.”

The auto mechanic needs to know what kind of car you drive, how many parts need servicing or replacement, and whether you want a tune-up and tire rotated while your there, etc… Lots of factors have to be evaluated. That’s why two clients – both of whom want to open a new daycare – may find one paying $75k and the other $25k. A lot has to do with the amount of research, size of the building and property, complexity of the building and land, the state and city you’re building in, the local zoning requirements, whether you need renderings for city approval, or just a concept plan.

There’s no one-size fits all pricing model when there are so many variables.  We do, however, offer to two difference Pricing Packages for you to compare.



First, we talk. We want to be comfortable with you and vice versa. You should feel relaxed and comfortable with us. After all, we’ll be working together closely if you hire us.  We learn what you need and want, and more about your project.  Then, we put together a unique proposal for you that includes a list of deliverables, a proposed schedule, and a price we can do it for. You get a flat rate fee so you know exactly what your project will cost – no surprises. The advantage for us is we’re free to put as much time into your project as we want without worrying about a budget since we focus on value.

Flat Rate Fees for a project can run from $25k and up, depending on what you need, how much you’re willing to do on your own, how fast you need it, and what experience you bring to the table.

For instance:

     Have you been running a similar business in the past?  And for how long?

     Have you ever built or remodeled a building before?

     How big of a building do you envision? How simple or elaborate do you want the design to be?

     What’s your time frame? Is this a rush job?

     Is it in a particular industry that I specialize in – daycare, Montessori, private school, fitness center. Etc.?

     How many other architects have you already talked to? Do you already have a feel for how the process works?

     Do you already have a floor plan created? Or have a strong opinion of how you want things laid out?

     Do you have a clear images of what style you want the building to have? 

     Have you saved inspiration images we can go over together?

     Have you already purchased the land or signed a lease agreement?

     How much research will I need to do? How much have you done?

     Have you secured funding, or are you still in the process?

There are dozens of other questions I ask, but the gist is, I need to know more about your project before I can send you a proposal. The good news is, for now, I don’t charge for the 30-minute phone call or the proposal.

if you have drawn

Your Own Floor Plan

If you  have drawn up a floor plan, it will need a “code compliance and operations review”.

Have you left something out of your floor plan that will be required by code or needed for the daily operations of your business? A good code compliance and operations review will spot that. Code compliance and operations are the fundamental backbone of every building.  This type of floor plan review is also called structural or substantive because a good architect will often need to change a client’s sketched floor plan substantially.

Code Compliance and Operations Review – also called Concept Design

A Code Compliance and Operations Review, also called Concept Design, is reviewing a client’s sketched floor plan as a whole for code compliance and building operations and then revising it accordingly.  Do your classrooms flow? Are the rooms sized correctly? Do you have the right number of exits Do you cover the accessibility requirements in a logical manner? Do you have missing support spaces where you’ve neglected to include vital access points that will make the building complete? Is it structurally efficient? Should your floor plan be “tighter” and more simplified? Would you be better served to add a second story, or include multiple levels? Have you considered how the floor plan will translate three-dimensionally? Will your business patrons feel comfortable and welcome in these spaces? Is the building style consistent inside and out?

A good floor plan review is an honest appraisal of your sketched ideas. It may sting, or anger you, especially if you’re in love with what you came up with. But the goal of the Concept Design is to polish and refine the floor plan. By hiring an architect you trust and like, you’re more likely to be open to new ideas, and enjoy the process. It’s tough hearing that a plan, or approach you spent hours “perfecting” isn’t a practical or complete solution. It’s hard to have someone suggest you cut out entire areas or completely flip room arrangements. And while it’s your building and you have the final say-so, an experienced architect can significantly improve your ideas, and confirm that they are code compliant and complete for the needs of your business.

I once had a client who forwarded me her floor plan idea for an existing building she was going to rent. She was a brilliant and experienced daycare owner and so she knew her business well.  Upon receiving the dimensions of the building from the building owner, she was so excited that she wanted to go ahead and layout the floor plan idea she had for the space.  Having no other means to work with, she turned to Excel.  She painstakingly set each cell in Excel up to be a perfect square to represent a square foot within the building, and then set the cell boundary lines to thick where she wanted walls to be located.  And with this system, hours upon hours went by.  Grappling with room sizes and hallways, closets and kitchens. 

She easily spent hundreds of hours getting it “just how she wanted it”.  It may have been cathartic of her to do this, and it may have helped her clarify her vision, but the final floor plan that was built did not match up with what she created over those weeks using Excel. 

In review, the general floor plan concept was fine, until we realized that each line representing a wall did not account for the thickness of the wall.  And therefore, every single element of her plan was grossly under-sized.  Every classroom was too small for the amount of children needed for state ratios.  Every restroom did not include the clearances needed for accessibility.  The corridors were not wide enough to meet code.  There were classrooms that had no access to windows or outside exit doors.  The kitchen was not large enough to fit all of the kitchen equipment; refrigerator, freezer, cooking appliances, dish-wash sinks, etc.

She had spent so much time and effort, only to have us redraw everything from scratch.  She had forced herself through a long and drawn-out process unnecessarily.  When this error in judgement was found she was annoyed. She had hoped to speed things up and cut costs by drawing out the floor plan herself.   So instead of just scrapping everything at one, which we did eventually do, I suggested we redraw the plan with her thoughts and feelings in mind and code compliance and feasibility incorporated as a whole. What she really wanted was to be heard, acknowledged and supported. She spent weeks creating her plan, and the process was tough.  Instead of subjecting her to a whole new plan, I adapted her version as best I could.  But the awareness and insight she gained from seeing it through our trained eyes made for a much more logical plan that better supported her daycare business goals.

A good architect will help you see your building design through the public’s eyes and evaluate how your staff and patrons will use it. They’ll spot the golden nugget ideas you drop and capitalize on them. They’ll help you create the best building to support your business. It may be painful if things don’t fit how you hoped they would, but it’s an invaluable process. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced business owner/operator, or if this is your first building project it can be difficult to accept the kind of direct and honest feedback of an experienced architect.  In the end, your building will benefit greatly from an honest, unbiased reviewer who truly cares for you and your business. 

For a handful of examples of our previous work, check out our Portfolio.

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in Education & Childcare

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2950 Cherokee Street, NW Suite 600 Kennesaw, GA  30144
1-678-398-7744 info@calbertdesign.com