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How Much Do Mechanical Engineers Charge For Their Services?

Last Updated: December 27, 2023

A mechanical engineer designs mechanical equipment such as industrial machines, HVAC equipment, automotive and aeronautic equipment.

Basically, anything that is more complicated than a toaster usually starts with a mechanical engineering plan.

There are mechanical engineers that deal with machines and devices as small as a watch and its parts to devices as large as a nuclear reactor or a battleship. Most engineers are specific to a type of mechanical device.

There are HVAC mechanical engineers, mechanical aeronautics engineers, nuclear mechanical engineers, etc.

How Much Does Hiring a Mechanical Engineer Cost? #

When building or renovating residential projects involving complex mechanical systems, hiring a mechanical engineer for design, planning and evaluation typically costs:

Consultation & Evaluation

  • Initial site assessment: $500 - $800
  • Complex system analysis: $800 - $2,000

System Design & Drawings

  • Basic HVAC design: $1,000 - $3,000
  • Custom home theater/electronics: $800 - $4,000
  • Multi-system new build: $3,500 - $8,000

Project Management

  • System performance oversight: $150 - $250 per hour
  • On-site supervision: $2,000 - $5,000

Typical Hourly Rate

  • Licensed Professional: $100 - $175 per hour

Small residential projects like HVAC or home theater design cost around $1,500 on average. Major new construction projects or complex renovations can run $5,000 or more.

Mechanical engineers usually use a specific set of parameters and materials from a design company to develop blueprints that can be read by a builder to be interpreted into a reality.

A mechanical engineer's job is to interpret designs and make them into a working blueprint model. Some projects may include extra labor due to inaccurate or faulty design plans.

This may push any cost of a mechanical engineer up another $10 to $15 per hour.

Unfortunately, *there is no way to know about this extra cost until the engineer is halfway into the project.

The best way to make sure you don't get charged extra is to hire a mechanical engineering firm that has done business with the same design firm for years.

Mechanical Engineer Cost

Real-World Mechanical Engineering Costs #

Here are some real-world quotes from people on how much they paid to hire mechanical engineers:

  • "I hired an engineer for $2,100 to design the HVAC and electrical plans for my master suite addition." - James T., Ohio

  • "Paid an engineer $1,250 just to create the ductwork layout needed for a remodel to add air conditioning." - Anne B., Texas

  • "Needed custom wiring and electronic plans drawn up for a new home theater installation. Paid the engineer $3,800." - Kevin R., Pennsylvania

  • "I was building a large shop garage and apartment above it. My engineered mechanical plans were $7,500 as part of the total design package." - Olivia S., Maryland

  • "Had an engineer inspect and certify that my current HVAC system could support an addition for a flat fee of $625." - Noah P., Arizona

  • "I paid an engineer $175 per hour, totaling $1,925 to create mechanical plans for my pool house cabana build." - Emma C., Nevada

As shown, costs range from $625 for a targeted HVAC analysis up to $7,500+ for full new construction mechanical plans. Home theaters, garages with living spaces and additions fall in the $1,500 to $4,000 range typically.

When to Hire a Mechanical Engineer for Home Projects #

You typically need to hire a licensed mechanical engineer (ME) for residential projects in the following situations:

Complex HVAC Design

  • For geothermal systems, boilers, multi-zone mini splits, or advanced ventilation

Home Automation & Electronics

  • To design integrated home tech, theaters, security or audiovisual systems

Piping, Plumbing & Gas Work

Swimming Pools & Water Features

  • To design pool filtration, heating, pumping and drainage systems
  • For pool house mechanical spaces and equipment

New Home Construction

  • To create stamped mechanical plans meeting code for permitting
  • If using alternative building methods needing engineering approval

Remodels Requiring Relocation

  • If significantly modifying existing mechanical systems or layouts
  • For home expansions needing new HVAC and venting

For any major home construction project or renovation involving complex mechanical system design, installation oversight, or structural modifications - consult a licensed professional ME.


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