There are two crucial factors that should be considered before even scheduling that initial consultation. Time and Money. They absolutely do matter in planning a design project.
So, how do you develop a design budget without knowing typical costs? After all, you don't do this every day. First, ask a trusted contractor for average price ranges in your area. Next, take a peek below at what I've found through my own research and experience:
Looking again at past experiences, every single project.... every one wants to start NOW. Every project is ready ASAP. Many times people come to me with their homes under construction and they don't know what to do. Moral of the story? It pays to plan your project ahead. We all make mistakes and often times it is thought that no designer is needed, but decisions come up that suddenly show that a designer is, in fact, needed. That's okay! Keep in mind that time is needed and the best designs are not rushed.
Still reading? I have a story for you.
Once upon a time, there was a sweet and wonderful woman, we'll call her Jill. Jill came to me and said, my house is completely gutted and there are too many decisions for me to make on my own! Jill and I began working together, with the constant calls from the contractor with "I need x NOW". Jill did not want the project to be put on hold, so she urged me to help her make those decisions. However, Jill was very indecisive and was not easy to reach. Nearly a year went by and as each urgent decision came up, it was a sudden rush. Come installation time there were issues left and right. Despite the project lagging, rush decisions meant a lack of research time. Had we halted the project upfront, completed the design in full, then started construction back up- we would have had a well thought out, functional design, saving Jill oodles in restocking fees and contractor fees.