This has been, and seems to continue to be, one of the hardest parts of the project for us. There are different designers who are able to submit approved drawings to a government body for approval. The two main ones I will talk about are architects and engineers. All can services can be as per the design professionals expertise and licensing.
Architects, as design professionals, typically complete more parts of the process. An architect may do only the design of the (in this case) house, without working on the site survey, grading and drainage, structural work design, etc. Some may be licensed in all, or have consultants, who can complete the design for submittal and approval. Most will do a series of design steps such as preliminary design (your conceptual ideas worked out on paper), construction drawings (complete drawings of all aspects of the design to be constructed) and governmental approvals.
I have found that the cost of hiring an architect is higher than hiring an engineer to design a house. In the Florida Keys many engineers consider themselves building designers as well. In a small community, professionals have to be jack-of-all-trades. An engineer, most likely a structural engineer, can design a structure not to fail but may not have expertise to design a house of a pleasing character, layout and finishes. I assume some of them have designers that they call on to provide the design services and they do just the structural design.
All of the designer’s contracts were different as to services provided as well as pricing. If things are busy you may ask how long it will take to get started on your project as well as completion of the design service.
To contract for land surveying services I called around and got prices from $700 to $1,300. A few calls were worth the savings.
As there are many villages, towns, cities and county planning and building departments. Be sure your design professional knows, and is up to date, on all planning and construction requirements for your jurisdiction. We asked a number of different design professional about a specific rule in our area and not one knew the correct answer to the design problem.
Either professional needs to be licensed to do and submit their work for approval. Check on the status of their license with the state and see if there are bad review on line. Other reviews like references, any complaints will help as well. Governments typically will not comment on the quality contractors or designers.