The right designer is priceless
A logo and branding package design is priceless if you find the right designer that understands what your business is about, your likes and dislikes and has the skills to collaborate these ideals into an image that encapsulates your brand. You could end up paying the same price all over again a wee way down the track, if you find out the design you have isn't working for you.
Don't pay overheads
That being said I don't believe you need to pay the earth to get a great solution that works for you. Boutique agencies struggle with variable workflow which means that they still have to cover rent and staffing costs whether the work comes in or not, therefore extras charges are often occurred for the convenience of a central location. Sometimes these costs are fair if there are a lot of manual tasks involved in the design ( such as sketch many elements), however the basic initial development of a logo that works for you doesn't need to cost the earth.
Behind the scenes
A good designer should be able to show you their process and include you in this development. This ensures you are on the right page all the way through the concept development and you aren't handed a final set of concepts that you either can't stand the look of, or don't particularly identify with. Research and development must go into finding out what your business is about. Who your competition are in the industry and how you personally feel about visual elements and icons. Not only this but a range of options needs to be explored in the development process, on the journey to an original result. Often creativity strikes at the most random times ( like in the shower) so your designer isn't actually 'clocking off' just because they've stepped away from the sketchpad or computer screen.
So what's the $ figure you now ask?
This can vary anywhere between a pre-made $50 off the shelf logo you put your name to ( but may not have authenticity with) to a $1500-$5000 figure offered up by the top agencies. I think to be fair to your designer and the work entailed roughly $300 for a full brand package covers off the time required to do a thorough development process with the client; work the ideas up digitally, present ideas and amend as required, and finally create final files in various formats. This is a very good deal and you will be pleasantly surprised with the creative and eye-catching results.
Drop me a line if you'd like to discuss your new branding/logo project I'd love to have a chat about what it is that makes your business special.