Do you think it's unprofessional for a business to use a pre-made template? I mean, let's say you modified all the graphics, and made it really easy to navigate, with a lot of information on it. Would you consider it "unprofessional?"
I think a site's design says a lot about the company. People who have invested with a designer or worked hard themselves on a design will get my dollar over the company's site that appears as a template.
Right now, we are on a Free Template. Since we didn't have money to invest in a Web Designer yet. Now, we've got more than enough money to invest in someone to design for us. I just like keeping our "Downloaded" template the same, because people actualy like it, and it's some-how easy to use.
How much does the average web designer run? (per hour or per template?)
Web designers are a dime a dozen, so to speak. Rates vary, and most do not charge an hourly fee, but per project. I'd suggest taking a look at the advertising forums here; plenty of great designers at reasonable prices who do stellar work.
You might also want to talk to pmoduk2 on the board here, an active poster, who runs a design company and may be able to answer your questions about web design.
In my opinion, as long as you use a template as a starting point, all is good. But don't just change the names, and upload. Take the time to customize it. Give it your own look, and make it reflect who you are, but more importantly, who your business is. The original idea of templates was to act as a starting point. If you keep that in mind, using templates should work well for you :-)