I own a website design company located in a pretty conservative area of Maryland. We do a bunch of custom features for website but for the most part I`ve found that most people go to websites for directions, hours, and services offered. A template serves those purposes well, in a strictly informative sense. However, when people approach me about templates verses a custom web solution from us, I simply tell them a website is the curb appeal of the times.
What your paying for when you hire a professional is to build a custom website that reflects your business in both an aesthetic and functional way. Templates look great, but its very challenging to reflect a business the way your really going to feel when you walk into an office, diner, what have you... Also, I saw this posted earlier in the thread, templates require editing that typically the average computer user doesn`t know how to do. So your going to need to go to a professional typically get them to edit.
The way I see it, its better to invest in a website that will grow as your company grows versus getting a template for 500 and spending another 1k in a few months.