Monday, February 06, 2012


Passion must equal to profits. Unless you already have a ton of money, the passion we have for architecture as a business must equal the profit we received.

We need good, solid profit to run the business. Without profit, the business will suffer and quality of our work will decline.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Make Things.

Architects need to make things, invest in development, buying properties, fixing up old buildings instead of just dealing with authorities on behalf of clients.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


How much can we really optimize ? All sort of CAD software tell us we can optimize and become more efficient if we use their software. But in real life does it really happen ? How do we factor in all the additional cost and time on training and upgrading of software and hardware ?

Using some of these software is like driving a Lamborghini to do grocery shopping.
I think if your firm is happy and stable with a certain software platform you should just stick to it as long as you can. The unending cycle of upgrading is not optimization


A bad client is a  big waste of time and effort. They will undermine your credibility and waste your talents.
Check your client's background, interview them  thoroughly before contracting to work with them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Design service is very fragmented . It is hard for client to compare 'apple to apple".
Many a time, I lost  potential clients because someone down the street can do  a few dollars cheaper.
Typically client just focus on cost instead of value.
I think the best way to educate a client to see value is to list all the detail services we are going to provide.
For Example:
Instead of saying " Site Visit", we should expand it to :
  • Do I go alone or will I bring a survayor and civil engineer ?
  • How long are we going to spend at the site ?
  • Do I charge for any extra trips ?
Instead of saying " Preliminary Design", we should expand it to :
  • Do I provide  freehand sketch or 3D CAD ?
  • Any cardboard/foam model ?
  • How many hours to be spend on concept design ?
  • What kind of software will be used ? ( show samples of  cheap renderings VS high resolution renderings)
  • Are we providing any preliminary cost estimation ?  

If we explain our service in details, I believe a reasonable  client will see the additional  value  instead of additional cost. But again, trust your gut feeling about a client. Sometimes  it is best to walk away from a project no matter how much the client wants to pay you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cash Flow- Invoices

Cash flow is  very critical to the financial health of any business. Make sure you collect payments from your clients promptly.
  • Your invoices to client should be simple and easy to understand.
  • Call them right after you send out the invoices to make sure they have received it.  
  • You should start charging a late fee if you don't receieve the payment within  7 days, 2 weeks or 30 days after sending out the invoices. The amount of late fee should be stipulated on your original contract. 
  • You should charge a fee for all returned checks.
  • All work should stop until clients are current with their payments.
  • Put a lien on your client's project if he/she still refuse to pay.     

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Consultant's fee Mark Up

For any project, if you carry a consultant, you need to mark up at least 10% to 20% of the consultant's fee. There are administrative cost and risk to carry any consultants so make sure you get compensated.

If your clients  require you to coodinate with their consultants. You need to charged them a flat or hourly fee to deal with them . Personaly I will charge by hour or a flat fee for not to exceed a certain # of meeting.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Whenever your hear your clients say "EVERYTHING", right away you need to write down  your "EVERYTHING" list  and compare with theirs.

When your consultants or employee say "EVERYTHING" is done you need to do the same thing.

Anything that is not well defined should not be in the "EVERYTHING" list. Toss it out to avoid misunderstanding.