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.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Anti Trust Laws

Anti trust laws forbid architects to compare or discuss fees.
So the design fees are all over the spectrum. From patheticaly low to astronomical high. 
99 % of the clients are walking around shopping  for the cheapest architects.
Regardless of their skills, architecture services are reduced to commodity.
Clients have all the numbers and architects are in a fog, reducing or increasing fees on a whim without a clear understanding of profit and loss.
That is one reason architecture is not  a profitable enterprise.
We don't know the real cost of doing business anymore.
The clients are holding all the cards.


How much can you trust the information on any AS BUILT drawings or documents your clients handed to you for reference ? It could be 99 % or  0.9  % accurate. How about all the things that cannot be seen ? Things hiddened under the slab, ceiling or walls. Do you have a fee structure to deal with all those unknown issues ? Have you explained them to your clients ?
How much time do you need to verify without taking down wall , opening up floor slab or move 10 tons of  boxes?
Ok the bottom line is you need to know how to charge and deal with all the unknowns before you start the project . You need to let your clients agreed to all these potential charges before you sign the contract with the clients. Or you should just walk away.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Good Deals-Discounts

Can you really afford to give your client a discount ? Selling a service is not like selling a car or a chair where most of the costs of products are known. A service is almost open ended, unless you can specify very tighly in your contract/proposal. I think we should only give discount to a well defined scope. In order to get the discount the client needs to play a part like for example paying cash ahead of the project . 

For Example:

Scope:  Preliminary Planning Research for a restaurant

Senior architect: 6 hours @ $120 per hour 
Junior Architect: 2 hours @ $80 per hour
Adminstration: 2 hours @$60 per hour.

Drafting: To be determined if required.  Drafting @ $40 per hour
Printing to be billed at cost if paid within 7 days

Proposed Time : 10 hours
Total: $1000 
10% discount if all are paid up front.

So if the client wants to save $100. Ask them to pay up front. If not , break down into 2 payments the most for a small scope like this one.

A discount is not free. It should be in exchange of something that is valuable to your firm.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Other People's Business

Architecture practices in general are about other people's business. We wait for other people  to call us when they need a new house, a new mall, or a new township. I think we should not rely on other people to sort out our business and future. We should be a builder/banker/ developer/architect all in one.