A Productivity System for Architects

A Productivity System for Architects

Finding clients you seek to serve, who have projects with appropriate budgets and realistic schedules is very important. Understanding business fundamentals and building systems that will lead to a healthy profitable firm is critical. Developing an effective marketing strategy that provides appropriate leads and a sales system that converts those leads to clients, may make the difference between a thriving business and a endless loop of failure. As small firm architects, we have so many responsibilities. There are so many roles that require our attention. We need to acquire the knowledge that our limited architectural educations neglected to provide and we must apply that new knowledge to our firms as effectively as possible. All this knowledge is important, but the very first step toward living a successful life as a small firm architect, before we can focus on any of these responsibilities, is to learn Continue reading "A Productivity System for Architects"

Value Based Compensation for Architects

For years architects have been looking for ways to justify their fees and hourly rates to their clients. It may just be that this “justification” posture is the obstacle to achieving their goal of higher fees and enhanced profitability. Instead, more energy could be expended in improving our communication skills, especially our listening skills. We need to take the time to understand our clients’ needs and concerns and then educate them about the value-added aspects of our service. Please note that I said service, not services. David Maister, a Management Consultant, has written extensively on the subject of the value-added aspect of service and the distinction between it and services. (Refer to Maister’s article, Quality Work Doesn’t Mean Quality Service). If we understand this distinction, then perhaps we can begin to develop our ability to negotiate for Value-Based Compensation.

Value Based Compensation for Architects

The initial step to understanding
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How To Retain Top Talent For Your Architecture Firm

This is the second in a three-part series on recruiting, retaining, and coaching new talent. It outlines how firm leaders can build cultures that top performers choose to stay in. To read Part 1, click here: How To Build Sustainable Recruitment Strategies for Small Firm Success.

Top 5 Things To Remember About Retaining New Talent

Firm leaders are responsible for both finding and keeping new talent. The former requires building sustainable hiring systems, as well as a reputation for being an attractive and inspiring employer. Retaining new talent means firm leaders need to become invested in creating:

1. Culture of Transparency

Top performers want to understand and be engaged in the firm’s larger mission, goals, and direction. They want to understand what they can uniquely contribute and how. This requires leadership to be open, candid, and transparent about the firm’s objectives – including revenue and expense data, financial performance data, strategic
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EntreArchitect Behind The Design 009: SteelHouse 1&2 by Zack/de Vito Architecture & Construction

EntreArchitect: Behind the Design is a weekly blog series where we feature work designed, developed and/or built by small firm entrepreneur architect members of The EntreArchitect Community. Want to have YOUR best work featured here at EntreArchitect? Click here to learn how.

SteelHouse 1 & 2 by Zack/de Vito Architecture & Construction

Project Name
SteelHouse 1 & 2

Project Location
San Francisco, CA

Firm Name
Zack/e Vito Architecture + Construction

Architect’s Name
Jim Zack & Lise de Vito

Project Design Team
Jim Zack, Lise de Vito, Ryan Knock

Consultants
Structural- Double D Engineering

Firm Address
156 South Park Street, San Francisco

Website URL
www.zackdevito.com

Instagram Account
@zack_devito_architecture

Photography Credit
Bruce Damonte

Photographer Instagram Account
@BruceDamonte

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
This was a development project. We used our “Go To” market savvy realtor

Continue reading "EntreArchitect Behind The Design 009: SteelHouse 1&2 by Zack/de Vito Architecture & Construction"

How To Budget Your Architecture Project Fee

Project Fee Budgeting for Architects

Sadly, there’s no way for an architect to guarantee their projects will be profitable, let alone earn a minimum 20% Net Profit at the completion of any project. There are however ‘best practices’ to apply to ensure that a project is profitable and to even successfully earn a minimum Net Profit of 20%. In my professional opinion, one of the best practices to apply in advance of providing a client with a proposed fee is to always invest the time and expense required to develop a Project Fee Budget. My preferred best practice method for developing a project fee is the “Top-Down, Bottom Up” approach to fee budgeting. Applying these two approaches, I believe, is as close an architect can hope to create as a ‘guarantee’ of a minimum 20% Net Profit at the end of any project. The step-by-step process for applying the Top-Down
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EntreArchitect Behind The Design 008: Soaring Wings by Winn Wittman

EntreArchitect: Behind the Design is a weekly blog series where we feature work designed, developed and/or built by small firm entrepreneur architect members of The EntreArchitect Community. Want to have YOUR best work featured here at EntreArchitect? Click here to learn how.

Soaring Wings by Winn Wittman

Project Name
Soaring Wings

Project Location
Austin Texas

Firm Name
Winn Wittman Architecture

Architect’s Name
Winn Wittman AIA

Consultants
BD&E Engineering, Home As Art, Mangrum Construction

Firm Address
1108 Lavaca St. Suite 110-488 Austin, TX 78701

Website URL
www.winnwittman.com

Instagram Account
@winn_wittman_architecture

Photography Credit
Casey Dunn, Thomas McConnell

Photographer Instagram Account
@caseycdunn, N/A

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
Marketing strategy was to get it published in numerous magazines concurrent with sale. Ended up getting it on the inaugural covers of Luxe Magazine in Austin, Dallas

Continue reading "EntreArchitect Behind The Design 008: Soaring Wings by Winn Wittman"

Behind The Design 007: TinkerBox by Marica McKeel

EntreArchitect: Behind the Design is a weekly blog series where we feature work designed, developed and/or built by small firm entrepreneur architect members of The EntreArchitect Community. Want to have YOUR best work featured here at EntreArchitect? Click here to learn how.

TinkerBox by Marica McKeel of Studio MM Architect

Project Name
TinkerBox

Project Location
Hudson Valley, NY

Firm Name
Studio MM Architect, PLLC

Architect’s Name
Marica McKeel

Project Design Team
Marica McKeel and Marisa Kaugars

Consultants
Master Consulting Engineers, Harbrook Windows and Doors

Firm Address
15 Broad Street, 3324, New York, NY 10005

Website URL
maricamckeel.com

Instagram Account
@architectmm

Photography Credit
Brad Feinknopf

Photographer Instagram Account
@feinknopf

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
TinkerBox is a development project but was not intended for sale. We use TinkerBox as our showroom where we meet with

Continue reading "Behind The Design 007: TinkerBox by Marica McKeel"

Behind The Design 006: Get Space Vancouver by Jarod Hall of di’velept design

EntreArchitect: Behind the Design is a weekly blog series where we feature work designed, developed and/or built by small firm entrepreneur architect members of The EntreArchitect Community.

Want to have YOUR best work featured here at EntreArchitect? Click here to learn how.


Get Space Vancouver by Jarod Hall of di’velept design

Project Name
Jarod Hall

Project Location
Vancouver, WA

Firm Name
di’velept design

Architect’s Name
Jarod Hall

Project Design Team
Jarod Hall, Jeremy Larsen

Consultants
AAI Engineering

Website URL
www.divelept.com

Instagram Account
@divelept

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project?
We do a quite a bit of self storage, and our marketing strategy is that a good looking eye catching building will get more customers that some little sign placed out front.

What type of fee structure did you use on this project?
A fixed fee from the start of the project.

Is that your preferred fee structure?

Continue reading "Behind The Design 006: Get Space Vancouver by Jarod Hall of di’velept design"

How to Build Sustainable Recruitment Strategies for Small Firm Success

Recruitment Strategies for Small Firm Architects

Recruiting new employees is one of the most important things a professional services firm can do to be sustainable. A solid recruitment strategy not only reduces employee turnover and minimizes cost, it also builds the firm’s reputation as one that actively invests in building sustainable futures for its employees and clients. Growing a firm is completely reliant on recruiting, retaining and coaching new talent – and such activities require as much thought and planning as the largest project. Firms leaders can start by breaking down recruitment into three stages: developing a candidate pool, narrowing to set of finalists, and negotiating the hire.

Refine Hiring Systems

Before recruiting, take some time to fine-tune internal processes like position descriptions, personnel policies, communication methods, etc. All of these organizational systems should be defined before bringing on a new employee, as they are the first introduction to a
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Behind The Design 005: River House by H. Sloane Mayor of UK Architects

Project Name
River House

Project Location
Hanover, NH

Firm Name
UK Architects

Architect’s Name
H. Sloane Mayor

Project Design Team
H. Sloane Mayor

Consultants
Engineering Ventures, Resilient Buildings Group

Firm Address
7 Allen Street, Hanover, NH

Website URL
https://www.ukarch.com/

Photography Credit
Gary Hall

Photographer Instagram Account
@garyhallphoto

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project?
There was no strategy, per se, but a desire to create a great high performance project – both in the technology and the design. I was also happy to be involved in a LEED certified project. All of these elements are beneficial to future marketing.

What type of fee structure did you use on this project?
This was a fixed fee based on the design scope with an hourly rate for the construction period.

Is that your preferred fee structure? If not, what is?
Yes and as I joined with UK Architects

Continue reading "Behind The Design 005: River House by H. Sloane Mayor of UK Architects"

Behind The Design 004: Titan Two by F9 Productions

Project Name
Titan Two

Project Location
Longmont, Colorado

Firm Name
F9 Productions

Architect’s Name
Alex Gore and Lance Cayko

Consultants
Front Range Structural Engineering

Firm Address
703 3rd Ave. Suite 101, Longmont, CO

Website URL
f9productions.com

Instagram Account
@f9productions

Photography Credit
Josh Kern

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
Our firm built the Atlas Tiny House project with our own money. It was featured on HGTV. The people who wanted us to build this project saw the show, were local and liked what we were doing.

Do you have a formal sales process that you follow to “close the sale” and complete the agreement transaction? Describe.
The biggest two things are getting contracts over to the client quickly and following up with them frequently.

Do you have a regular business development process (pipeline)

🙂
Continue reading "Behind The Design 004: Titan Two by F9 Productions"

Behind The Design 003: Canal House by The Ranch Mine

Project Name
Canal House

Project Location
Phoenix, AZ

Firm Name
The Ranch Mine

Architect’s Name
Cavin Costello

Project Design Team
Cavin and Claire Costello

Consultants
MPE Engineer, Structural Engineer, and Civil Engineer

Firm Address
4340 E Indian School Rd. Suite 21552, Pheonix, AZ

Website URL
www.theranchmine.com

Instagram Account
@theranchmineofficial

Photography Credit
Roehner + Ryan

Photographer Instagram Account
@roehnerryan

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If it’s a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
Our marketing strategy is primarily the same across the board, for acquiring and selling, which is using social media as an ongoing story. This allows us to educate future clients on what is important to us, how we work, what we are working on, what we’ve recently completed, what is available, etc. We actually weren’t looking for the property, but we received the call because it was someone

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Behind the Design 002:HillHouse by Zack / de VitoArchitecture + Construction

Project Name
HillHouse

Project Location
Mill Valley, CA

Firm Name
Zack/de Vito Architecture + Construction

Architect’s Name
Jim Zack & Lise de Vito

Project Design Team
Jim Zack, Andrew Germann, Lise de Vito, Sarah Nicolas

Consultants
Weller Design (Lighting)

Firm Address
156 South Park, San Francisco, CA 94107

Website URL
www.zackdevito.com

Instagram Account
@zack_devito_architecture

Photography Credit
Bruce Damonte

Photographer Instagram Account
@brucedamonte

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
It was a development. we used a local, high profile agent, and seeks out local editorial coverage, as well as doing some social media posts.

Do you have a regular business development process (pipeline) that you use to acquire the leads for the next project? Describe.
Sit by the phone and wait for it to ring….well, not quite, but it often seems that

Continue reading "Behind the Design 002:HillHouse by Zack / de VitoArchitecture + Construction"

Behind the Design: Calender Rd. by Allen Architecture, LLC

Project Name
Calender Rd.

Project Location
Arlington, Texas

Firm Name
ALLEN ARCHITECTURE LLC

Architect’s Name
Brandon E. Allen, AIA

Project Design Team
Brandon E. Allen, Anissa Allen, Brad Blessing, Ana-Sofia Gonzalez

Consultants
JHF Construction (GC), H&H Engineering (Structural), edited (furniture, art, staging)

Firm Address
1227 W. Magnolia Ave. LL100, Fort Worth, Texas 76110

Website URL
www.allenarc.com

Instagram Account
@allenarchitecture

Photography Credit
Brian McWeeney

Photographer Instagram Account
@mcweeneyphoto

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If its a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
This client is the older brother of a childhood (and current) friend. We have seen each other often over the last two decades and always discussed architecture. He had an interest in design and what we were working on (or studying in the early years), and always sent me interesting projects that he happened to see in his daily

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Pricing Creativity with Author Blair Enns (Transcript)

This is the transcript from EntreArchitect Podcast Episode 219, Pricing Creativity with Author Blair Enns. Listen to this podcast episode or download the audio file here.
 

***Start Transcript***

Promo: 00:00 Do you know how to calculate the exact amount you need to charge your clients in order to earn 20 percent profit on that project? It’s simple to do., if you know how. Learn how by downloading our free course Profit for Small Firm Architects today at entrearchitect.com/freecourse. Mark: 00:21 You are listening to EntreArchitect Podcast and this is episode 219. Mark: 00:38 Welcome back to EntreArchitect Podcast. My name is Mark R. LePage and this is the podcast dedicated to a successful life as a small firm entrepreneur architect. Whether you have plans to someday start your own firm, you’re in the process of launching a startup or you may be experienced small firm architect, just Continue reading "Pricing Creativity with Author Blair Enns (Transcript)"

Three Financial BasicsEveryEntrepreneur ArchitectMUST Understand

Financial Management Terminology for Architects

For many design professionals the subject of Financial Management is complex and can become problematic if the terminology used in the discussion or writing of this subject are not precise. For clarity, the term, Financial Management, refers to the accrual-basis accounting process of a professional design firm. Accrual-basis accounting is primarily used to determine true profitability and the metrics, or key financial performance indicators (KFPI’s) that can be calculated only in this form of accounting system.

Three Financial Basics Every Entrepreneur Architect MUST Understand

The following are three financial basics every architect my understand. Unfortunately, they may be some of the most problematic and misused terms used by architects when structuring their financial management systems.

Profit/Loss Statement vs. Income Statement

Each of these terms are uniquely tied to the respective accounting process they represent. The Profit/Loss Statement refers to the financial report for the
Continue reading "Three Financial BasicsEveryEntrepreneur ArchitectMUST Understand"

Three Financial BasicsEveryEntrepreneur ArchitectMUST Understand

Financial Management Terminology for Architects

For many design professionals the subject of Financial Management is complex and can become problematic if the terminology used in the discussion or writing of this subject are not precise. For clarity, the term, Financial Management, refers to the accrual-basis accounting process of a professional design firm. Accrual-basis accounting is primarily used to determine true profitability and the metrics, or key financial performance indicators (KFPI’s) that can be calculated only in this form of accounting system.

Three Financial Basics Every Entrepreneur Architect MUST Understand

The following are three financial basics every architect my understand. Unfortunately, they may be some of the most problematic and misused terms used by architects when structuring their financial management systems.

Profit/Loss Statement vs. Income Statement

Each of these terms are uniquely tied to the respective accounting process they represent. The Profit/Loss Statement refers to the financial report for the
Continue reading "Three Financial BasicsEveryEntrepreneur ArchitectMUST Understand"

The Power ofThe Profit First Architect

We Would Do It for Free If We Could

We architects have deeply rooted positive passion for what we do. As artists we love to manipulate form and space in order to impact the lives of others. We are thrilled every time we walk through one of our structures. Our fuel is the excitement and emotional reaction that others have for our art. We love being architects. We are making the world a better place with every new project and we would do it for free if we could. …and that, right there, may be our biggest problem. We would do it for free if we could.

The Starving Artist

When it comes to money and the thought of having to charge for what we do, we squirm in our seats. We become very uncomfortable. We feel an underlying sense of guilt for charging for the art that we love Continue reading "The Power ofThe Profit First Architect"

The Power ofThe Profit First Architect

We Would Do It for Free If We Could

We architects have deeply rooted positive passion for what we do. As artists we love to manipulate form and space in order to impact the lives of others. We are thrilled every time we walk through one of our structures. Our fuel is the excitement and emotional reaction that others have for our art. We love being architects. We are making the world a better place with every new project and we would do it for free if we could. …and that, right there, may be our biggest problem. We would do it for free if we could.

The Starving Artist

When it comes to money and the thought of having to charge for what we do, we squirm in our seats. We become very uncomfortable. We feel an underlying sense of guilt for charging for the art that we love Continue reading "The Power ofThe Profit First Architect"

My 5 Rules for Developing Contract Documents for Small Firm Architects

It may be the most critical step in the entire process of acquiring a new architecture client.

We may have perfected our marketing, developed a strong reputation, executed a flawless sales process and have received our prospective client’s eager authorization to proceed with a new project. We may have done everything right and find ourselves at the point where, to make this new relationship official, we need a signed legal document. We need a contract. Hand shakes are only as good as your memory (or your luck) may be. Simple letters of agreement may define the project description and manage an understanding for how to get paid, but will only be as valuable as the paper that they are printed upon if there is a mis-understanding or a conflict somewhere down the line. Send your client an overwhelmingly comprehensive legal agreement intended for large projects and it may end up
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