Perhaps the biggest dream of any architect is to stop working for somebody else’s firm and start their own. But we already know that’s not an easy task.
You have to work hard in the industry to accumulate the years of experience and an appropriate number of projects to establish a strong reputation to build your own firm.
If you’re reading this article, then most likely, you already have enough experience to run your architecture firm but you’re probably too scared to actually ask for advice from other players in the market.
Don’t worry. Here are 6 things you absolutely need to start your very own architecture firm.
1. Develop a niche
By now, you must already know that the architecture industry is divided into several specializations. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of architecture firm you’ll be opening. By devoting your firm to one area of architecture, it will be easier for you to develop your skills faster. It will also help you compete with other firms, especially for projects that are in line with your expertise.
However, you must keep in mind that it’s going to be pretty hard for you to change specializations once you commit to one niche. You can’t just jump to designing commercial buildings if you’ve only ever made athletic stadiums.
For you to avoid such issues, it’s better if you do your research on what kind of architectural services are more in demand in your area. You can also start out as a generalist first and then work your way to a specialization that fits your company.
2. Partner with other firms
Another advantage of choosing a specialization for your firm is that it’s easier for you to enter into a partnership with other architectural firms. You can also engage in joint ventures with architecture firms that specialize in the same sector as you for a much bigger project.
Partnerships are also not limited to other architects. Of course, you can engage with engineering firms, general contractors, and even interior designers to widen your reach.
The key here is to keep your lines open and create healthy relationships, even among rival firms. This will ensure better business opportunities for you in the future. Who knows… if things go well, you might someday expand and acquire other firms along the way.
3. Stay updated
Continuous learning is one way to stay on top of the game. Architectural design trends and materials used change every year or so. To cater to the varying needs and desires of your clients, you must take it upon yourself to understand what’s new in the architecture industry.
Although, being up to date does not only apply to learning the newest trends in architecture every year. It also has something to do with keeping up with the latest software and tools of the trade.
4. Invest time in good marketing and business development
Just like any business, there is more to starting your own architecture firm than just designing excellent structures. The two other important aspects are marketing and financial management.
Marketing involves hiring a great team that will focus on telling everyone all about the great things you’re doing. This includes having a professional photographer on board to document your projects, then assembling a marketing team that will come up with ways to publicize your works.
Meanwhile, someone should focus on your finances to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.
5. Be a veteran in design competitions
Design competitions are masked networking events for architecture companies. This is also the perfect place to market your work and hone your skills. So, you’d be a fool not to take part of these yearly events. There are actually some really great advantages to entering design competitions.
By regularly joining and winning design competitions, not only will you get the chance to publicize your work, but you will also effectively prove your worth in the industry.
6. Learn how to minimize costs
To truly be a profitable business, you shouldn’t just focus on getting a huge project. You must also learn how to minimize costs. There are many good ways to do this. You can invest in trusted programs and proven durable tools. You can also prioritize training and upskilling so that your people can avoid making mistakes or be more productive in the office.
Another way to do this is to protect yourself against lawsuits or any unwanted costs due to unintentional errors during construction. Damages claims can cost a lot of money. So, it’s better to prepare for any incident early on.
Profitability in any business comes with religiously following best practices in the industry. It may take some time, but just by following these steps, you have all the necessary tools for success.