Going into architecture is one of the best paying and most prestigious careers out there. But to really start making money, you have to leave your regular architecture firm behind and strike out on your own. It’s a big decision, but you’d be amazed and just how few resources are needed to make it happen.
As an independent architect, you’ll have the freedom to gather your own clients and work on projects that you love. No boss is telling you what to do, and there’s no timetable you have to fulfill: just you and your customers telling you what they want.
Here are some tips for starting your own architect business.
Make A Brand, Not A Logo
Branding is about much more than simply designing a logo or coming up with a catchy slogan: it’s the whole personality of your company, all based on the product it sells.
There are dozens of architects to choose from, so customers need a particular reason to want you; otherwise you risk being sidelined by those businesses who get their marketing right.
Take the architecture company 30X40. It’s a company dedicated to designing luxury barns. It got its name from the traditional dimension of barns used in New England states in the past. These barns used to be 30 feet by 40 feet.
But the name also has what marketers like to call “remarkability.” That’s because the name causes you to go digging: you want to find out why a barn company is called 30X40 and what the story is behind the name.
This is turn makes the brand more memorable. The more rich history a brand name contains, the more intrigue it’ll produce out in the marketplace and the more it’ll come to be trusted.
Don’t Rely On The Techniques You Learned In College
Things in the world of architecture have moved on considerably since you were in college. The march of technology now means that it is cheaper and easier than ever before to design a house from scratch.
But if you don’t use the latest technology, like building information modeling, you risk falling behind your competitors. BIM technologies allow groups of architects to work on various layers of a project at the same time. The program automatically reacts to changes made on different layers – say, the electrics – ensuring that there are no clashes or incongruities between layers.
Modern architects are using these tools to make sure that when it comes to actually building their projects that they aren’t going to end up having to make expensive alterations on the fly. The latest software technology reduces the chance of error and the risk that projects will need a radical redesign part way through completion.
Envision Your Success
Many architects staff off small but find that their businesses grow uncontrollably. Just take a look at what happened to Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. That company started with just three members, and now it’s grown to more than 1,600, operating all over the world.
It’s hard to predict exactly where your business venture will take you, but be prepared to be inundated, especially if you get the branding and the technology right.