Working as an architect in an established architectural firm is a good move, because you can be sure to get paid at the end of the month if you perform the duties that are assigned to you. On the other hand, if you don’t want to place a ceiling at the amount you can earn in a month or annually as an Architect, then you best option is not to work for someone but to become your own boss.
Starting an architectural firm is not a difficult endeavor as long as you have the paper qualification and a strong desire to become your own boss. It requires a moderate start – up capital to establish an architectural firm and you can be guaranteed to break even within the shortest time frame if you are hardworking, competent and have the right connection or network cycle.
Aside from the fact that your works will speak volume for you as an architect, most of the jobs you will get may likely come from referrals. Do note that it is pretty much easier to seal a business deal when a satisfied customer refers a friend or family members to you. This is because they are already convinced of your job based on what they have been told. Unlike when you have to bid for a job, prepare a presentation, defend the presentation and then wait to know if the job / contract will be awarded to you.
You might want to know if it is timely and profitable to setup an architectural firm in a city or community. One of the means of getting answers to some of the most pressing business questions is to conduct a feasibility study and to undertake a market survey. When you know what you are looking for, it becomes much easier to identify the answers when you come across them.
It might interest you to know that there are business consultants who are specialized to help businesses conduct feasibility studies and market surveys. If you don’t have the time or the skills, then you may want to consider employing the services of a researcher. It usually attracts a fee though and the scope of the job to be done will determine the amount you will spend.
2. Write Your Business Plan
How do you intend to attract your startup capital? How do you intend to get clients to patronize the services you offer? What is your business goal, vision, mission and philosophy? What management and marketing strategies do you intend to adopt? These are the questions that a good business plan will help you answer. If you are able to conduct an effective feasibility study and market survey, then you would have succeeded in gathering data that will help you write a business plan that can pass reality check.
3. Incorporate Your Business and Obtain the Necessary Business License
You would need to pick a business name and get it registered with the nearest office of the secretary of states in your country or the corporate affairs commissions of your country as the case maybe. The first step is to choose a name for your business, then go for a name check to be sure the name is still available before filling the required application form and filing the necessary documents. You will also be required to get a business license before you can be permitted to operate an architectural firm.
4. Rent a Facility and Setup the Office
Although, you can run an architectural firm from your home- especially if you are just starting out, but if you have the financial capacity go all the way to rent an office facility then please go ahead. When shopping for an office facility for your architectural firm, ensure that you discuss with your real estate agent to get a facility in a location that will be suitable to work in and also a place conducive enough to attend to your clients.
5. Prepare Your Business Card and Other Marketing Tools
Your business card is your number one networking and marketing tool. Therefore, ensure that you always have it with you whenever you go out. You would also need to prepare your business brochure (hard copy). This is important as it makes it easier for people to know what you do at a glance and it should always be included whenever you send out business proposals.
6. Network and Join Relevant Architectural Associations
There are several architectural associations both locally and internationally that you can join to help you with the project of starting your business. The best place to start from; will be to join your state architectural association.
Beyond becoming a member of the national association of architects in your country; it is also important to network with people in complimentary industries. They include; people like building engineers, structural engineers, civil engineers, estate and land surveyors, and government officials especially- those in the town planning department. These are the major people that can help you get business deals as an architect.
7. Build Your Official Website and Source / Bid for Jobs
Part of what you will likely need to do to position your architectural business is to build an official website for the business. In this dispensation, the first thing an average person does when they come across a business is to do an online check. As a result, you need to pay a professional website developer to help you develop a good website; such that will enable you promote your business.
No doubt you are likely going to face a myriad of competition when bidding for an architectural job, which is why you must ensure that you have done a thorough back ground work very well before launching out.