One of the biggest perks of being an entrepreneur is that you can be your own boss. While the benefits of flexibility, control, and freedom are exciting, starting your own architecture business from scratch can be challenging.
One of the key aspects to consider when you want to start your own business is to protect yourself against financial risks. As a professional, you are liable for malpractice lawsuits that can arise out of actual or alleged errors, delays and budget overruns. Defending against these claims can create a huge dent in your finances. Bizinsure offers comprehensive professional architect liability insurance that helps you avoid the financial repercussions of a lawsuit.
Apart from insurance, here are the other aspects you should consider before you start your architecture firm.
Six aspects you should know before starting your own architecture business
Work experience is crucial: Many architects work for reputed and established firms so that they can leverage the connections and knowledge they gain from this position before launching their own firm. If you have recently obtained your architecture degree, the first thing you should look at is to complete your internship in a reputed firm. While the job outlook for architects is good with employment projected to grow at a rate of 8 percent until 2028, it is also important to note that a large number of architecture students are graduating. This can entail strong competition for both jobs and internships. Network and build connections as early as possible to increase your chances of finding a suitable position.
Business skills are a must: Whether as an employee, intern or as a student, you may have mastered designing a broad range of structures from skyscrapers to stairwells, but these skills alone may not be enough to start your own architecture firm. To be a successful architect business owner, you will also need to develop a broad understanding of the business side of architecture. This includes skills in sales, marketing, budgeting, and strategy development.
Balancing client expectations: In the university, you may have learned to solve problems by focusing on construction, design, history and other elements. The profession or the business side of architecture can be drastically different. Every architect who has their own practice is challenged to provide solutions that are aligned with client’s budgets, expectations, schedules and building codes. Unlike the universities where you focused on solving design challenges, most of the time, the project design is determined by money and time considerations. However talented architects learn with experience on how to balance design with time and money considerations.
Potential clients and contacts: Clients or customers are the key to business success. While you do not have to have a long list of clients lined up prior to starting your architect business, you should have some connections and leads that you can explore. It is important to develop connections from your University days by networking, joining professional architect groups and other non-professional groups as well. This will help you expand your contact list and increase chances of acquiring new clients.
Focus on the finances: Every business needs money to survive and grow. Capital investment is required to make the initial purchases such as equipment, software or lease. Running expenditure relates to day-to-day recurring costs such as stationary, internet, salaries and so on. It is important to estimate your expenses as accurately as possible before launching your architecture firm. Some of the expenses you will incur include.
- architect’s registration fee and your firm’s registration fee
- Office rentals, lease or outright purchase
- Costs related to taxes, insurance, and networking
- computers, software and other equipment
- Staff salaries
- Utilities and other overheads
Before launching your architecture firm, you should begin to save up as much as possible that allows you to meet the expenses for between six to eight months when you expect to start generating profits. Staying debt-free is important to navigate the ups and downs of architecture business.
Licensing requirements: As a highly regulated profession, there are several legal requirements for an architect firm that you should be aware of. While these requirements vary by state, firms have to employ licensed architects while in some states you have to obtain an architecture firm license.