How do Architects get work?

How do Architects get work?

Postby zelemon » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:38 pm

Hi i am a graduate Architect looking to establish my own firm, has anyone any advice on
how to get work apart from word of mouth refferrals?
Does it pay to advertise?
Doest it pay to have a website?
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby DOC » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:14 pm

Word of mouth is key in my opinion which is linked/interconnected to track record. Almost all my current clients can be traced back, like a family tree, to a couple of original clients years ago.

A website is very important as a virtual portfolio, more especially if your starting out.

Advertising could/can work, but usually leads to 90% time wasters and 10% actual job leads. The amount of jobs I got soley from the people ringing up from the golden pages are few and far between (I'd say less than 5 in 10 years!).
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby zelemon » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:46 am

Thanks for the reply DOC, have you many jobs/ enquiries through your website, i have advertised in the golden pages but have only got calls from SEO scams etc.
I am starting from a stading postion., i have done a fair few private jobs but nothing really that funky that could set me apart from the engineers etc in the area who people seem to think provide better planning services!
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby DOC » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:14 pm

I don't have a website....yet. Have been working on for 8 years now! :p

So it really is word of mouth.

Having said that and your question about a website, interestingly two of my main jobs (both large domestic jobs) at the moment came from people looking at planning applications on County Council websites and calling me up saying we'd like something like that.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby bitasean » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:18 pm

Golden Pages cost me more than I got from it, and the website has paid for itself ten times over. Importantly it affords starting practices to build impressive virtual portfolios of unbuilt projects.

I'd would love to know if the architects who have taken the brave move to establish fish-bowl practices in Dublin's leafy suburbs of Terenure (ODKM) and Ranelagh (don't know his name but fair play) are getting their value's worth from the price of a shop front lease.

It would also be interesting to see if the general public actually avail of the open-door, come in and chat us about your project policy. Anyone able to shed light on this?
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby onq » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:38 pm

I'm holding clinics on the third bench on the left in the People's Park Dun Laoghaire every Tuesday at 10am. Bring breadcrumbs. Not for the birds - for me!

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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby Frankmcgahon » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:08 pm

Word of mouth is definitely the way most clients arrive but I wouldn't knock the Golden Pages, we've had a few come that way. Thing about a website is that it's become a necessity - I've been told by clients and potential clients that if they see an architect has no website, they rule them out straight away.

Of course, this is all by the by as the best advice for someone thinking of setting up their own practice is Don't Do It!

I hate to be negative and put a downer on things but the root cause of unemployment among architects in Ireland is that there's a surfeit of architects for the work that's there. The only reason to set up your own practice is if you already have a quasi-practice in nixers and want to turn it into something more professional but the sad reality is that the trend is in the opposite direction: established practices shrinking down to nixer operations.

The fact that there's not much work around is why architects are getting laid off in the first place and the standard advice doled out by the institute and magazines to those architects to go out on their own is pretty poor (and unimaginative!) advice. That can't increase the amount of work out there. Better advice IMO would be about what alternative careers might be suited to architects even if just on a temporary basis or how architects could keep their skills levels and familiarity with architecture while doing something else for a living and leave themselves ready to get back into it if and when the demand returns for architectural services.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby Solo » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:23 pm

onq wrote:I'm holding clinics on the third bench on the left in the People's Park Dun Laoghaire every Tuesday at 10am. Bring breadcrumbs. Not for the birds - for me!

ONQ.


I'll bring the breadcrumbs: if you bring the water. :D

More seriously I have been working for over 25 years and have no website for my practice. I get all of my work through referral and have very little wasted time.

I do have a website for my drafting software and although I can sell a product almost identical to Autocad at 10% of the price of Autocad I find the web not the best my word of mouth sales are better. So either the web is not such a good tool for our industry or I am doing something wrong.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby zelemon » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:40 pm

thanks for the reposne lads,
In repsonse to the "don't do it" campaign , I kinda have to, been out since November 2008, nothing happening where I am from except extensions which I am more than happy to do!
More importatnly I feel i can vastly improve on the standard of design in my general locality!
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby saintleger » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:42 pm

I noticed an interesting development in a local paper down in Cork recently - in the planning notices, all the agents put their contact details at the start of the ad. So instead of starting with

'CORK COUNTY COUNCIL Joe Bloggs intends to apply for permission for a house, septic tank, and percolation area etc, etc, etc'

they start with
'CORK COUNTY COUNCIL Joe Engineer of Planning Solutions, Main Street, Small Town, Co. Cork, 02X XXXXXXX, intends to apply for planning permission on behalf of Joe Bloggs for a house, septic tank, etc, etc, etc.

Not something I've ever seen in the National papers.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby onq » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:21 am

saintleger wrote:I noticed an interesting development in a local paper down in Cork recently - in the planning notices, all the agents put their contact details at the start of the ad. So instead of starting with

'CORK COUNTY COUNCIL Joe Bloggs intends to apply for permission for a house, septic tank, and percolation area etc, etc, etc'

they start with
'CORK COUNTY COUNCIL Joe Engineer of Planning Solutions, Main Street, Small Town, Co. Cork, 02X XXXXXXX, intends to apply for planning permission on behalf of Joe Bloggs for a house, septic tank, etc, etc, etc.

Not something I've ever seen in the National papers.


I'm not certain that follows the form of the advertisement wording we all know and love and may lead to confusion in the minds of members of the public reading the advertisements, saintleger.

I haven't seeit it elsewhere, and its typical that the Cork cute hoors would come up with it first. :)

I know its a standard form of words in covering letters and appeals and you can certainly say that it states the case more fully where an agent is involved, but have you any idea whether this is an acceptable wording to the local authority?

In other words are applications lodged on foot of such advertisements being returned to the agent marked "invalid"?

On another note, this may give the RIAI some understanding of how many people are out there providing what they might have thought of as architectural services.

Maybe now they'll stop hounding "unqualified successes" trading as architects and start looking at all the design work they're losing annually to engineers, technicians and draughtsmen all over the country.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby saintleger » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:52 pm

onq wrote:I'm not certain that follows the form of the advertisement wording we all know and love and may lead to confusion in the minds of members of the public reading the advertisements, saintleger.


I'm entirely certain it doesn't follow the form of the advertisement most of us use! However, I don't think it's confusing at all, I think you need to give the public more credit. And if anyone is confused, all they have to do is call the number on the ad. :)

onq wrote:I know its a standard form of words in covering letters and appeals and you can certainly say that it states the case more fully where an agent is involved, but have you any idea whether this is an acceptable wording to the local authority?

In other words are applications lodged on foot of such advertisements being returned to the agent marked "invalid"?


On what grounds could they invalidate them? You could always do a planning search on Cork County Council website, or give them a call, if you want to follow it up. It's not a road we'd go down in my company, but I assume it must be working for them.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby henno » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:08 pm

I have often seen planning notices for authorities in my area which are signed off at the end by the agent

ie " ....by the planing authority of the application. Signed Joe Bloggs Architect. phone no. mobile. no. email addy"

Im actually looking at a page currently with 17 planning notices on it. 6 of them are signed off by the agent. Theres 4 different agents details.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby jackscout » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:16 pm

We would often include our name on the planning application newspaper notice where we would be authorised to sign the planning application documentation on behalf of clients.
Typically we would set out the wording along the line below
Name of Local Authority: A N Other & Associates intend to apply on behalf of Joe Bloggs for permisison for .......

With site notices the name and address of the agent should be included when signed the agent, so I don't see any difference in the including the name of the agent on the newspaper notice.

We never had an application invalided for including our name on the newspaper notice either.
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby onq » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:10 am

Up until a year ago we'd never even thought to put our name on a site hoarding, but needs must when the devil drives, and we have an application to do later this week, so thanks for all the responses guys and dolls.

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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby parka » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:47 pm

If you have a spare €10,000 then go for it.

http://www.bdonline.co.uk gives good advice on starting up on your own
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby zelemon » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:46 pm

Does anyone have any advice on advertising, have you tried local press, national press or national trade? Has anyone had any success wth any of these? or Horror stories?
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Re: How do Architects get work?

Postby missarchi » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:33 am

By creating dream clients in there heads.

or by visiting archisneak daily.
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