Online Tradesmen

Online Tradesmen

Postby vca » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:34 pm

Has anyone ever gotten a client / decent architectural commission through the 'Online' website?

After a year and a half using it most of its potential leads seem to lead no where and the site seems to be mainly used by posters in the early hours of the morning fantasising about their dream homes?

As we are examining all of our costs at the moment we were wondering if this is one to be cut.

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Re: Online Tradesmen

Postby lady louisa » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:39 pm

Hi vca,

All I have to say about onlinetradesmen or the new RIAI architect connect version is - HUGE waste of money.

I cancelled my subscription having not gained even one job through the service. I think that the only people making money are the people running the website.
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Re: Online Tradesmen

Postby onq » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:42 pm

Hi VCA and Lady Louisa,

While I have no direct experience of that website- not yet being Registered - can I note that the lack of work stemming from what seems to have been a clever marketing ploy might not rest at the feet of the strategy, but rather the times we are all in.
Of fifteeen jobs this year - some I have chased, some where people have come looking for my services - only one of them turned into a paying job and that was for half the fees I would normally charge.
The rest were all derailed by money concerns, in relation to losing tracker mortgages, having loan applications turned down, bank approval for funding major schemes not coming through, etc.

We are in a situation where the banks are approving only 10% of loan applications and the building industry has shrunk from 24% to 6% of the economy.
So one reason for a lack of response is that there is no money out their to pay for the work and those with a few pounds are hoarding them to get them through the next few lean years, budget-wise.

The other factor may be that people who self-build are more likely to employ an engineer or a technician than an architect on the basis of costs and being concerned that their design "might be taken away from them".
Don't laugh - I see such concerns expressed regularly over on where I post on the Sites, Planning, Self-Builds and Extensions Forum.
A house down the road has recently been extended by the owner and they used an engineer to design it and procure planning permission.
So there is a degree of prejudice against architects and a degree of dislocation to be overcome.

I think the RIAI meet-and-greet days at the various Building Exhibitions may be a good idea - assuming they are no reinforcing the prejudice I speak of - but there is still a long way to go to build bridges and break down perceived barriers.

In terms of the website you describe, I have looked at it and found it a little impersonal, where there seems to be few oporutnities to "make a connection" with the people you may be dealing with and its a bit of a lottery.
You're see far more interaction on AAM or on the Planning forum on which are run mainly by architectural technicians.

Finally there is the matter of competition by unqualified and inexperienced people.
Architects, particulary sole traders, need to beware of the hoovering up of small work by everyone with a CAD programme and these numbers can run into the thousands.
Its rapidly getting to the stage that regulation of the provision of architectural services needs to be addressed as part of the statutory framework or we can kiss the profession goodbye.

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