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Don’t confuse Architecture Office with Supermarket

Let’s say you’re living the initial romance and affair stage with your clients and suddenly comes the SLAP; “Would you mind, to make a discount?”
That’s right dear clients, this post is very well oriented to those who see a visit to your next Architect, similar to a visit for the Supermarket around the corner.
Here, in a very simple way, it will be explained why an Architect will perceive you as a retard, disrespectful person, whenever clients bring out of pocket that stupid question. On the other hand, why is completely wrong to even think about that.
For those who wrongly seek for a project discount on an Architecture office, here’s what it costs to maintain and keep running our business:

. Rent
. Software licences
. Space Insurance
. Professional Insurance (differs from country to country)
. Accountant
. Water / Energy bills etc
. Ink cartridges (A4/A3 and for plotters, if you think for your A3 printer is expensive, imagine what’s the cost for a plotter)
. Paper for all your printers
. Salaries (take into consideration value fluctuations caused by different levels of experience)
. Fees and Taxes
. Office material
. Fuel for site visits
. Energy and time spent on consultation for initial phase, plus your work on a further stage

If you think this doesn’t apply to small size firms, you’re wrong, very wrong in all ways! Clients most of time when they see a new small size firm, they must think, there are no costs associated. I which I could live on that wonderland too. Even freelancers most of times have this kind of expenses associated. So, whenever a client picks an Architect that doesn’t have many clients yet, dreaming with a smaller fee, don’t get surprised by the value presented to you.
The fact that someone is starting their business, does not translate into smaller fees or charge less. Most of times, when Architects decide to open their own studio, they already have many years of experience with them working for others. So, it’s a complete nonsense waiting for an opportunity to reduce price. Plus, no one nowadays fall into that cheap conversation “ I have someone that does cheaper for the same as you.”  Because if you do, why you’re still making someone wasting his/her time with you? What is attaching you to that office, when you have something better waiting for you?

No matter if it’s a team of two, three, five or only one, to run this business you have to take into consideration the list above.

How about the value that the Architect does have? That doesn’t count to you?
Simply don’t understand the short mindset people have, assuming Architecture services value less than a visit to your dentist or doctor!
I bet when people visit health services and professionals, they pay for what is asked and don’t even blink! So, why on earth people assume we’re not worthy of the value we present and ask?

I would love to watch people trying to negotiate with their attorneys, a perfect price range, only to fit their best interests.

So, to conclude, STOP with this SHITTY mindset to take advantage of Architects, if you perceive us as artists and not fundamental to society and not worthy of your money, maybe it’s time to first change your mindset and comeback later!
Architects are not individuals who sketches a bunch of lines and in a moment of “Voilà”, they find the solution to your program. We take a lot of effort and energy, searching for the right solution.

Most of times Architects seat in their tables after dinner, some hours on weekends, completely out of their working hours, sketching the right solution for you….most and many, many times, it’s something not charged. Maybe we should start to charge it, so people could become aware of our real value and what it takes to compose a project.
Architecture doesn’t come out with the same easy as you use your toilet!

So, to conclude, treat us with respect, if it were supposed to exist discounts applied to other professions, instead, all services were listed on bundles in your local supermarket!

I suspect people take this quote very seriously and don’t understand the in between lines of it interpretation.  

Architects work in two days. One is to respond precisely to a client’s needs or demands. Another is to look at what the client asks and reinterpret it.

Rem Koolhaas

image credits © jacoblund via Envato Elements

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