Three Ways for Architects to Improve Their Salary

Whether you are starting your career or have been in the profession for years already, you have probably thought about trying to improve the amount of fruits for your labor. Well we are here to help you out!

Many times architects believe that the only source of income is by trading your design time for money, but many architects do not consider how they become Archi-preneurs and take advantage of opportunities that a normal architect would not notice. You can utilize your skills as an architect in a ton of different ways, all you have to do is think about how you can apply your skillset properly.

When you are working in a profession and firm that you love working for, your only return is not only monetary, but it is also about the satisfaction and the freedom that other business models provide you with.

1. Become a Developer, as well as an Architect

You can instead compete with developers and take your ‘eye’ for architecture and apply it to the real estate development space. Many times architects do not realize the opportunities they have, considering many times their positions are dependent on collaboration between many different parts of the firm.

Architects who understand their value and who try to get a compensation proportional to the value for the developer over time they can make much more money in comparison to their counterparts that do not take the risk. If you are the developer you get to have more control over where the profits go and how they are reinvested!

Not only this, but it has a proven positive track record of helping architects find their independence in their career and win more money than they anticipated.

You should always try to create a stable flow of predictable cashflow by renting out the different spaces that you help renovate or create. Yet you must have the patience to take the initial risk and work through the first hard and rather unprofitable years in the beginning, but such is the life of an entrepreneur.

Architects have an advantage because they know how to design and transform buildings, how to turn ideas into projects, estimate renovation costs, and manage and follow up with contractors. Architects are also good at estimating the true value of a property and at analyzing the transformation potential.

The main challenge is the cost of starting the endeavor and putting down the initial investment! It may make more sense to save up enough money to give you the runway for takeoff.

2. Create a whole product with your services

One of the key challenges of starting your own business, especially in architecture, is the difficulty to structure and streamline the services offered. Many times the client clearly is going to want you to do what they want you to do with their new space that you are creating. Each client also has their own very specific wishes, payment terms, communication channels, issue tracking system, and material preferences.

In the end, maybe only 50% of your time is really billable, the other 50% is spent on overhead, and all of the extra time spent to get the project completed.

In typical service business models, you are trying to reinvent the wheel with every new client or project.

By having the word “products” in the main menu of your website, you are creating a pre-mindset for future clients. This communicates to prospective clients that they are about to buy a product, and not a service.

At first it may be difficult to come up with ideas on what part of your business you could turn into a product. Just keep your eyes open and look for possible ways of turning your services into products.

On the one hand, this variety is what makes architecture interesting and challenging, on the other hand this often causes overhead, stress and results in (much) less profitable businesses.

You need to create and define your “package of products”, you need to list the benefits for the client, package it on your website or in a brochure, come up with a price tag and maybe you need some weeks or months to really build the product itself.

Over time, you will more or less be able to predict how many packages you sell on average per month, what your future workload will look like, cashflow will become predictable and stable, and planning should be more under control.

3. Turning ideas into products

While “productized services” are a hybrid between a classical service business and a product, this third topic is about the real product which you create once and then you market and sell it as many times as possible with little to no extra cost.

Once your product exists, is known to the public and generally is considered to be “good”, then you can sell millions of copies of it, and literally print money.

Writing a book for example: you write it once and you could sell it in an automated way to an unlimited number of people. Each extra copy you sell does not require any extra work. You could go out for a drink on a Friday evening, and wake up Saturday morning with more money on your bank account.

When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-USand improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.


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