I’ve been thinking a lot about fees lately.
A couple of reasons (apart from needing money to pay for childcare):
- I have a great relationship with a number of clients who are paying me hourly. I find this method of payment lends itself to an open and collaborative process where on one side the client’s wants and needs are being prioritised and on the other side I am being paid for each hour I work…win/win
- I have a deteriorating relationship with a consultant – where I am on the other side – and feel taken advantage of by an exorbitant hourly rate…lose/lose
So is an hourly rate a better way to charge for architectural services than a percentage fee?
To clarify in case any non-architect reads this post, a percentage fee refers to a fee for architectural services that is tied to the construction cost (or estimated construction cost or client’s budget or some even vaguer idea).
Some of the recurring questions that arise with percentage fees on projects:
- How do you ensure adequate fees for small (ie low budget) projects?
- How do you ensure clients their budgets are not being ‘blown out’ for the sake of more fees (or appear this way)?
- How, if the budget does increase, do you tell your client ‘it’s not my fault and btw you need to pay me more’ without it looking like 2.
- How do you encourage more people to explore architectural ideas and potential (with an architect) without the need to commit to a full architectural service?
It is this last point where I believe there is so much work for architects. We can actually provide a meaningful service that may not be about an end product (or a photo of an end product). The idea you have to commit to an architect (and an architectural project) after one meeting is like getting married after a one night stand…
Ummm I might stop with that analogy at this point, it doesn’t really translate to the whole hourly rate argument as well as I had hoped.
Hourly rates are good.