Tag Archives: professional practice

What’s with percentage fees?

I’ve been thinking a lot about fees lately.
A couple of reasons (apart from needing money to pay for childcare):

  1. 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
  2. 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:

  1. How do you ensure adequate fees for small (ie low budget) projects?
  2. How do you ensure clients their budgets are not being ‘blown out’ for the sake of more fees (or appear this way)?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

 

 

 

Moral Rights PART II

The purpose of the previous post was not to say ‘Oh well, missed out this time around, I’ve learned my lesson, next time I’ll make sure I talk to my client about moral rights, it won’t happen again’.

While I was composing the post I was also in contact with my client and Alice Blackwood, the writer of the article.

To Alice it began with a tweet reply to a photo she had posted of the space:

@aliceblackwood bit slow on the pick up but unhappy not to be credited for my design work here 😦

A bit lame in retrospect, but I was treading cautiously and nervously – unsure how best to approach her, unsure about whether I was over-reacting or not.

However once it was put out there my concerns were almost immediately addressed by Alice.

We ended the day of back and forth messages and emails with a phone call discussing issues of attribution and how this is particular rife in the more fickle retail design sector, how we could explore the topic in more detail in a further article, online vs print publication and when we could meet for a coffee to talk about all of this and my work as well.

Oh and with regard to the article, it was an oversight that can easily be amended.

It’s funny, I have spoken with many architect friends about this. They often have their own story to tell, how they were pissed off but didn’t do anything about it.  Or they retell the story of someone they know and how they can’t believe it happened.  Or they just complain about us being ‘too polite’ not ‘fierce’ enough as individuals and as a profession.

It could also be that not being credited makes us feel like we have failed, and no one wants to talk about that, right?

Moral of the story of Moral Rights:
Question the omission – it is more than likely an oversight or error.  The beauty of on-line content is that it can be easily fixed.
And remember to have that conversation with your client!

Share your story and/or follow up on that incident that’s been eating away at you and let me know how you go.

Clients and where to find them

For a while now, I have been meaning to do a post on projects in progress

and I will,

when I come up for air.

But none of these PiPs (projects in progress) would be possible if there weren’t clients.

So where do they come from?

Last week I was at Officeworks printing some drawings for a current project and started chatting with the woman at the counter next to me.

‘Ohhhh, that’s a big block’, she said, glancing over, ‘where is that?’

Within 30 seconds we had established that she was looking to buy a block of land in the Dandenongs, that I was an architect, and that maybe fate had brought us together.  Maybe it had…

But while I’m waiting, let’s look at the origins of my clients this year:

  1. W+E Shoe Gallery (see earlier post) – partner delivered the mail to her old shop
  2. Living Cubed – referral from old business partner
  3. Inside Henry – friend of a friend
  4. Hornby of Plenty – friend of a friend (Same friend as 3. She has lots of friends)
  5. Cranked Macedon – contact via Architours Andy
  6. Thornbury Three – contact via Architours Esther
  7. Blazey of Glory (BoG) – follow on from 6.

So the moral of this short tale:

Smile and talk to the person next to you

>>>do this anyway<<<

Opportunities are all around you

If you are not out there you may not see them.

Link

Nesting Ground Stories

The reason I have not posted to my blog over the past month is clearly because I was busy writing this for Nesting Ground…

Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

 

Click title above to read

(That may be totally obvious to you but as this is the first time I have posted a link in this way I wasn’t sure myself so thought I’d just mention it in case)