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Pointers for Starting Your First Architectural Business

Straight out of college, you landed a job with a commercial building contractor in Fort Wayne. Six months into the job, and you already handled seven projects. That’s more than one project each month.

Your father was an architect, and you followed into his footsteps. You’re enjoying it so far, your company and the work. You have great colleagues, and the task is genuinely challenging. Your father remained employed for the rest of his professional career until he passed away about three years ago. You have other plans.

You want to learn as much as you can from your current employment. Get to the different players in the business at least by name and have an understanding of the current trends and the requirements in the industry. But ultimately, you want to put up your own start-up company. You’d like to start small and offer architectural drafting service. You know the technical side of things but little understanding of the business side of it. So how does one do it?

An Overview of the Architectural Industry

The broader architectural industry has generated a total revenue of $46 billion as of July 2019 in America. Growth has been relatively stable at 4.1% annually for the past five years. Businesses are thriving too wit a total of just below 71,600.

Also, the US has spent nearly $1.3 trillion in the construction market as of July 2019, according to Statista. Even with just the drafting business, it does seem to be a pretty robust market to be in.

Starting the Drafting

With the number of projects alone that you’ve handled, drafting multiple plans for construction projects, you understand the potential of the business. Here are a few more things you need to consider:


  1. No more T-squares. Long gone are the days when drafters would have to rely on T-squares when drawing up plans.  These days, it’s all about rendering designs using the computer. This should be one of the first items on your long list. Consider if you can get at least two units so that you can handle drafting two projects at the same time. You need a high-powered machine with a dedicated graphics card, which can run the best 3D design software in the business.
  2. Choosing the market. Like your current firm, will you go commercial or provide your services to residential customers? There’s also the landscaping aspect. Your ongoing experience will serve as useful insights on which market to engage better.
  3. Competitors. Check your area and find out if there are similar services around already. Investigate the size of their business, find out customer’s feedback about your competitor’s services.  Your goal is to gain insights about best practices and not to obliterate the competition.
  4. Recruit the best people. Look for people who share your passion and who can really perform at the top level and can always seal a good deal for the company.
  5. Network. This is where you leverage the contacts and acquaintances you’ve gained from your current employer. When you’re on your own, make sure you reconnect and invite them for a quick catch-up chat and then ever so slightly segue into talking about your new venture.

Your business plan has to be in place. You will make a marketing plan. There’s plenty more to do. But this shortlist will help you start.

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