The Power of the “Profit First” Culture in Architecture

We architects have deeply rooted positive passion for what we do.

As artists we love to manipulate form and space, in order to impact the lives of others. We are thrilled every time we walk through one of our structures. Our fuel is the excitement and emotional reaction that others have for our art. We love being architects. We are making the world a better place with every new project and we would do it for free if we could.

…and that, right there may be our biggest problem. We would do it for free if we could.

The Starving Artist

When it comes to money and the thought of having to charge for what we do, we squirm in our seats. We become very uncomfortable. We feel an underlying sense of guilt for charging for the art that we love to create.

Intellectually, we know that we need to charge. This is our profession. This is our livelihood. This is what feeds our families.

We’ve read the EntreArchitect blog and listened to the podcast. We know that we must be profitable. We have learned, and we seek assistance for understanding how much we need to charge. We may even perform the calculations explained in the free EntreArchitect Profit Course and discover the amounts of revenue needed to flow into our firms in order to be profitable.

But knowing this number, we wonder if we are really worth that much.

Will our clients pay that amount? Do they see the value in what we do, to the extent that they will be willing to pay the amount that the calculations say we need? How little can we charge, so we don’t feel guilty for sending that invoice?

Does this describe you, or someone you know?

Every week, I speak with architects who feel this way. Don’t worry. You are not alone. The culture of the Starving Artist is alive and well and it pervades our profession. We have been trained to be artists, not entrepreneurs… and that must change.

The Power of the Profit First Culture

We must shift our mindset from “starving artist” to “profit first”. Remember this… Profit, then Art.

As a small firm entrepreneur architect, profit makes everything better. Profit allows us to do our best work. Profit allows us to serve our clients better. Profit allows us to give more. Profit allows is to pursue our passion and make more art.

The greatest architecture in the world is created by profitable architecture firms.

Our art is the result of our ideas and inspiration. It’s based on our years of education, experience and knowledge. Others cannot do what we do. Architecture is not a commodity. We don’t sell rolls of paper and ink. We sell a healthy home, a productive workspace or a safe place to shop and play.

Raise your fee on your next proposal.

Then raise it again on the proposal following that. Continue to incrementally raise your fee until you meet the resistance of the market. You are worth every penny that your clients are willing to pay you.

It is Our Responsibility to Make More Money

It’s our responsibility to embrace the power of the “profit first” culture for our firms.

It’s our responsibility to ourselves as artists and entrepreneurs; as architects and firm owners. It’s our responsibility to our teams, our families and our profession. It’s even our responsibility to our clients. When compensated properly, we are empowered to perform our best work and provide our best service. When we embrace the power of the “profit first” culture, we can be better architects.

Raise your fee and feel the power of the “profit first” culture at YOUR architecture firm.

Question: Profit First or Starving Artist?

Photo Credit: Pixabay / EdiNugraha