I'm referring to the familiar situation of a small architectural office, starving for work, willing to slash their proposal price at the request of the client because it's either work for a truncated fee, or don't work at all. We're working for less money because we're little bitches and are afraid to say no or stand or ground.
The architect/owner marketing for his small firm, calling everyone he knows to say hi and of course slip in "by the way we're looking for work, so if you know anyone with a job give us a call." When they hang up the phone they're thinking, "What a little bitch, indirectly begging his whole network for work."
The 2 hour long calls with the client value-engineering out every single design feature and aesthetically pleasing material on a project. At the end you're left with a monotone box. I showed you my portfolio of attractive projects for what reason?? Fuckhead!!
We'll accept a job doing CD's/working drawings for a project that's already had the schematic design finished by someone else. The owner is obviously shopping around for the cheapest architect (read: draftsman) to complete it, and by accepting we've categorized ourselves as the 'little' bitch' in the situation. We need the money and the work so we'll do it.
A client will come to us with a catalog-bought house plan and ask us how cheap it will be to get a permit to build this house. IT has no details, wall sections, framing plans, finishes, nothing. This house has been built hundreds or thousands of times! This isn't a custom house you cheap fucking bastard!! It's like going to Target and buying Micheal Graves' shit and calling your bathroom designer.
We go to school for fucking 5 years, get what's labeled as a 'professional degree' and then make 30 thousand dollars a year after that while engineers with 4 year degrees are in the $50 thousands. I spent 72 hours straight in the arch lab during school for what? FUCK YOU pay me!! BARTENDERS make more than us!!
I had to vent. But seriously, this is a very common situation in our practice. Let's start developing our own work and becoming our own clients. Let's finally have the balls to take a shot at designing a project, then BUILDING it, then selling or leasing what we've put together. Let's stop pointing the finger at our structural or MEP subs or contractor because of a fuckup, and start taking responsibility and putting this whole thing together ourselves.
Fuck a client. Do it yourself. We can drive past a site that's dilapidated or not used as it could be an envision a better building. Buy it, draw it, build it, lease/sell it.
-Can't afford it? Find investors you little whiny shit. If it's worth it in the first place and will be profitable, you'll find people with money. Learn how to put together an accurate proforma. Don't know what that is? Google it and buy some Donald Trump/Real Estate books. Learn about construction loans, cap rates, tax shelters, etc. Become educated.
-Don't want to build it? Get on the bluebook and find subs for each trade, maybe do some drywall and painting or flooring and guess what, you just cut out 20%+ of the construction cost, making it profitable sooner and you wealthier. Stop being lazy. We knew how this building goes together because we drew it, why can't we build it in the field? Become confident and empowered.
-Afraid it won't sell or lease? Do your damn market research beforehand. Know an area like the back of your hand. Talk to realtors. Visit open houses. Study sales, comps, lease rates. Pretend you're a business looking to lease a place and ask the property managers the costs. Become educated.
Some guys who are doing this. Study, learn, imitate:
Ayr Hill Homes (local to me in Vienna, VA)
Reigo & Bauer
Skylab Design Group
(any others comment/email me I''ll add you)