How many projects does a self employed architect usually do a year?


I assume this varies but I genuinely have no idea. Does a self employed architect design 2 homes a year? 10 homes? Any ballpark estimate would be much appreciated!

Oct 17, 17 1:33 am

Regular year or leap year?

Oct 17, 17 3:04 am

Why limit oneself to homes?  I sure as hell wouldn't. Most would-be homeowners aren't willing to pay enough for an Architect's services.  

It all depends on how much work you pursue.  Putting out a sign and sitting back to wait won't get you very far.  

Oct 17, 17 8:04 am

my partner & I (no employees) sent invoices to 15 clients last month (all various sized projects of course, but somewhat of a representative month)

in 2016, we had 38 different clients (again, all various sized projects in different project stages)

Oct 17, 17 12:30 pm
On a related note, how do single proprietors generate new business? In addition to referrals, do you advertise? Competitions? What formats do you find most successful to bring in new clients?
Oct 17, 17 1:09 pm

befriend realtors and GC's. and landscapers.


Depends on your fees and level of detail of your output.  50 pieces of shit or 1-2 detailed projects sounds appropriate.    

Oct 17, 17 1:10 pm

1 or 2 well detailed houses and 4 or 5 shitshows. usually the shitshows are a combination of lazy gc's and "over-informed" owners. (read houzz addicts)


HOUZZ in the HOUZZ! Pinterest for Lyfe!


funny enough, we have had clients found us through houzz.


The well-detailed houses keep you sane. The shitshows keep the lights on.


This is a great question and has some great answers. 38 projects holy crap, I bet your insurance went thru the roof. I am still trying to get my gig going all I could get was a lot of phone calls and one project then I managed to get  job and things are just great. I love detailing healthcare projects at my job. I just finished a 90k sqft ft project focused primarily for memory care patients for Orlando health. It is funny how hard I worked on that project. I completed all of the interior specs on the projects in about 3 days. 87% of the interior specs were unfinished when I started, no explanation of what as happening just a drop and go. A intern filled me in on a lot of things but the architect in charge was out of the country. I finished the project and provided renderings and animations on other projects. It has been so fun and I have been studying on getting a contractor's license, working on getting my building designer certification, CDT for design single family residences on the side, real estate development, which is getting to me to think about how to finance a project and not just ask for one, and a host of other things.

Oct 18, 17 8:41 pm
Non Sequitur

interior specs?


The project was broken into different areas for memory care, hospice, and patient rooms public bathrooms and T/S toilet shower. Each one has a certain pattern of materials such as T-01 is a kind of tile and I want it in the middle of the wall while Ti-02 is for lets say the base boards. .....They were IE's 9 pages of them....I had to familiarize myself with the project and learn all of the interior specifications which were done in advance by the Architect in charge...who was out of the country. I am the only person in the office who can handle Revit and was just given the task and I blew it out of the water. Truth be told when she came back she redlined the hell out of are very pleased with me I have worked very hard. I worked on a small project and I had all the architectural and structural plans and details modeled in a matter of days. I was commended and told I was the best they have hired in a very long time.


My god I forgot I am in architecture school too....... ;)

Oct 18, 17 8:55 pm

I am a part-timer but in 2017 so far, I have worked on 9 projects, all of them are renovations or partial projects, not ground-up new. In 2016, I worked on 34, also as a part-timer and again none were ground-up new except for a few TI's. Many in 2016 were pretty small, like a to-go counter inside an existing restaurant which took like 2 hours total. Some projects, even small ones, last for years and can stop and start a lot. The projects in 2017 were much larger. 

Oct 19, 17 9:50 am

It really depends on you. You also have to consider how you can balance or work on these projects altogether. The first year I did freelance, I did about 15 projects, 5 of which, delivered from design to construction, got constructed within the year, while about two-three finished the following year (and some still hanging), while the rest remained on paper. It burned me out, not to mention having to deal with client attitude, so the following year I decided I'll work on the on-going ones, then the next few years I decided to cut down and just work on 5 at max in a year. I guess I got lucky to be able to work on larger ones (like commercial) that was enough to last me a year along with a few small ones. The stress was lesser. Work on what you can manage your time with that still allows you to have a life. Remember, quality over quantity. Also, no project is the same. In one project, you could be only doing drawings. On the other, you could only be doing project management. On the other, you could be doing both plus more! So know how or learn to forecast the progression of your projects. If you think this project won't move on to the next, then maybe you can have extra time to work on another. Also, it helps to set or know how much you'd want to earn from a project given the scope of work or the parameters of what you're going to be doing. Like say you're paying a loan or something, and you need to earn this much to be able to get by until end of the year. Something like that. More importantly, work to live. Not live to work. Make sure you're rewarding yourself with every project or after a year's worth of work. You earned it.

Oct 19, 17 10:14 am
won and done williams

This is an interesting question. I average between 2-4 projects per year with annual revenue between $150,000-$250,000. I would be interested to hear # of projects versus revenue from others.

The biggest issue I have with taking on more projects is the amount of administrative overhead associated with each new project. A $5,000-$10,000 fee is generally not worth my time. I do all my own accounting/invoicing, and I hate it, so try to stay as lean as possible.

Oct 19, 17 10:31 am

Wow won and done

  I was working on a 65 million dollar project with the Orlando Health project. I am currently working on a medical/office building, about 10k sqft. I got to go thru my own little code verification and all with it being mixed occupancy. I learn a lot with great professionals who test my abilities to create architecture in a complete 3d environment. We got so detailed that we even modeled a 3/8" caulking for a window...3/4 chamfer to a 3/8" caulking then a window in Revit. Time concerns are stopping us from going further.....into animations in such. We mostly do tilt up construction. My boss is hurrying us to get Lucerne out by tomorrow. Architecture is hard, dead lines are tough, clients will be emailing people saying lets go.

 I am really trying to get some side work going and willing to give to get going. Any residential architects with too much work? I would love to take some of someone's work load being at a reduced"Internship towards financial freedom" type deal. Only residential, I would like to stay focused on health care and residential architecture. I did a project with a Levon Hodges on a 3k sqft private residence. I drafted, rendered, and animated the project for free.


Oct 19, 17 7:33 pm
Non Sequitur

I cannot imagine any situation where caulking needs to be modeled.


Well there is a call out for a window that will show the front of the window. This callout will have a good extent of detail. It is better to have it in the model so that the 3d model is completely ready to be cut into sections and which ever callouts. I want to use as less detail lines as possible. I want a complete model BIM has many advantages as well as disadvantages. For example if you move a wall it can freak out on you because the wall is connected to dimensions and walls are connected and such. All you have to do is right clock the blue grip and click disallow join.

2 every full moon and 5 for a total eclipse.
Oct 21, 17 1:13 pm

Our goal is to have fewer projects and clients but increase the scope of work on those projects i.e. Planning and land acquisition / subdivision  / architecture and landscape design on the multiple parcels created at subdivision.  Having a few great clients is much easier on the books and accounting rather having 40-50 clients all pulling you in different directions.  Every project is an increase in liability too and another chance to not get paid ( oh joy!) Therefore we pick a choose out clients to suit our interests and work flow but little fussy projects in my opinion always become the problem projects that can take down the whole office vibe and suck the life out of the job!

Oct 11, 18 5:38 pm

I wouldn't recommend more than 2 concurrent/simultaneous projects at a time per designer/architect. You can certainly optimize the workflow pipeline but in any given week you shouldn't be monkeying with more than two projects per designer. Of course, you could argue full-time project teams as well. This way, each designer or project team is putting some meaningful amount of hours per project. The total number of concurrent projects a firm works on would be kind of dependent on number of dedicated project teams, the scope of work and other factors. It is a suggestion because whether you are an architect or unlicensed building designer, it is relatively true that you wouldn't want to over run how much you can sensibly manage concurrently. If you got too many projects on your plate, you might end up not getting anything done. I'm with whistler on his points above.


Thanks Rick, the salient point, which Rick pointed out is having too many projects where all you do is jump from one crisis to another and really don't get anything meaningful done.  I serve as the filter for the office and either restrict the work on projects, don't accept them or delay them according to what needs and can be delivered.  Helps to have clients who respect that approach.

Oct 11, 18 6:07 pm

It is a lesson I learned and sometimes have to keep relearning because one sometimes let himself put too much on his plate. It's better for life to not over-commit. 

A lesson we can often struggle with is saying "no" so you can manage what you have already on your plate because even with one or two projects concurrently or simultaneously happening each work week can be enough crisis to manage at a time. (To make clear for those who want or need to learn to manage their work load) I commend whistler for being the filter for the office of his firm.


More than dozen

Oct 12, 18 2:17 am

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