business advice


Hi all,

So I am currently working for a firm full time but recently got my license and started my own LLC. I am taking on small jobs,  home additions, tenant fit outs ect in order to get my feet wet and feel things out. I made connections with a local builder who specializes in modular houses. The designs are garbage but I am still interested non the less from a business standpoint. 

So onto my question. The builder gets sealed drawings from the modular construction company along with signed and sealed foundation drawings. He has a professional survey done of the property and wants me to put together a single sheet, referencing the survey, showing the proposed area of work, set backs ect.. along with a zoning table showing that everything complies. Seems simple enough. Question 1: what is a typical fee I should charge for this? Question 2: if he uses his own title block but I am referenced as the architect, is there any legal issues? again the plans and foundation are done by a third party and I am not taking any liability for that. I am just starting out do not want to jeopardize my license.

Thanks for the advice!

Nov 14, 17 2:45 pm
won and done williams

1. How long will it take you to complete? Multiply that times your hourly rate.

2. Sounds like you are submitting plans for site plan review. Check with the jurisdiction if the drawings need to be signed/sealed. Anytime you create a drawing you are assuming liability.

Nov 14, 17 3:43 pm  · 

Wouldn't you want to start with including any overheads (insurance, non-existing draftsman, etc.....) then probably a base fee? Did you set up a basic hourly fee for yourself? Sounds like it should take 2 8hr days ( 1 day really) and maybe adding an extra day for profit. And extra for liability for stamping any work that you didn't verify or having to rely on the quality of the drawings provided by the contractor. 

Don't think there's any liability issues beside the fact you are liable for anything that wasn't stamp and for coordination issues (ex. Proposed area  encroaching into any setbacks or easements).

I'm not licensed yet so giving my 2 cents. 

Nov 14, 17 4:08 pm  · 

If it takes you 3 days to do the work in question, you'll never get any work.

This shouldnt take more than half a day, 6 hours if youre slow.  Nevertheless, you'll need to know what your costs/liability are


so basically you are doing an arch site plan & regulating criteria chart?  something like this I would typically charge 1.5 of my office billable rate. digging out zoning info, landscape req, covenants, neighborhood association's..etc can easily eat up 6-7hrs(unless you are working constantly in same municipality) then getting it drafted up usually take 2-3 times the time you think it will take. then quality control, i usually check my work at least 3-4 times min. easy 20hrs of work there alone.

Nov 14, 17 6:03 pm  · 

Thanks for talking some sense into me. I always fool myself by thinking I'll bang them out quick. I'm thinking around $800 - $1,200. 

Nov 14, 17 9:15 pm  · 

Ive no problem with the rate, but you cant take three days. This is a 1day project, max. $800-1000, depending.


You need to add a line somewhere in your contract that you get paid extra if one of these things gets kicked back by the plan reviewer through no fault of own and you have to go meet with them or appear at a public hearing. Both can be big time sucks and burn up your small fee.


Can someone tell me where I can draw up documents for my business?

Jul 8, 20 2:49 pm  · 


The answer to the title block question is going to vary from state to state.  It wouldn't hurt to contact the state board in the location of the project for guidance. 

Jul 8, 20 3:45 pm  · 

it doesn't matter whose title block you use. If you use your seal and you're listed as the architect, you're liable. The risk is probably relatively low, since you have nothing to do with the actual foundations or modular home. But it is your responsibility to make sure that the information you are putting on that sheet is accurate. It sounds like it's just an architectural site plan that shows zoning compliance. I agree with the above responses, provided the survey and/or plat is given to you, it's a half-day exercise. If you are sealing anything, you should have liability and E&O insurance. Check your state requirements. Also, make sure you are not using your day job's equipment and software to perform these side gigs and that they allow "moonlighting". That could get you in trouble. I suggest you read up on liability and contracts, and the downside risks of many "standard" contract clauses, as well as downside risk of omitted contract clauses. You don't know what and how much you don't know until you are faced with the consequences. Good luck.

Jul 27, 20 8:56 pm  · 

Be careful about preparing the quick drawing to assist with organizing the entire package,  you could be rolled into the role of coordinating the entire build??? so then your work is not just the hourly rate of preparing the drawing and more like the impact of coordinating the build which if things go side ways can cost you much more than the quick $800 you made to make the drawings.  

I stay away from that simple cash flow kind of work, no value to the office, not fun, and doesn't reflect on what your career aspirations are... but maybe they are????

Jul 28, 20 2:43 pm  · 

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