Fee Versus the Amount of Time Client Talks

Senor Drunk Archinector

When speaking with a potential client when do the voices in your head say "RUN"?

Scenario 1 - Today: 

Standing over her open trash can in the kitchen, lid just flipped up like it don't give a damn... with her teenage son bumbling around bouncing off walls while Papa lays on the couch with some health ailment, I wondered "Do I really want this job?"  She carried on and on and at some point as I stared her in the eyes my brain went "Add $1,000 man, not worth it."  She kept talking.  Brain said "OK, just try to find a way out of here."  

Then she said sit.  I did, as I had to witness Papa shake his belly due to health ailment.  She sits on the dining chair with feet up, nice sexy girl knee pose (but she not sexy), kicks off her shoes, eventually starts picking her toes...I can see the oven clock in the background and think, 5 more minutes and you are free my friend...25 Minutes later "Its not a load bearing wall and the kitchen would look great!"  Was she really picking her toes 25 minutes ago while giving me a sexy smile.  I can't make sense of this.  At least $5,000 fee?

"Ma'am, you don't need an architect for this."

Home addition, kitchen expansion, USA, how much I charge for this client?

Scenario 2 - 3 years ago:

Divorced investment banker with no friends spends 3 hours reviewing your fee proposal while you as an architect are on vacation...3 years later, should of added a fuckin' 0 mang!!!


Your scenarios and how you fee adjust, please?

May 16, 19 10:48 pm
Non Sequitur

Whoa... who resurrected this long lost poster?

welcome back, Sir Arthur Braagadocio.

May 16, 19 11:02 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

my friend NS, the Chinese did, they resurrect!

Stories please, I can't take this business anymore, I pay $50+/- for  a lead to walk someone through a HGTV personal selfie series live moment! WTF....

Spent 2 hours the other weekend pre 4pack of serious Troegs beer nearly knocking my wife up again (no baby though)...was telling someone how to design their house, so I added $1,000 to my estimate and they asked why, I said "You are too involved, this means I have to work more!"

There is something in the mathematical relation of "client talking on design" = "fee increase from architect"

Trying to figure factor!

Canadian help appreciated ;)

May 16, 19 11:21 pm

50$ leads? What service?

Senor Drunk Archinector

HomeAdvisor...I have a 4.82 rating out of 5 yo!

Clients are the scourge of the profession.

May 17, 19 9:16 am

Lol. There we agree


Nice of you to make an appearance. Be more selective about clients, now is the time to do so. Don't pay for leads! Have the third kid! 

May 17, 19 10:19 am

hourly - i got all day (at least until 5.30, but we can pick it up at 8.30a tomorrow)

if it's still not worth it, cut to the chase and ask what the budget is & estimate that the project will take at least double (quintuple, whatever) their current budget & say "I want us both to have realistic expectations & currently your budget is not sufficient to do the scope & level of work you expect"

May 17, 19 4:06 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector


Non Sequitur

Canadian help is only worth 70% tho due to the exchange. I can offer you some snow fort building tool. Maybe that’ll fit your client’s reduced budget. 

May 17, 19 5:19 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

I'll formulate the question differently (archinect is good for teaching the kids from us older dude's mistakes)

Fee is $10k, what percentage to adjust fee based on sentences from prospective clients:

1. "I always want to be an architect." - +10%, +50%, double your fee?

2. "I want turn key, A-Z, nut and bolts.  I can't read drawings, I'm sure you know what you're doing, but will need you to explain it to me so I can understand." - -20%, 0%, +50%

3. "We really like Chip and Joane, did you ever see the episode where they did the all black house with a concrete fire place?" - 25%, 0%, +25%, Run?

4. "Sorry I missed your call, I don't pick-up random phone numbers because I have a stalker." - meet them, never call them

5. "I used to be an architect and I'm teaching my wife how to design." then you have a conversation with them and realize they respect other architects. - 0%, -25%

6. "I have vision." but the client clearly doesn't.  +50%,. Double fee, Triple fee?

7."Oh our neighbors father is a Starchitect but they have no time for this job." Free service, Standard Fee, Double fee?

[all true scenarios I've taken on, names have been changed to protect the innocent]

May 18, 19 2:41 pm

How about...”we already pretty much know exactly what we want” ?

Senor Drunk Archinector

that one drove me to drinking man because they said that and didn't...

Senor Drunk Archinector

200% based on experience



“The fee is to high. I’m a developer and I’m going to build this for half what it costs anyone else.”

“We like this, this, and this (from pile of  decorator magazines). Just make it look like that.”

“I have friends in publishing, when this is done I’ll make you famous.”

“My kid is in architecture school, your job will be to stamp their plans and oversee the construction.”

“This is the first of many development projects. Cut me a good deal now and you will be well-rewarded on the next one.”

“We're going to pick all the interior finishes ourselves, you’re not going to get a fee on that.”

“We don’t need details, my brother-in-law is going to be the builder.”

The Dream House Plot: a subtle manipulation to get extras for free or at large discount because the clients love everything so much. The minute the project is finished it is listed for sale.

May 18, 19 3:18 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

can I get some numbers next to that please.

Just keep raising the fee until they go away.


“This is the first of many development projects. Cut me a good deal now and you will be well-rewarded on the next one.” lol!! so far only once to pan out after hearing it 5x's in my career


"that much?!? ...we just want some blueprints...!"

May 19, 19 4:25 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

yup, the other night dude said - "I can't afford you/


Run, just run and don't look back


"I just need something for permit.  I plan to do a lot of the work myself, and I'll just change what I don't like as I'm doing it.  I don't think it looks that hard."

"You really don't need to do much because you can just use my drawings" says the client as he hands you a disk from his $30.00 home design program.

May 19, 19 7:40 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

I need numbers bruh.


I imagine a guy walking into a doctor's office and saying, 'just need you to handle the slice and dice part, I got a buddy that can take care of anesthesia, closing up after surgery, and meds afterwards. Can I get a price just for the actual surgery part? Should be minimal time. I was thinking like half hour, hour tops.'

atelier nobody

I developed contract language and a big fat disclaimer for the cover sheet of the drawings to limit my liability on a "just for permit" set, but even for that I priced myself out of the market by asking for 5% of construction value, with a minimum of $3,500.


Typically I structure the contract so its lump sum to get enough for a permit, then hourly for the hand holding after enough for a permit


the actual surgery part?

May 21, 19 8:41 am

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