Where to find entrepreneurial architect

I'm not an architect, but I'm in a field (real estate brokerage) where my firm seems to generate a decent amount of referrals for architects. Unfortunately, there's only a handful of architects that seem to be proficient and experienced in designing small healthcare projects (at a reasonable cost) so we're generally referring business to the same few small shops and solos. The bigger firms don't seem to just charge a little more than the small shops, but orders of magnitude more so they're not great resources unless the projects become substantial. The slow guys are reasonable, but unfortunately they're all either slow, forgetful, or spread too thin.

I don't necessarily want to expand into architecture, but I would not be opposed to hooking up with one that would be willing to roll the dice and go out on their own. I could help generate business, perhaps take a small piece of the action while benefiting from bringing the extra service line in house to offer to clients. It also helps me get my deals done faster.

Now the question is....where would one be best suited to look if they were trying to find an entrepreneurial architect that was interested in hanging up their own shingle.  Any ideas? Is this a good resource or is there some other corner of the internet (or real world) where one should search and hope to find such an individual.

Feb 26, 21 11:59 am

Just keep hiring the firms you hire. They thank you, you get what you need, and you avoid looking like a greedy human looking to "vertically integrate" so you can get "leaner" and "increase profits."

Feb 26, 21 12:04 pm  · 
1  · 

I'll add to this by saying you should talk to the firms you are making referrals to currently and let them know your concerns. They may just need a little push to staff up a bit more and take on a little more work.

Feb 26, 21 12:14 pm  · 
4  · 

I agree with EA, a strategic partnership with someone you are currently working with would be good. If someone I knew came to me and said they were going to commit to doing repeat business with us, I would invest where necessary to make that happen. Not knowing future workload makes a lot of architecture firms hesitant to expand.

Feb 26, 21 4:42 pm  · 

where are you located?

Feb 26, 21 1:02 pm  · 
1  · 

Healthcare is a hard niche to court and single an architect out on its own. Having practiced in that field a little bit I can tell you that it is always a team effort behind the scenes. codes, constraints, coordination, documentation, and liability in healthcare work are all about as high as an architectural practice can get. Especially if you are getting into anything that touches government funding like VA work. But you probably know that.  I would be really worried about shouldering that responsibility by myself. There will be more entrepreneurial architects in say SFR because the significantly lower professional risks allow them to take greater business risks. How can you help buffer that risk for them? Can you hire a team? or rather than diversify your workload between multiple firms, approach your best and give them a sizeable retainer or ongoing fixed monthly consulting fee with the understanding that they are to prioritize your work? Take over a firm from an investment/stakeholder perspective. 

Feb 26, 21 1:32 pm  · 

not to be an ass, but what exactly is a "reasonable" cost?

obviously, as a client or speculator, as little as possible...

but surely that investor/owner role is willing to pay for quality services, given the nature of the facility cannot be compromised?

what are the core values in place for such a prospect?

Feb 26, 21 1:59 pm  · 

Also, because this comes up so much in commercial in general...what is in the deal for the architect providing services at a low cost?

To assume some risk (ie, compete on fee or doing work that isn't paid at rate for the time invested) there must be some larger reward even if it isn't in immediate & complete payment of services rendered?

Because that's really what happens as the services compete on fee...the project scope hasn't changed. The architect still has to accomplish the goal of documenting a permittable and successful building. The architect can do as little as possible to hit the lower fee, but the owner still wants the architect to do as much as possible to ensure quality.

I'm interested to hear a developer perspective on this. This isn't my world and the few times I've done small commercial; there's always pressure to charge less for the unchanged higher expectation of quality.

What's the "entrepreneurial" part that OP wants out of an architect?

Feb 26, 21 2:08 pm  · 
1  · 

> [What's the "entrepreneurial" part that OP wants out of an architect?]

A slice of at-cost, repeat business for which they put in next-to-no effort; same as any RE broker :/

Mar 2, 21 3:28 pm  · 

OP is gone; no entrepreneurs stepped up, i guess

Mar 2, 21 5:00 pm  · 
1  · 

in the big commercial brokerage world this is done - jll and others have architects on staff to do tenant fit outs. it's not a bad idea but it's probably hard to manage the workload effectively in a small shop.

Feb 26, 21 8:41 pm  · 

Can a firm like JLL or any non-architect corporation employ an architect for stamped drawings?  

In Michigan I believe this would not be permitted as the entity must be majority owned by the design professional to provide architectural services.  Not sure if this is common or not.

Mar 2, 21 10:40 am  · 

Yes, similar rules exist in many states. In these places the real estate broker will find an architect to stamp the plan they came up with for a pittance fee like 10 cents per square foot.

Mar 2, 21 10:57 am  · 
1  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: