Understanding the Scope of Architecture
Architecture is one field that is taken as one of the most creative professions throughout the service industry. According to a publication by The Street, multiple online job platforms conducted surveys only to find that the average salary of an architect in US ranges from as low as $5,000 to as high as $11,000 per month.
Although a number of factors affect the variation in the salary, but overall the field of architecture rests as one of the top paid professions regardless.
Whether you are a freelancer or have a proper company setup, like any other profession, being an architect you can take multiple measures to expand your earning scope.
Just as a mere figurative artwork can be swiftly turned into a live masterpiece by you, with persistent efforts in the right direction, you can definitely start earning six figures right away!
Top 8 Ways to Boost Your Earning Starting Today!
According to Investopedia, the professional demand of an architect is expected to increase up to 8% by the year 2028. Looking at the potential of the scope in this profession, I have brought together some pointers to guide you on how to increase your annual income starting today!
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1. Focus on Moving to Strategic Locations
According to Forbes, location has a greater impact on what the architect earns annually. Although, it is true that the value of an architect is weighed by the quality of work he delivers; but on the other hand, it makes sense to move to a location where the number of well paid potential opportunities outweighs the quantity of work otherwise.
Take a look at this table to understand the concept. This table, based on information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2019, shows the variation of the income per state. It will help you understand the dynamics of geographic business strategy.
|State||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||$100,770|
2. Reconsider You Service Fees
If you look deeply, the architects who are earning more than you are simply doing so by raising their rates. The rate cards play an important role in setting a brand impression. Similar services can simply be charged higher with a better designed portfolio, featuring impressive add-ons, all of this supported by a great customer service.
Here is a video about how to create the perfect portfolio to support your higher rates.
Follow the highly paid architects online and find out what they have to offer that you currently do not have on your service list. Upgrade and confidently pitch on higher rates.
Of course, with higher rates, you’ll need the creativity and designs to match. Once you make a single deal worth the money made with 3 deals, you will have a relatively relaxed mind to focus more on quality rather than quantity.
3. Consider Specializing in a Non-Competitive Field
Consider doing projects that don’t sound as interesting or are a niche that doesn’t have much competition or saturation. There are many categories in the field of architecture, ranging from residential architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, all the way to industrial architecture, that you can pursue.
Even within these fields are potential work openings that require a separate service and creative ability. List down what you are capable of and check all the places that you are continuing to apply to in the market.
An example of this can be doing industrial facility projects. This isn’t something you hear every day and for most architects, this can be quite a dull field. Since most architects aren’t interested in it, it means this field is devoid of competition and there is a possibility of earning more money here than you would in any other field.
4. Establish Value-Added Services
When a project starts to come together, a lot of minor detailing needs to be filled in. Where some clients bring in their on vendors and contractors, other may leave this to you. It’s the perfect opportunity to make exclusive service or fittings packages for clients – earning a % of every task you outsource on your own.
Here are some examples of add-on services that you can charge extra for without going out of your way:
- Buy and sell of fixtures and fittings
- Project waste disposal or repurposing strategy for the user
- Marketing services for the sales or rent of the project on a commission basis
- Attaching digital exposure with the project; such as development of website or a social page etc.
- Offering periodical maintenance services
- Offering consultancy on interior design and setup
- Offer landscaping services
- Offering real estate management softwares for investors
- Offering customized furnishing services
- Offering customized office spaces (of course paid) – apart from the original design – just to add to your portfolio.
5. Start Your Own Business
Launching a proper business setup is a big risk and it’s no different for an architect. However, this is being suggested because what gets offered to a freelancer or individual contractor is always less that what gets offered to a company or a brand consultant.
Plan your business keeping in mind the potential niche that will help you earn more money as an architectural firm. If there’s a field of architecture that is gaining popularity, try to catapult your business into that direction.
Watch these videos to find out more about how to setup your architectural business and get more clients:
Strategize your practice around a more profitable business niche and you will be good to go!
6. Create a Side-Hustle
As an architect, you’re not just limited to the obvious services that you can provide, you can also look into secondary jobs that will help you in earning more money. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds and with architecture being one of the trendiest engineering jobs, there’s no limit to the options you can consider.
- Write an E-Book
Becoming an architect is no joke; it takes years of practice, qualifications, and learned skills to become a competent architect. Gather all that experience and compile that information into an e-book that can help novice understand the profession and practice better.
You can write about any niche of architecture, one that you preferably have experience in. Examples of these are planning, design, BIM, research, industrial, etc.
There are many advantages of writing an e-book as well like:
- Low-risk factor
- Minimal investment cost
- You’re writing something you have knowledge about so it won’t take you too long to write
Besides that, if your e-book sells well, you can even jump into a periodical teaching position and get better job opportunities through a well-selling book.
- Start a YouTube Channel
Most people don’t prefer to read, they like to learn through videos instead. You also might often turn to YouTube when you have a problem or want an easy solution to a problem, right?
It’s not difficult to start a popular YouTube channel either, you’ll just need a decent camera in a phone, some editing skills, planned content that is appealing, and catchy video titles. With just a little patience, you’ll see your subscribers rising and your income flow increasing as well.
If you don’t know where to start, in this video, you will find out about some of the channels that are trending and can give you an outline on subjects on which you can also launch your own channel.
- Offer Project Management Consultancy or Tutoring
With new architects and designers entering the market every day, demand for consulting services is always high. You don’t just have to design projects, you can offer other services too.
A smart way of going about this is creating some lesson plans, tutorials, learning aids and you may find yourself branching out easily and earning a pretty sum along with it.
With consultations, you can advise and teach other aspiring architects the keys of the trade or teach clients the know-how of this field, if they’d like to acquire more knowledge. To prosper in this, it would be better for you to become licensed.
- Invest in Real Estate
You’re an architect, who is the master of construction and designing projects, you will know from observation whether an apartment or housing is in optimal condition, whether an apartment or condo is worth investing in, the cost of different construction projects, etc.
You can design projects at a lower cost in return for the client offering you renting and leasing of that property. You will get equity in return for your work.
This may seem small initially, but over time, you’ll be a stakeholder in multiple projects, each getting you a certain % of the revenues. Your side-investing-hustle can earn you over $1000 monthly.
7. Outsource or Hire an Assistant
You might hesitate about this option but it will help your workload decrease and you can earn more because you’ll be able to take up more projects with a project assistant helping you.
Another option is to outsource the work. You can do this by quoting your client a higher rate and assigning the work to another contractor or freelancer at a certain percentage of the project earning. Just be cautious of scams and low quality work.
8. Getting Referrals & Reviews
Business world runs on the concept of networking and they are more likely to invest in the services of someone who has impressed their corporate associate or competitor even.
Referrals work best when you have developed the proper system of taking timely reviews, showcasing projects on the right platforms and simply – networking in the right places.
Similarly, reaching out in the extra hours that you may have between projects and meeting with old clients is yet another way to stay engaged and lock any potential small jobs that they may trust you can handle easily.
Keeping in touch via phone, emails and other social apps is the right way to go about this in the hectic times of today.
While looking for the best ways to increase your income, you may have some questions in mind about what direction to choose today onwards. Here are some basic queries that are answered for you.
With the Covid-19 pandemic on the rise, the American Institute of Architecture has released amazing information to support the architect community in developing their work scope. Find out more about how you can survive in the market during these times here.
Boston Society of Architecture has also issued some helpful resources online for the assistance of the community, read more about it here.
If you are trying to setup your practice virtually, check out this amazing video to learn more about how to go virtual being an architect.
Watch this video to know more:
With the growing population, as well as the increasingly competitive mentality within the business community as well as amongst individuals, the potential for a profession that can actually bring unique and outstanding ideas into reality has quite some financial potential.
Don’t give up just yet!
Use these tips to expand your work scope and earning as a professional architect today. Nothing is impossible. It is only about getting more focused into setting the right milestones, intelligently strategizing your moves to beat the competition and most importantly – not underestimating self.
Good luck on your architectural journey!