‘Either the client follows your process for buying, or you end up following their process for not buying.’
I had a landscape architect friend who said, ‘Why don’t we do a trade?’
He did some landscaping plans for my house, and I gave him a marketing campaign.
My wife looked down at the landscaping plans and asked, ‘How much did they cost?’
No plans, no results
‘Well, they were free,’ I said.
To which she replied, ‘I don’t like this, and I don’t like that’ and we did nothing.
I asked my friend, ‘How did it go with the marketing plan I did for you?’
‘Oh, I didn’t do it,’ he admitted.
If I had paid him $1,500 for his services, I would have planted those shrubs. If he had paid me $1,500 (or more) for my services, he would have done his marketing.
The fact is – we both got services for free. Easy come, easy go. If we didn’t go through with our plans, it didn’t matter.
Your time is valuable
Just because can answer a tough question in 2 seconds does not mean that answer is should be free. That answer has taken you 20 years of hard earned on-site experience to be able to answer in 2 seconds.
Move away from free. Architects, get paid for your advice because once you give it away, they have your hard earned answer or idea now, and it now belongs to them. You cannot say – if you want to use my idea you’ll have to pay. You can’t say if you use that great idea you have to use me to design it. They will take your idea and treat it as if THEY came up with it.
They think they don’t need you anymore. The genie is out of the bottle. The cat is out of the bag. The baby is born and you can’t put it back in.
And you don’t want that, do you? No, your clients need to need you. Here’s the catch – people don’t value what is given away for free.
Charge fees for advice
Some architects feel uncomfortable about charging fees for advice. Forget it!
Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you need to be small-minded.
Being paid allows you to do a proper job without getting angry. The more your client pays, the more they respect your authority (and, often, the less they complain).
Broaden your and your client's horizons
Plus, you’ll save your clients money with good research, networks and ideas.
My advice to you … charge a fee for what you now do for free.
Price is only a problem when value is a mystery.
You are the expert. Take them by the hand, guide them through your process … and charge a fee for it.