FAQ: How can I charge as much as interior designers when all the other architects charge so much less?
We actually have interior designers inside AMI who ask, “How can we charge as much as architects?” The range of fees is amazing. There are some architects charging huge fees and others virtually giving away their time. The secret is to remember that PEOPLE BUY BASED ON VALUE, not price. The only time they buy architectural services solely on price is when you have failed to communicate the value.
Architecture is NOT a commodity item; the difference between one design and another could be huge in terms of value, aesthetic qualities and usability. If a client is in the dark as to how your value stacks up against all others, YOUR communication is to blame. How can you explain your value? Break it down … EDUCATE.
Explain what can go wrong if they get the wrong design. Explain what can go wrong if the correct steps are not taken. Explain the difference between good and bad design and how you follow a process that guarantees good design. A beer company in the 1950s made huge sales by explaining in detail their 21-step filtration process. The market appreciated the lengths they went to to produce the final product. Turns out that ALL beer companies used the same process anyway—it was industry standard—BUT the clients were only aware of one company and that differentiation made them choose that one.
FAQ: How would you respond when a client asks why your fee is higher than that of other architects?
Not all architects are the same. Not all painters are the same, either. One painting can be worth $100 million while another is worthless. Yet both artists might have spent the same amount of time working on them.'The same principle applies with buildings; it takes just as long to build a poorly designed building as it takes to build an iconic work of art. One building may increase in value by two or three times while the other reduces in value. You see, it is not the hours I bring to the table but the value I bring to those hours.
So the question is … ‘are you after the cheapest architect or the best value from your architect, given that the two are never the same?' Now, of course, you have to justify why you are more valuable, but that is another question. The point is that architects must value their service first, and communicate that clearly and persuasively to the client.