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Starting a new business

edited September 2009 in Q and A
<p>HI there all, I wondered if any experienced architects had some advice for someone starting out in their own business. I plan to start my own practice,and have paid for  1 medium sized ad in the yellow pages(however only had 1 phone call in the last couple of months from the ad), so thats obviously not going to be of any help to me and seems to have been a waste of money. Where and how do I get clients? I was thinking to send out a CV to real estate agents, developers, builders? But I would like my own work(i.e not drafting if it can be helped). Does anyone have suggestions about the best way to get some clients happening?Ill concentrate on residential and units to start .Do other architects have many enquiries generated from websites - perhaps I should organise one of those, or advertise locally in local papers. It seems word of mouth seems to be the best way to get work - but hard to get that when you need a start first! Any ideas or suugestions from people who started out themselves would be very much appreciated.</p>


  • peter_j
    edited November -1
    When I went out on my own in '02, it was pretty slow to start. I took part time work at Lab / Fed Square for 6 months and that paid the bills. From there it grew as other architects who were employed refered jobs to me. Having a second and third string to the bow (web design & office IT stuff) also helped. Friends and workmates at prior employer were the best source of referrals.

    Yellow Pages won't be much use till you have a web site to refer people on to. They are pretty highly priced too for what they offer. You can start by setting up a basic free website on wordpress. Best to use a permanent domain name rather than theirs.

    I'd let everyone I know know that I was available and then wait (ie do some competitions).

    I'd be interested to hear how others started out on their own.
  • mark_melb
    edited November -1
    <p>I know it is slutty, but if you maybe have a 'point of difference' or an interesting concept which has not been marketed in the papers/mags for a while, do some conceptual stuff and send it into the Real Estate papers/sections.</p>
    <p>You would be amazed how the papers hang out for 'free' editorial like this.</p>
    <p>Align yourself with a small builder or two.</p>
  • dav_
    edited November -1
    <p>hey 91ADF, i'm 6months into my own business, and like peter, most of my work has come from referrals from colleagues and old employers. if you are not in a position to do that, then feel free to whore yourself at parties - that is, drop it into conversation that you are an architect, maybe get some business cards - because there is always someone who is doing something, even if its a bathroom or a tiny extension. it gets something on the books and that may lead to referrals or commisions out of the blue. if you go the website route then you can even throw up some conceptual sketches so anyone who comes across it has an idea of what you like doing and may be interested in your style. best of luck. d</p>
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