How Architects Can Get You More Jobs
Before understanding why architects can be some of the most highly valued clients for any contractor, it is important to understand why architects need contractors in the first place…
While architects mostly interact with contractors on behalf of the project owner, they also need contractors as budgeting consultants, and this is a fact many GC’s tend to forget.
From my experience working in an architectural interior design firm (I studied architecture in college), I can say first hand that the number one problem architects face is going over budget.
All too often, architects make plans for their clients without considering the cost of the project and later are in the stressful position of having to redraw plans. It happens every time…
But this is where you, the general contractor, can come in.
Imagine if you could step in and offer budget pricing in the early, conceptual stages of the project, before all the hassle. Let’s see why that would be worth your while…
How Budgeting for Architects Helps in the Long Run
By reviewing the schematics and doing the budget pricing for the architect, you increase your perceived value as a contractor.
Perceived value is something I have talked about extensively in previous articles, mostly because it is your greatest sales asset. You can check out our article on construction bidding for an even more in-depth discussion on this topic.
Your perceived value is the most important thing to consider when bidding construction jobs. Along with helping your architectural clients in budgeting, contractors should follow up with all their clients to appear more trustworthy. Becoming the preferred contractor for just a few clients can yield massive returns for your construction business.
Anyways, in the case of architectural clients, having more perceived value has another benefit on top of winning you more bids; it can get you quality referrals to project owners within that architect’s circle.
The one question architects get from every owner for a project is, “Do you know any contractors who can do this?”. Now, imagine you have been helping that architect with budgeting that same project throughout the entire planning stage… who do you think the architect will recommend?
The moral of the story is this: scratch an architect’s back and he’ll scratch yours.
3 Strategies to Prepare Budgets for Architects
Now that we have covered why it is in your best interest to do budget pricing for you architectural clients, let’s get into a few strategies you can use to actually perform these estimates:
Strategy #1: Historical Square Foot Budget Pricing
This method is perhaps the easiest way to estimate projects in the planning stage and it’s by using your past experience with similar projects.
Especially if you are a specialist in specific jobs like restaurants or multi-family homes, you can calculate your average cost per square foot of these job types and use this information to make quick estimates of projects in the schematic stage.
Usually, you have to keep in mind that market prices go up over time. When doing any kind of historical budget pricing, it’s wise to add 3-5% to your costs for a more realistic estimate.
Strategy #2: Conceptual and Schematic Estimates
If your architectural client’s plans are still in the schematic stage (plans lacking in specific details like dimensions or engineering), here’s how you can approach estimating them:
To get a rough idea of what the project will cost, estimate the cost of the job by each item, applying what you would normally pay for materials and labor. Then, add a 10% contingency to give your architect the safest estimate.
Running short on time? Our construction estimating service actually handles schematic budgets on top of finished plans and can assist you in any of your budgeting needs.
Strategy #3: Value Engineering
The term “value engineering” refers to the problem we mentioned earlier, when architects are forced to redraw plans after going over budget.
In this strategy, instead of budgeting the project in its conceptual stage, you’re going to spare the architect the headache of doing damage control after.
Through their experience of material and labor costs, it’s actually a simple process for most contractors to gloss over plans that are over budget and figure out which materials and designs could be substituted for cheaper alternatives.
This method and the previous estimating methods may seem costly, but you can actually get away cost-free if you build your estimating costs into your future projects. The key to remember is that all your help with architectural clients should pay itself back through the leads you get in return.
The Secret to 10X your Construction Business
If you are interested in growing your construction business, I’ve prepared a short training video for you that you can watch for FREE: