Establishing an Architecture Firm
Architectural firms offer design and construction services to clients. They can be a single or multi-person firm that is operated by one or several architects, a corporation, or a partnership. Each type has its own specific business model and challenges. However, all of them need to be built and operated in accordance with state and local laws. In addition, they must be able to manage and effectively market themselves.
The first step in establishing an architecture firm is to determine the size of the firm and the types of projects you want to work on. Many architects specialize in certain areas and use their expertise to focus on that area. If you wish to build a large architectural firm, you will need to hire a staff of professionals who specialize in that field.
While you are determining the size of your firm, you also have to decide how you want to acquire and retain new clients. This means identifying potential competitors, assessing your target market, and creating a marketing plan to reach your desired audience. You may also have to register with your state’s secretary of state to operate in that state.
Depending on the type of entity you choose to form, you will have to apply for various licenses and registrations. Some states require at least one licensed architect on your team, while others might require multiple registrations. For instance, if you’re operating a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), you will need to register as a legal business entity in every state where you do business.
If you’re considering obtaining an architect’s license, you will need to keep track of your continuing education credits and your qualifier licenses. Also, you might have to register with your state’s architecture board. As part of the registration process, you might be required to take an examination to be certified.
Most states require that your company name contain an abbreviation, such as “Limited,” for example, but you can choose a different name if you prefer. Keep in mind that the name you choose must describe your business, and it must be unique. A good name can help make your firm stand out from the competition.
An architectural firm may be a corporation or a limited liability partnership. In general, corporations and partnerships are more formal structures. But, you might be able to establish an architecture firm on a more minimal basis, using only equipment and a few trained architects. These small firms are typically managed by owners, and they can gain a lot of valuable experience if they have five to ten employees.
If you want to start an architecture firm, it is essential that you understand the state and federal rules governing licensing. While these rules vary by state, they all have similar requirements for the architecture industry. Your firm should be able to show evidence of its ability to deliver projects that are similar to those in its portfolio.
Other important considerations for running an architecture firm include understanding the legalities of the industry, managing human resources, and ensuring that your company adheres to all regulations. In fact, you might be able to set up your business in such a way that it doesn’t even require a license.