Opportunities Before the Design Stage

Opportunities for Building Designers Part 2 of 20

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Last week, we set the stage by introducing you to the Designer Opportunity Expansion Committee and revealing their work. It was pointed out, the committee took as a starting point the bare minimum of service a building designer can perform. The next six installments of this multi-part series will focus on the committee’s findings and suggestions on how to take advantage of opportunities that exist before the design stage.

Beyond Just a New Project

It happens to every building designer – the first we’ve heard about a new project is when the client picks up the phone and calls or walks in and drops it on our desk.

But did you ever think of the work, effort, and study needed before the project should reach such an advanced stage?

  • How was the site selected?
  • What caused this client to believe he needed precisely this type of building in this particular location?
  • When did he first start wondering about the idea?
  • Could your advice earlier have eliminated his false starts?
  • Could you have saved them money and time by some objective “advance planning” of his needs?

If all you can do is draw pretty pictures of someone else’s ideas, they are probably better to have followed their own route. But, if the inventiveness and imagination of the true designer are running through your veins, you could save clients valuable time by approaching the matter professionally and from the vantage point of design knowledge.

Business man with binoculars spying on competitors.
Business man with binoculars spying on competitors

Planning by the Hour

As with most consulting services, planning is generally charged by hourly rates (If you’re not sure how much to charge hourly, use the link at the end of the post to download the “Hourly Rate Calculator”). Your chances are improved if you have impressed your client with prompt and logical work. However, you won’t always get the job to design.

The intent, over the next five weeks, is to point out that a great many opportunities exist for professional services prior to the normal design stage. The possibilities are certainly not limited to those discussed, but this is an area where most designers have not ventured. At the same time, it is an area where professional help can get better projects started on the right foot. Professional services are needed in this area. You will do your clients and yourself a favor if you make those services available.

Hourly Rate Calculator

CLICK HERE to download the “Hourly Rate Calculator,” an Excel spreadsheet pre-designed with many business functions already included and all the necessary formulas pre-programmed.

Once you download the file, there will be instructions on how to use the worksheet, as well as for how to obtain the full library of DesignerDocs™.

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