Architecture Firms and Employment
Architecture firms often have employees who focus on salary first and foremost. This is a mistake because the money will come if you enjoy what you do.
10 Tips for Finding the Right Firm
Instead of focusing on salary at architecture firms, consider these 10 questions:
1) How is the culture?
2) Is the culture a fit with you?
3) How is the environment?
4) Who is the boss?
5) Who will be your supervisor?
6) Do you get along with them?
7) Do you think you will be a good match to work with them?
8) Will they expose you to work that will help you grow in the profession?
9) Are they promising longevity for you so you’ll be there for a long time?
10) Will there be promotions?
You should look for growth at architecture firms, both personal and professional.
Your purpose is important. Ask the employer where you fit and what your purpose will be in the next 5 to 10 years there. What type of impact are you going to be able to make? If the employer can’t give you an answer in those areas, you should reconsider. Architecture firms need to be able to make you happy. Also, they need to complement your values so you can be there for a long time.
The Value of a Clean Office
I’ll never forget, we had a client early on in our practice, about 25 years ago. He came to the firm and interviewed us to design his facility. He wanted to learn who we were. To make a long story short, we ended up getting the project. We asked him later, what swayed the pendulum for him. Why did he pick us compared to the other architecture firms that he had interviewed?
He said, “The number one thing that stood out is how clean your office was. It was not a mess. You could tell that you were very organized. I could tell that, indeed, you were proud of how you worked, and what the message was to have a clean office. And some of the architecture firms that we went to,” he said, “were a mess. They could not find their design work to be able to show us. And it appeared that they did not care.”
That was interesting to me. He made a decision based on how organized we were in our firm. In retrospect, it does say a lot about how architecture firms operate.
Check Their Credentials!
There are other parts that are more important in other areas, of course. Such as how much the design work will cost. Also, the firm’s experience in the type of design work that you are requesting. And their credentials. I believe in credentials. Everything from where the architect trained to his academic education, and his mentors. Their license location and duration is also key. The license indicates the experience that the architecture firms have. It shows what they were willing to do to get that experience.
I could tell you that we have great designers. We have people that are well-trained and have good educations. But you know what? Every firm has good designers, and every firm has very well-trained people. What separates Development One from other architecture firms is our quality control systems. Our clients depend on us to make sure that they are not incurring extra costs. This is the result of change orders during the construction process. At the same time, they need to have the design that they want.
We are not like architecture firms that force a design style on a client. Our goal is to take ideas from a client and refine them. Then, we want the client to have their ideas come together. The key is a high quality, well-detailed result that saves money during construction.