One of the coolest things about running a WordPress based website is the cools statistics you get. I can tell daily,weekly and money stats; where visitors have been referred from, what they’ve clicked on from my website and probably the coolest of all, the search term they used that got them to my web site.
I’ve been looking at these Google search terms for a while now and the one that pops up the most frequently is “How much does an architect cost?”. If you look at architects websites (mine included) you’ll see no prices – I was at a recent networking coffee morning and this point was also raised along lines that it would be helpful to see prices for each project. The difficulty is that every project is slightly different; it’s often said that designing and building a house is akin to the production of a concept car for every car on the road. Plus I don’t think clients would appreciate others seeing how much they’ve spent on their builds and what they’ve paid their architect.
Also the problem occurs that publishing prices goes allows other architects to see what you’re charging, allowing them to undercut and an ensuing price-war is commenced.
In previous years the architect bodies (RIAI and RIBA) would publish recommended fee scales, but this was deemed illegal (from monopoly commission) what you see now are fee scales based on architects surveys.
This problem doesn’t affect just architects, anyone providing a device will have the same issues over charging; from all types of construction professionals (landscape, structural engineers, interior designers, etc) to web site design, photography… The list is endless. The days of saying to yourself how much you are worth and you’re not working for a penny less unfortunately have to be reevaluated. So if you’re providing a service, what do you do and charge in order to win a job against other competing professionals:
The answer is very easy: do a good job at a price that you can work at. With the world (and especially Ireland) in economic turmoil, you will need to be giving an exceptional service that competes against your professional peers – why would someone choose you if you’re providing a lesser service? You will also need to be pricing your service competitively again against your peers – again you need to think carefully over why a potential client would choose you over your competitor if the price is considerably higher.
So I guess this post still doesn’t answer the question with the inevitable analogy of “how long is a piece of string” coming to mind; but the conclusion for me going forward in 2011 for my existing and future clients is to provide an exceptionally high level of service at a sustainably, competitive price.
Would love comments on this one…