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Architecture Firm Business Plan

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One of the most important topics covered by an architecture firm business plan is the design philosophy of the architect. What makes the architect’s ideas or services unique? Is it the design styles or the high tech software used that sets the business apart? The branding of the firm is important to the ability of the firm to attract clients. Architecture firms typically start small and grow as the client list grows, but it is crucial to define the specific types of projects that will be accepted during the first years of operation. For example, architects choose to specialize in the design of houses or apartment buildings, commercial projects like office buildings, “green” buildings that promote environmental sustainability, and so on. The American Institute of Architects has identified over 40 different architecture types, so the new business must be clear about as to what this particular firm considers its market. Basic services include schematic design phase services, design development phase services, construction document phase services, preparation of bid documents, and construction phase services.

The architecture firm business plan will address details like the following:

  • Equipment and supplies needed to open business, i.e. computer with high resolution color monitor, blueprint machine, drafting suppliers, plotter, etc.

  • Office space lease or purchase

  • Software program capable of digital 3-D designing

  • Description of the targeted market, i.e. small or large corporations, contractors, developers, homeowners, government agencies, etc.

  • Location of markets, i.e. local, regional, national, and/or global

  • Main competitors

  • Pricing structure for various types of work, such as design services versus preparation of record drawings

  • Staffing requirements, including architects and office support personnel

  • Marketing plan for promoting the business and generating client leads, i.e. web marketing, joint ventures with other architectural firms, attending conferences and events, contacting developers and contractors, pursuing government RFPs, etc.

  • Legal structure and services

  • Architect experience, credentials and licensing

  • Risk management, including risks related to practice management and potential claims


Challenges of the Architecture Firm Business Plan

The architecture firm business plan will answer many different types of questions. For example, what will be the strategy for starting and then growing the business? What particular market will be targeted initially and what new markets will be added? How will the business maintain state-of-the-art architecture software? The business plan needs to include a break-even analysis, projected five-year profit-loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

Architects ready to start their own business will first need to prepare an architecture firm business plan. Completing the online contact form will give the business owner access to consultants who have experience in preparing the complex business plan and can also assist in the search for investors.
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