After you've gained some experience as an architect, you may be ready to start your own firm. The earning potential is great, but so is the potential for failure.
- Skill level:
Rent out some office space. If it's just you, then you only need enough room for your desk and some chairs for clients to sit in. Of course, you'll want room for any paperwork and plans you need to store. Put pictures on the walls of your previous architecture projects, or of architectural works that you admire. Pick out a name and register it with your state; consider incorporating or filing for an LLC.
Obtain any liability insurance and licenses you need. Check with your local planning office to find out if you need a business license or inspection before you open.
Get any computer equipment you need. You'll need architecture design software and a special printer and paper for printing out your blueprints.
Start your marketing efforts. Hand out business cards to all your friends as well as anyone you meet. Join a local business referral group to start networking with other local business owners. Talk to builders to see if they might be interested in referring clients to you or working with you on a project.
Design a website that gives information about your firm. Make sure you create a portfolio for prospective customers to view online. You also need to create a physical portfolio to distribute to builders and engineers as well as potential clients.
Contact an accountant to do your books for you. Try to stay as organized as possible to cut down on accountant fees (since time is money).