Starting an architecture business can be rewarding, but it is also requires work. Most architectural practices take many years to become established. The field is sensitive to changes in the economy, and a new business is subject to a cycle of feast and famine. Nevertheless, owning an architecture practice is a dream many architects share. To start a new architecture business, you must be sure you have the resources and desire.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- State EIN (if needed)
Calculate the costs of business. Architecture firms require a space to work, computers, drafting and layout tables, and utilities. If you are fortunate enough to require additional employees, add the cost of salary and benefits to the total.
Many new architecture businesses make the mistake of renting or building premium office spaces and purchasing too much equipment and furniture. Although many architects believe this is necessary to attract clients, avoid overextending yourself and keep your overhead as low as possible---a new architecture practice does not have as much revenue to support such luxuries. There is nothing wrong with starting off with a home office.
Acquire funding for your practice. Some save many years to open their business doors, and others receive money from investors or their family. Ensure that you have enough money to stay open for the first year, however, most businesses do not break even until their third or fourth year.
Calculate the cost of business for three years, and obtain the money to stay open for at least the first third.
Determine a name for your practice, and incorporate to protect yourself in case of legal issues. Many practices begin as a limited liability corporation (LLC) or limited liability partnership (LLP). Check with your state to determine whether an LLC or LLP is an option.
Register for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS. Most businesses need an EIN in order to operate. The application process is free and can be done online through the IRS website.
Register your business with your state's Secretary of State, and determine if you will need to have a business license with your municipality. If the state you are registered in requires state income tax, register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from your state's Department of Revenue or Treasury Department.
Obtain insurance for your business. You will be required to have professional liability insurance and maybe other forms of insurance, depending on your practice and location. Discuss your requirements with an appropriate insurance agent.
Find a lawyer and accountant for legal and financial planning and issues, as well as a part-time book-keeper for your practice's monthly expenses and income.
Tell your friends and family, as well as real estate agents, contractors and engineers about your new architecture business. New clients in architecture come from word of mouth, so do not waste money on advertising and marketing. Your network of acquaintances are all you need. Remember to be patient---it will take time for your business to develop.
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