Frank Cunha III, AIA, is a licensed architect in 9 states and has been a registered architect since 2003. He has worked on a multitude of project types over the years and offers some tips to aspiring architects getting started working with clients on design projects.
1) Do Your Homework
Even before you start you should do your background research on project location, preexisting conditions. At the very least check on the site on google maps. You have the internet. No excuses!
2) Listen to the Client
Even if the client isn’t always right, they may have some great ideas on how to make the design better. Ultimately, the space you design is for their use and they should feel like part of the process. It is our jobs to guide them to make the best decisions. Base those decisions on the uniqueness of your particular client since their needs will be very specific to them.
3) Be On Time
Your punctuality reflects your attention to detail and defines who you are. If you want to be valued by the client, you in turn should be respectful of their time. Whether it is a meeting or project deadline be sure to manage the client’s expectations.
4) Always Under Promise, Always Over Deliver
Try to work with the client on mutually agreeable deliverables. Whenever possible try to give yourself a bit of breathing room and when the opportunity arises try to beat those expectations. This will built trust between you and the client.
5) Check-In With Client
Be sure to work in periodic check-in points for approvals to avoid getting to far in a design only to find out that there has been some major revisions and you spent time working on design details that will be modified or deleted. Build these milestones into your contract agreement and avoid difficult conversations about extra compensation later on.
Drink Lots of Coffee (Optional)
Please share other ideas you may have with us!