Survey of architects from across the country
Recently, Margine Biswas, Principal at Archiphy Architects and Interiors was asked for her opinion about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. architects and their firms.
Real Estate Bees invited Ms. Biswas to participate in their survey of architects from across the country. The experts’ comments and insights were published on the Real Estate Bees website. Real Estate Bees is the leading platform providing real estate industry professionals with information and other resources for growing their business.
The panel agreed that their industry felt the impact of a slowing economy immediately. New design projects were put on hold or canceled right away as businesses tried to prepare for an unknown situation.
Ms. Biswas pointed out that if their clients’ own clients were absent, there was no need for help with growth and expansion. She also reminded everyone that not every segment of the real estate industry was affected that way. There are opportunities in difficult times.
The opportunities discussed by the panel included new ways of doing business within their firms as well as new clients’ needs. The pandemic accelerated a number of business trends that will be with architects into the future.
The panel described how their clients have had to adjust the way they use their business or office space. The best architectural firms seized upon the opportunity to add value to their client relationships by advising them on alterations and improvements.
Ms. Biswas was one of the experts who indicated that they have taken advantage of these changes to expand their own business into additional segments of the market.
Firms like Archiphy that specialize in both commercial and residential projects were better positioned to adjust to the changing economy.
54.6% of those surveyed believed that the sudden changes caused by COVID had a negative impact on their business. However, 70% also agreed that the changes have brought them new opportunities.
Panel members were asked how they could have been better prepared for the sudden change in the economy. The most consistent suggestion was the improvement of their in-house technology. This impacted interactions with both clients and staff.
Margine summed up their thinking when she stressed that clients and employees need to be connected seamlessly. Communication was one of the first things that suffered when personal contact disappeared. Being forced to upgrade technology is one of the things that will improve architects’ businesses going forward.
One area of focus was how architects can market their firm effectively in the current business climate. The consensus was that architectural and design work is relationship driven. Referrals from clients, builders, lenders, and other networking contacts have always been key to architects maintaining and growing their business.
Ms. Biswas shared that her firm relies heavily on strong customer service and thoroughly meeting the clients’ goals. A strong foundation of customer service is needed in order to generate positive word of mouth endorsements and referrals.
The other important panel suggestion was for firms to learn how to effectively use modern marketing tools such as social media.