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How to Start an Architectural Firm in Nigeria

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Architects are hot cakes in the building and construction industry and a lot of people know this too, hence the mass turnout of architecture graduates every year.
 There is rarely a street you would go to where you wouldn’t see some great buildings and still some under construction. For every of those building under construction, there’s an architect somewhere making a huge chunk of money. 

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The thing is now, with the current rate of unemployment, how do you get ahead with your trade and also become a great architect? Well, that is not so hard if you have the mind of an entrepreneur and instead of waiting to work for someone who would outsource business to you under the company name, you could be that company itself and make even much more. That is what brings us to the discussion of how to establish your own architectural firm.
  1. Conduct a feasibility study/ market survey
Not every business is suitable for a kind of market and you would be saving your baby business a lot of losses and headaches with a feasibility study and market survey. check what the demand is for architects in the area and how much they offer for services. Some areas offer more for services than others and you don’t want to be stuck where you would be underpaid. Have questions before you set out and make sure all are answered at the end. If you don’t have the skills for a feasibility study, some business consultants would do that for you at a reasonable fee.

  1. Draft a business plan
With your feasibility study having informed you of all you need to know about the business, writing a business plan is the obvious next step. How do you intend to get the initial capital and how much would you be starting with? What are the business goals, missions and visions? What type of market do you wish to cater to and what are your plans on expansion? Every single detail about the business should be put into the plan because it could be used to attract investors when need be.
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  1. Get registered
I, for one, would never let you design a house or building for me if you are not certified or registered as an individual and business. Get necessary certificates to show that you are capable of offering your services commercially and register your company name to better make things legit. With an unregistered company, you would come off as a freelancer to clients and they would not give you the regard –in cash and kind – that registered business would enjoy
  1. Set up office
As a start-up, there is no harm in starting the business right from the comfort of your home but if you have the means, you could rent out a shop to make things professional. Set up your office with a template that befits an agricultural firm and put up banners and posters to announce your business. Make sure you put into consideration the location of your office because that affects your client base also. Prepare business cards once you are ready also for better networking and put in place other marketing tools
Professional business usually has associations both in the local and international sphere and joining one of these is not a bad idea at all. Start from your state association and get registered with them. This would aid better networking as during meetings, you get to meet others of your kind. There are even workshops organised by associations to keep their members up to date.
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  1. Start sourcing
The first place to start sourcing for jobs is via friends and family. Advertise your services to them and let them help you spread by word of mouth. Submit proposals to businesses and landlords who are willing to build an office or residential building, or renovate the ones that they have. Churches, schools, mosques etc. are also not left out of those you can share your projections with. The more diverse your client base, the better.