O P I N I O N
Make them want what you do!
I f you look at the architecture and engineering business (notice I didn’t say “AEC” because I don’t think “construction” is part of the same “industry”), I think we could all agree that clients of firms in this business generally hire you because they need your services. They don’t necessarily want those services – but they need them. It’s great to be needed, but it’s not really where you want to be. The position you should really seek to attain is to be wanted.
Clients need A/E firms so they can get their property rezoned, so they can get building permits, so they can get competitive bids from contractors to build something, and much more. I never fully appreciated this fact until I became a developer about 15 years ago. Even though we had in-house design, we still needed structural engineers to stamp retaining walls, civil engineers to do drainage plans, geotechnical engineers to give soils data to the structural engineers, land surveyors to do topographical surveys for the civil engineers, and registered architects to stamp tenant improvement plans in commercial buildings we owned. All necessary stuff. Most of the time, as a developer, I was guilty of all the same sins I complained about in developer clients when I was on the other side of the fence inside an A/E firm selling services. Price was a
major consideration. Shortly after price came reliability. Would the A/E firm get done what we needed done? Time is money. And as far as architectural services for building design were concerned, my number one criteria (after price) was would the architecture firm do what I wanted them to do, or would there be a battle because they wanted to do what THEY wanted to do? All of this is fine – it’s great to be needed – but it’s not really where you want to be. The position you should really seek to attain is to be WANTED – wanted because you have something no one else has, or no one else can do as well as you do. The reason this is important is because it takes the focus off price.
See MARK ZWEIG, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER FEBRUARY 8, 2021, ISSUE 1378
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