Professional Practice

Dear Architects Part 1

By Maria Sheeba Atukunda

March 20, 2017

 Dear Architects,

Why aren’t there as many Partnership firms in the country as there are Sole practitioner firms?  Other professionals, like lawyers tend to pair-up or triple-up. Is it much harder for our profession? Why so?

Arch Gloria Bazira:

The majority of all small business start out as Sole Proprietorship.

I cannot speak for every architect and cannot tell you why some decide to join Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies or remain Sole Practitioners. I’m not even sure what percentage of architects fall under each category. What I can do, is share my own experience.

I have experience both as a sole proprietor and as an architect in a partnership. The first wasn’t out of choice. I’d hoped to start a partnership; share responsibilities and liabilities, but I didn’t find a compatible partner at the time and was stuck in a situation where I was handling, not only architectural design, but the business of architecture as well. I was my own accountant, doing all the procurement, doing the actual design, following up the staff, doing the supervision; everything was on my shoulders.

I was blessed to get a partner eventually. The aspects we considered were both administrative and business related, like who brought the projects in to how profits would be shared. But my biggest gain was the sharing of administrative responsibilities.

Your choice in a partner should be someone you trust, someone that understands the way you work and who you understand, and can balance out your shortcomings in the business with theirs.

 

But my dream was always to have something that would last beyond me. Something with longevity. I needed to grow, get a partner, increase the staff.