Architecture Firms vs. Lemonade Stands

by Cory M. Dietz, aAIA |  Director of Business Development, Elevatus Architecture
Part One - How our ingredients vary 

Lemonade Stands. On a good day, you can find one on every street corner in modern-day USA. However, the world has slowly begun a shift in its recognized value of the services architects and firms offer. Much like lemonade stands, people believe we all sell the same thing. There is a preconception that we all provide the same quality of service and much of the time, we can all offer it at the same price. The unfortunate realization, for many, is that you don’t know how good a cup of lemonade is until you’ve tasted it. 

Most lemonade stands are the do–gooders of the world-start-ups by children who want to make a difference by raising money to support a cause. The initial funding comes from parents investing in their child’s beliefs. The ingredients to make a finished product are very simple. However, some could advertise a fresher taste by using real lemons, versus a powder mix-or filtered water versus tap. Some could advertise a better deal by giving you a larger cup. And what appears to be the most important factor-why pay $1.00 over here-when the others would sell it to you for 75 cents. 

Architects, in reality, aren’t much different than lemonade stands. Some of us truly absorb your mission as a client. We research and ask questions to determine a root cause of the need. The relationship becomes organic, if you will. We also will do more work than most times necessary. We are hired to develop a solution. And while most of the times that solution is of the built environment, we are encouraged when we can make a bigger difference to end a crisis, improve learning for all – students and teachers, or heal the sick faster. In turn, we fully immerse ourselves in your mission.

We also want to make sure you get the best price for the services we provide. In recent times, we are pinned against our competitors in terms of price. But should the concern be over a reasonable price, or an even better value?

Now, the interesting fact is that fresh lemonade is much easier to sell than architectural services. Hard to believe, I know. Yet, look around your community. Every structure you see was a result of a vision set forth, an interpretation by a designer, and a realization based on belief. If you truly believe this will fill a need, then the message is clear: value should win every time. 

If you are thinking of building, find a design partner with passion for your vision and has all the “key ingredients” for a successful project. Then you will likely find it’s a win-win scenario. And there’s nothing more refreshing than that!