How to Win Against Firms Who Undercut Your Fees

Yesterday I spoke with the partners of a design-focused architecture firm that does commercial, hospitality and residential projects.

They reached out to me because their fees are very competitive, but they sometimes get undercut by 40% or more.

Many times the clients come back to them with their tail between their legs after these projects go off track – but not always.

This is frustrating for these firm owners who feel like they're doing everything right, but still struggling.

Let's face it – both you and I know if a client pays 40% less they aren't getting the same level of professional service.

It's like getting heart surgery – would you go to the cheapest surgeon?

“Excuse me doctor, that seems a bit on the high side. Is there any way you can bring that fee down? There's a doctor operating behind a local bar, and he charges a fraction of that.”

“Perhaps there are less expensive sutures? Is all of this equipment really necessary? My brother-in-law says this should cost much less.”

“What if we do this at my house instead of the operating room? My son can hold the flashlight while you work.”

“That would save a lot of money, right?”

This seems ridiculous when we think about it in a medical context, yet this is the trap that some clients get caught in – they focus on the short term impact of the design fees instead of considering the long-term value of investing in design up-front.

So instead they play the game of chasing change orders and the project ends up costing more than it would have if the client had simply invested in doing the project correctly the first time.

If you've ever been frustrated by other firms undercutting your fees, then watch the video up above and let me know what you think.

If you want help getting out of the fee race to the bottom, you may be a fit for my DREAM Practice Accelerator program. Click here to watch a 60-minute training on how to create your DREAM Practice or click here to see program reviews.



Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

708,258 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments


How To Double Your Architecture Firm Income In The Next 12 Months

Fill out the form below to get free, instant access:

Related Articles