Profitability Path

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Converting a company to handle an in-house, profitable design staff takes time.

November 01, 1999

Converting his company to handle an in-house, profitable design staff took time, Mark Brick says. "Nothing starts off making money," he says. Brick didn’t lose money, though, because he initially farmed out design services and charged the customers. "I decided there was no reason to give that money to someone else, especially since we were going to build the design."

It took approximately four years for salespeople to start bringing in design fees directly. "It was hard for the designers to understand how to sell the design service," he says. Brick helped them see the benefits to their compensation that resulted from convincing customers to allow the remodeler to do the designing as well as the building. The sales staff also learned by watching him. Brick had succeeded in bringing in designs from the beginning.

Today, first-year designer-architects make a base salary of $26,000 plus half of the $65-per-hour design charge. Many double their base pay with design fees, which can reach an additional $5,000 per month. The salary continues to rise over the years based on performance and experience, Brick says. "The more commission the designers make on their designs, the more money the company makes."

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B&E General Contractors Inc.

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