Why you don’t make more money than you do!

Jun 11, 2018

It’s hard to believe that in this market there are still design professionals who don’t feel fairly compensated for what they do – especially when compared to other professionals.

While I don’t think the $200K+ a year earned by most principals in this business is chump change, I do think you could do even better. Here are some things that could be holding you back:

  • You don’t really understand the value you bring to your clients. Sure – it’s common knowledge that design fees are a fraction of the project’s total cost but you have to remember how important that fraction is! The “right” design saves a fortune or makes a fortune for your client. The right design functions so much better. The right design is SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE. If you think that your only purpose in life is to get your clients a building permit, you are selling yourself short! You have the potential to change their lives! That is valuable!
  • You don’t think you deserve to do better than you are currently doing. For whatever reason you may think it is “wrong” to earn more than “$X” per year. We have seen it before. There are principals of firms who have told us and their peers that they thought it was morally wrong to earn above $250,000 per year. Make what you make and give it away to whomever you please – that’s what I say!
  • You don’t have anything better to do with your time. If you are willing to work cheap it means you don’t have anything else you’d rather be doing. Sorry, but that’s the truth and sometimes the truth hurts!
  • You have been programmed to think you can’t make good money as a design professional. It could have been your professors, or the small companies you started your career in. But the fact is some people just don’t expect to do well in this business so … guess what? They don’t (do well)!
  • You don’t know what other people in this business are charging. Sometimes I think people make assumptions about how much the “other guy” is charging for what they do and these assumptions are wrong! Firms in this business ARE making money today. Maybe you should be, too?

Thoughts or comments? Send me an email. We’d love to hear from you!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.