Around 2013-2015 I was dreaming that some day I will open an architecture company, but I could not pay my employees… because “customers” were mostly random individuals from third-world countries, simply answering chats and emails, discuss project requirements to quote a price, is a waste of time when 90% people want free floor plans, only 10% are willing to pay. I lost the interest for architecture and in 2016 I wrote on website “I will NOT do any more architectural projects“, but if people insisted to get architectural services I was passing them to other architects, who also stopped taking customers from me because most were NOT serious and refused to pay in advance, leaving me with no other option than to reject / ignore all architectural enquiries.
A collaboration with an established architecture company would have helped me, but I did not had any such offer until was… TOO LATE. On 8 January 2018 someone contacted me to outsource work in Chief Architect, a software unknown for me, and instead of giving me a chance to learn it, he turned away… I was in bad mood after holidays when many people visited my website, and as usual, all wasted my time without paying. I tried to explain that a long-term collaboration with a company (like his one) is welcome, but he misunderstood that I am accusing HIM for not paying (maybe I should have said “too few paying customers made me to leave architecture, maybe you can help me to get more customers” to be understood). He did read About me page showing that architecture is NOT my primary job, he also read “bad indian customers” so should have knew who are not paying and not put himself in same group.
He said initially a shameful low price per project but before leaving said that pays $30,000/month to “his contractors”. This left me intrigued: Did I lost a great deal? Do I am the right person for such job? How long each project took and how many projects he had for me? (to compare hourly earnings with my “other business”).
I published chat (see below) and showed this page to other architects, all said that he was a very serious customer and asked me if I can find his contact info, that in US/Canada architects are paid over $5000 per month. Well, great job for someone who love architecture and do not have any other form of income, but NOT FOR ME. And since this person look for employees overseas is obvious that he wants to pay LESS.
They told me that I made a mistake by saying “I wonder if a long-term collaboration worth my time” or that architecture is a waste of time at these prices (trying to make him paying more – but used wrong words), and should have asked more details about his job, it might have been a GOOD experience compared with previous BAD experiences.
This incident made 5 architects to offer to work for me if I am too busy to handle more customers, so I removed that note that won’t do any more architectural projects, to get again customers and pass leads to them, which turned again into a waste of time for all of us because 90% of the leads were not serious. By end-2018 only 2 deals were successful of 5 architects, 2 left my team for this reason.
IP 220.127.116.11 located in Burlington, Canada. Does anyone know who is him, how I can contact him again? What company in this city does use Chief Architect software?
Location: Burlington, Canada
Page URL: https://www.teoalida.com/about/aboutme/
Chat started on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:31:56 PM
(5:31:56 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(5:31:58 PM) Teoalida (site owner): Hi there… if you need any help or just wanna chat, drop here a message!
(5:32:58 PM) Visitor: Hi
(5:33:12 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(5:33:14 PM) Teoalida: what’s up
(5:33:17 PM) Visitor: Do you do any work in Chief Architect?
(5:33:35 PM) Teoalida: I work also in architecture, but what chief?
(5:34:47 PM) Visitor: https://www.chiefarchitect.com/
(5:35:10 PM) Visitor: it is software
(5:35:10 PM) Teoalida: oh, chief architect was a software?
(5:35:16 PM) Visitor: yes
(5:35:51 PM) Visitor: I guess that means “no”, you don’t work in it…
(5:35:59 PM) Teoalida: watching video
(5:36:08 PM) Teoalida: anyway why did you asked me about this software?
(5:36:35 PM) Visitor: Because it is the software that we use
(5:36:56 PM) Teoalida: and you wanted to outsource work to me?
(5:37:01 PM) Visitor: yes
(5:37:10 PM) Teoalida: how much do you pay?
(5:37:59 PM) Visitor: I see on your site it says from $20 per basic room and $100 per advanced room
(5:38:08 PM) Visitor: $100 for detailed room
(5:38:12 PM) Visitor: Is that correct?
(5:38:21 PM) Visitor: Or do you charge hourly?
(5:39:00 PM) Teoalida: if you look further https://www.teoalida.com/design/houseplans/#pricing you will see that I have different prices depending by customer country
(5:39:11 PM) Visitor: looking…
(5:39:13 PM) Visitor is currently viewing https://www.teoalida.com/design/houseplans/#pricing.
(5:39:30 PM) Teoalida: anyway, I am currently earning few thousand dollars per month from my other business, architecture is a waste of time at these prices, especially when dealing with random private people
(5:39:36 PM) Visitor: what about large luxury residence
(5:39:43 PM) Teoalida: I wonder if a long-term collaboration with ONE company will worth my time
(5:39:43 PM) Visitor: 25,000+ sqft
(5:39:59 PM) Visitor: ok
(5:40:02 PM) Visitor: nevermind
(5:40:13 PM) Teoalida: does your software produce drawings ready for submission?
(5:40:13 PM) Visitor: thanks for your time
(5:40:18 PM) Visitor: yes
(5:40:28 PM) Teoalida: or just 3D models and elevations for visualisation
(5:40:33 PM) Visitor: everything
(5:40:41 PM) Visitor: but I see you are not interested
(5:40:47 PM) Visitor: no problem
(5:40:51 PM) Teoalida: let’s don’t say yet that I am not interested
(5:40:52 PM) Visitor: thanks for your time
(5:40:57 PM) Visitor: ?
(5:41:03 PM) Visitor: I thought you said so
(5:41:06 PM) Teoalida: I watched your video and looks easy to use software
(5:41:17 PM) Visitor: not my video, not my software
(5:41:28 PM) Visitor: My team uses it
(5:41:29 PM) Teoalida: I watched video from that link
(5:42:05 PM) Teoalida: and as you probably read already on page, I lost interest for working with private people who are likely to not pay or pay too little… long-term collaborations with companies are still welcome
(5:43:10 PM) Visitor: lol, I am insulted by your suggestion that I would not pay. I pay over $30,000/month to my contractors and I will look elsewhere. Good luck to you.
(5:43:23 PM) Teoalida: don’t take this as insult
(5:43:35 PM) Teoalida: but also tell me how do you promote your services to get paying customers?
(5:43:55 PM) Teoalida: and what suggestion do you have for me to increase % of paying customers?
(5:44:01 PM) Visitor: I AM LOOKING TO HIRE
(5:44:06 PM) Visitor: goodbye
(5:44:38 PM) *** Visitor has left ***
(5:44:40 PM) Visitor is currently viewing https://www.teoalida.com/offtopic/bad-indian-customers/#aggressive-indian.
(5:44:43 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(5:44:43 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(5:44:47 PM) Teoalida: BTW, do you provide simple floor plans that need to be made in 3D and detailed architectural drawings, or I need to make own floor plans based on words description?
(5:45:20 PM) Visitor: I do, but I have lost interest in your services, thanks again for your time
(5:45:43 PM) Visitor: insulted by your accusation that I would not pay
(5:45:43 PM) Teoalida: why do you lost interesT? just because people from OTHER countries didn’t paid me?
(5:45:55 PM) Teoalida: I didn’t said that YOU don’t pay
(5:46:18 PM) *** Visitor has left ***
(5:46:43 PM) Visitor is currently viewing https://www.teoalida.com/offtopic/bad-indian-customers/#aggressive-indian.
(5:46:48 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(5:46:48 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(5:46:54 PM) Teoalida: you lose connection?
(5:46:56 PM) Visitor is currently viewing https://www.teoalida.com/about/aboutme/.
(5:47:05 PM) Teoalida: if you read https://www.teoalida.com/offtopic/architecture-worst-business/ you will see that I have BOTH good and bad experiences
(5:47:12 PM) Teoalida: some people pay, some people run away without paying
(5:47:17 PM) Teoalida: leave an email address to keep in touch
(5:47:24 PM) Teoalida: Give me a chance to test that software
(5:47:50 PM) Teoalida: to see if I can learn it, THEN I can tell you if worth my time.
(5:50:12 PM) *** Visitor has left ***
I would like to ask him these questions:
Don’t get me wrong, majority of non-paying customers are in India, you’re in Canada, I trust you.
Majority of customers do not want to pay in advance, they want to see a sketch before paying, for 3 years I done many sketches and this convinced them to pay and proceed to detailed drawings, but 9 of 10 customers ran away without paying, effectively making architecture a waste of time. How do you deal with such cases?
What does happen if customers don’t like my drawings or change mind and ask revisions? Had some arrogant customers asking more than 10 revisions, wasting too much time for the money they paid.
You say that you are paying $30,000 per month. How many people are you paying? How many hours per month do you need my service, how long takes to design one house? I need to estimate whenever your hourly pay is higher than my current “job”.
Few months later in 2018 I got 2 more people looking to employ me as architectural designer in Blender and Revit, this time I used correct approach: ask for a contact email, then ask details about job, then discuss price. But before discussing price they told me that want a highly-dependable person to work for them full-time which is a big NO for me!
Regarding Canadian company with Chief Architect, I am SAD for disappointing him during chat and not having any way to contact, NOT SAD for losing the job. Is very unlikely that he would have awarded me the job anyway, because wouldn’t have been patient to learn myself Chief Architect, and if he awarded me the job, collaboration would have ended quickly because I did not had time to work for him, being busy with my databases which their sales and earnings increased 10 times between 2015 and 2018.
What I could do was to offer his job to my friends and get paid a referral fee. this I have done in case of Revit customer, I linked him with a company from India, but after few emails exchanged, customer said that is too complex and cancelled deal.
But this remind me of a funny case from 2017 when someone from Singapore came on chat asking price for a house design but never provided project details, then blamed me for making bad quality drawings using AutoCAD and suggested using 3D Studio Max and Revit, he also said that have been outsourcing and for moment I though that he is outsourcing destination for others and I did not realized that he was actually looking to outsource to me (if I learn better software). Near end of chat he said that is paying few thousand $ per month to an outsourcing company in China, I have his email address and I asked how he get customers paying him so high that allow him to pay China company, he never replied me…. and if he already have an outsourcing partner I don’t think that I need to bother wasting my time learning new software and work for him.
I came in conclusion that one of reasons for failure of my design business is that I stick on AutoCAD which is a bit outdated software. There could have been companies looking to employ me in early years too, but they turned away for some reasons (they asked me “Do you use software X?” and I answered “No, I use AutoCAD” without realizing that they want to employ me, I could have said “I can learn new software if there is a business opportunity“).
Comments from a customer
Chat started on Thursday, June 21, 2018 1:07:30 PM
(1:31:08 PM) Teoalida: should I cry for losing this offer? https://www.teoalida.com/offtopic/big-collaboration-offer/
(1:31:25 PM) Visitor: let me read it first
(1:34:39 PM) Visitor: yeah i think you made great choice
(1:35:03 PM) Visitor: because working on something you don’t love is a waste of precious time
(1:35:39 PM) Teoalida: I don’t even know if I liked or not liked his job, as he didn’t gave enough details
(1:36:08 PM) Teoalida: if he was providing floor plans for me to make in 3D, would have saved me from wasting time with revisions, maybe I liked the job
(1:38:02 PM) Visitor: i think what i see in the convo
(1:38:18 PM) Visitor: is that hes looking for person who will work withsoftware
(1:38:30 PM) Visitor: but they will handle the marketing seperately
(1:38:41 PM) Visitor: so you will not face the customer
(1:38:45 PM) Visitor: and get stress
(1:38:59 PM) Visitor: what they look is for talented guy like you
(1:38:59 PM) Teoalida: this is what I assumed
(1:39:14 PM) Visitor: yeah that’s what is looks like
(1:39:52 PM) Visitor: he has a team
(1:39:56 PM) Teoalida: next question to ask him would have been “what happens if customer change mind and want changes? arrogant customers paying but asking 10+ revisions free of charge is one of the reason for which I LEFT architecture”
(1:40:29 PM) Visitor: wow! that is too much.. revisions
(1:40:58 PM) Visitor: but if you put some rules on it before entertaining their queries
(1:41:02 PM) Visitor: might save your time
(1:41:10 PM) Visitor: like a system
(1:41:22 PM) Visitor: that if they request for change
(1:41:30 PM) Visitor: they will be charge accordingly
(1:41:39 PM) Visitor: i think that what this guy has
(1:41:48 PM) Visitor: he has a system that can handle those changes
(1:42:37 PM) Visitor: so his team can focus only on their respective jobs
(1:42:38 PM) Teoalida: I think that he had a solution for such cases
(1:42:56 PM) Visitor: yeah of course, he seems experienced guys as well
(1:43:09 PM) Visitor: *guy
(1:43:12 PM) Teoalida: I want so much to contact him again! but I don’t know who is him
(1:43:50 PM) Visitor: ouch, that’s bad.. but it a good opportunity for you
(1:44:28 PM) Visitor: it means you can improved your service by adding a system
(1:44:40 PM) Visitor: he gave you a lesson
(1:44:55 PM) Visitor: so better work on it or leave it
(1:45:14 PM) Visitor: we all work to earn..
(1:45:31 PM) Visitor: but it is better to work on the job we love, not just to earn..
(1:46:15 PM) Visitor: if you still love architecture, give it another try.. since now you are earning more
(1:46:16 PM) Teoalida: what lesson he gave me?
(1:46:28 PM) Teoalida: he just made me crying for disappointing him
(1:46:37 PM) Teoalida: this because he contacted me at WRONG TIME
(1:46:51 PM) Teoalida: right after holidays when 10 people contacted me without convincing anyone to pay
(1:47:14 PM) Teoalida: those 10 people gave me real lesson that architecture is a HORRIBLE business and should be forgotten
(1:47:20 PM) Visitor: look.. the lesson there is when he said he has a team..
(1:48:18 PM) Visitor: it means you have to build your own team… so you can handle those like 10 people properly
(1:48:42 PM) Visitor: building a business is a team play
(1:48:46 PM) Visitor: not solo
(1:49:20 PM) Visitor: but i can seein your works that you really love Architecture
(2:00:15 PM) Teoalida: your ideas are good but please don’t forget the essential… 80% of people contacting me for architecture services are individuals located in Philippines, India, Africa, etc, POOR COUNTRIES
(2:00:28 PM) Teoalida: in databases 80% of customers are BIG BUSINESSES located in US and Europe
(2:26:18 PM) Teoalida: also, I didn’t went to architecture university, you still think that a job in architecture suit me?
(2:27:15 PM) Teoalida: I never wanted to go in architecture services, I was pushed into this career involuntarily by people telling me that I have a great talent in drawings
(2:28:22 PM) Teoalida: but these people do not realized how hard is this job… during my career I met more architects and this further convinced me to quit this job, those 2 partners in Philippines do not exceed $2000 per month
Received the following email in November 2017. I replied as polite I could, and they never replied back (I got notification that they did read my email).
We are looking for AutoCAD drawings and 3D design for some of our real estate projects.
Could you please send me samples off Floor designs and building designs that you have done in the past so we can evaluate if your work meets or required standards.
After this we would like to work on a per project basis and budget is of importance as we have over 50 projects in hand.
Thanks & Regards
Just browse my website to see samples of designs done in the past. Most important works made in 9 years of building design are published on website. But when I work for customers I follow their requirements which may be different than what you see on website, which most of them are made from personal interest, so don’t rely only on my past projects.
For faster communication use LIVE CHAT in lower-left corner of screen.
Hi again, I replied at your enquiry on 10 November from my Yahoo address but haven’t heard any reply from you. Did you received my email? I am sending it again, this time from my Gmail address.
PS: did you found my email by visiting my website or a previous customer of mine gave you my email address, without telling you that I have a website? See www.teoalida.com/design