The Market Network for Architecture & Engineering is Coming
The Market Network for Architecture & Engineering is Coming
Lack of easy access to talent is costly to small and medium architecture and engineering firms. As a result, projects suffer, and so do prospects for business growth. After all, a firm can’t grow beyond the capacity of its team, so if growing the team is difficult, then growing the business is even harder.
It’s a simple equation; lack of access to talent means limited capacity to grow your business beyond the capacity of your existing team and network.
To get the manpower they need on projects, firms primarily resort to recruiting talent, but recruitment costs time and money. The average time to hire at A/E firms is 30 to 60 days, and firms spend an average of $4,454 per hire according to this survey by Zweig Group. With an average industry turnover rate of 8 to 10 percent, firms lose employees they have to make up for every year in addition to new employees they need as they grow their business.
Another solution most firms resort to is working with others. Architecture firms, engineering firms, freelancers, and independent consultants have always worked hand in hand on buildings and infrastructure projects. They’ve been doing so by forming strong working relationships between each other that often span decades, taking on projects together on a subcontracting basis, and often as partners.
While these relationships are important, their biggest utilities are convenience and trust. It’s not easy to find someone you can trust and rely on to deliver good work. An architecture firm owner may painstakingly try working with several firms or freelancers before settling on ones who are the right fit on the professional and personal levels.
That enables the firm owner to forget about the problem of finding the right people to work with for a while, and move on to other problems, like getting new clients and designing projects. After a while, everyone starts settling into these working relationships and getting in the comfort zone.
The problem with settling into relationships like that is that it can be harmful for growth. It can hinder progress and stifle opportunities. It is important to network, meet new people, try new providers, and form new relationships, because that exposes new opportunities for you.
That’s easier said than done though. The time and effort it takes to get rhythm and trust going with new people is a barrier on its own. It takes time and resources most business owners don’t have.
Does a market network help?
What if there’s a solution that makes it easier to search for and find service providers in the market? If you somehow take the hassle out of the process of finding trustworthy professionals, then theoretically, you can grow and shrink your team on demand. And that crucial flexibility can help you grow your business faster without breaking the bank.
This solution is a market network for the architecture and engineering industry – an online professional network where small firms and freelancers in architecture and engineering can create individual profiles, interact, and transact to complete project work.
What is a Market Network?
We’ve heard of online marketplaces before, and we know what networks are. But what is a market network?
A marketplace allows transactions among multiple buyers and sellers. Uber and ebay are marketplaces.
A network offers up profiles that project a person’s identity and allows users to communicate with anyone in the network. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter are networks.
A market network is a mesh of a marketplace and a network. It focuses on a specific market and allows users to create personalized profiles that reflect their professional identity, and users can communicate and transact with others in the market network.
A market network also includes software that facilitates transactions and workflows. Users can submit proposals for projects listed by other users, get hired, and get paid through the platform.
You can learn more about market networks from this original post by NFX.
Why is a market network a good idea for architecture and engineering?
Let’s go back to the problem that small ad medium firms in this industry face when it comes to getting easy access to skilled talent, and how that affects productivity and business growth.
Hiring isn’t efficient enough, and finding service providers is a hassle with its own limitations. So how can a market network diminish this problem and why is it effective?
1- A market network shifts the bottleneck for growth downstream
What firms need is easy access to affordable service providers in the market, and a way to get quality work at good prices on demand.
A market network can do that, specifically one that is made for freelancers and small firms in the architecture and engineering market.
A firm can log on with a need in mind, browse profiles, find several freelancers or firms that fit their requirements, and ask them to submit quotes for the work they need. Within hours or days, these freelancers and firms would respond with quotes. With multiple options to choose from, the firm can choose the candidate that offers the right combination of quality and price. After some negotiation and tying loose ends, the firm hires the right professional to handle the work.
A market network for the industry gives firms unprecedented tools for business growth. It minimizes the talent problem and therefore opens up new possibilities. Firms would essentially be able to grow their team’s capacity and take on new projects at a much faster rate.
The business’s bottleneck would shift from team capacity to marketing effectiveness and how fast the firm can get new clients and projects.
2- Remote work has opened up a new world of options
Remote work in architecture and engineering has proven to be practical and efficient. It was forced upon us in 2020 due to the pandemic, but work has been able to continue without face-to-face interaction.
Architecture and engineering work is knowledge based, and requires team collaboration. Most of the design work is done via software, and it can be done from anywhere. Different types of communication and collaboration internet software have become mainstream due to COVID-19, enabling co-workers to collaborate easily on projects using video conferencing and screen sharing to discuss design problems and coordinate work.
Old fashioned firm owners would tell you that the team has to be in the office to get the work done right, but the reality is that remote work is effective and has changed the game, and working from home is probably going to be integrated into our work lives in one way or another. Recent surveys show that most businesses are likely going to have a combination of in-office and work from home options for their employees.
The fact that remote work is practical in this industry means that firms can start thinking about hiring people who are not near their offices, and not even in their city. It expands a firm’s options and vastly increases the number of people they can hire.
With a market network, firms can easily find and hire a licensed engineer in another city or state if finding one nearby is difficult. They can even hire a draftsperson from another continent, or a 3D visualizer in another country. There’s so much talent everywhere, both nationally and internationally.
The capabilities and opportunities produced from remote work tools, combined with the reach of a market network that is made for the industry will make the talent problem a thing of the past.
3- More people than ever want to be freelancers and business owners
Recent surveys are showing that more people than ever want to have career independence by becoming freelancers and business owners. It is estimated that over half of the US workforce will be freelancing by 2027, whether part-time or full-time.
Although this survey targets the general population, the trend is so attractive and we expect that it will spill over into the architecture and engineering industry as well.
If the trend continues and grows, that means market networks will become a very valuable tool for both firm owners and freelancers.
Freelancers will find clients and collaborators more easily through market networks, and they will be able to grow their businesses into firms that can take on more and more work.
A market network is already here
The first market network for freelancers and small firms in architecture and engineering has already been developed, and it is Handiss.
Over 3000 users already have profiles set up on Handiss, and you can join the network in a few simple steps if you’re a professional in the architecture and engineering market. Architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, MEP engineers, traffic engineers, water resources engineers, road design engineers, utilities engineers, 3D visualizers, BIM experts, geotechnical engineers, project management experts, draftspersons, technologists, and many more industry experts all have a place in this market network.
Handiss was built by engineers from the industry, and it has all the features and benefits of a market network.
If you want to hire, you browse the network, find the right professionals you need for your project, request quotes from them, receive the quotes, and choose the best hire among them.
If you want to find clients and get hired for project work, you make sure your profile is filled out in a way that clearly communicates what you do, and you select the right categories, skills, and licenses you qualify for so you can be found easily in the database. Someone who needs your services will reach out to you and hire you.
How Handiss can help
Firms and freelancers who’ll leverage the networking and software tools Handiss has to offer will be able to bring down the business growth barriers caused by talent and skill shortages. The market network will help:
- Firms and freelancers find more project work.
- Firms staff project teams on demand.
- Freelancers find collaborators for projects and partners for long-term relationships.
- Expand the project capacity of any team.
- Lower costs through on-demand hiring and keeping overheads manageable.
With a network of easy-to-access, skilled industry professionals, who are ready to work on demand, any firm or freelancer can focus more on what matters, which is to attract more clients and project work, knowing that the sky’s the limit.
A market network can truly be the talent backbone of any architecture or engineering business.