Hi folks. This is just an attempt to get a bit of an idea of who out there might also be struggling with refining their “Niche” as part of last weeks exercise?
Im an architect in Australia working predominantly in residential. Both houses, alt & ads and small multi residential projects. While these are niches they also describe the work of most of Sydney’s sole practitioners. Perhaps I need to think more creatively but I am struggling a bit with coming up with niches within these. If they are there and I assume they are they must be heavily occupied niches. I guess it just then comes down to how well you market your niche.
Would any of my fellow members like to give shed some light on what niches they have found across the globe within the residential sector? Sustainable design, interior design, property development advice…?
I would appreciate your thoughts.
You are right Luke, most of the reward comes from how well you market to your niche.
I have found it most effective to ‘niche by industry’. In your example your niche is residential architecture but you could target the market that already has your clients. These are often builders because many people go to a builder before an architect.
It’s always great to have clients coming directly to you, the architect, but it’s waaaaay faster getting clients by referral from a non-competing industry.
There is a training in the member site on building a database that may help. Here’s the link:
For some niches, it might very well depend on how well you know the building types in your area and what market forces are at play. Understanding that could give you an edge when combined with your architectural skills. It might narrow down to one residential building type. I’m in Santa Monica, California. There are specific design and code requirements that forces some very specific design solutions in Venice, CA and the climate along the coast. There are also more Lately, we’ve been seeing here two or three story luxury units on infill lots near the new light rail line coming to Santa Monica, or 7 story residential. An apartment type that interests developers that is filling a specific market could be something to look at. I know that developers here cruise websites to find architects that are doing something they’re interested in.
Thanks Christopher. Good thoughts. I think what that highlights to me is that I need to know a little bit more about the resi market/climate im trying to win clients in. While ive worked in it for a while as an employee trying to earn a living off it is a different story.
In finding your “niche”, I’d suggest some soul searching on what types of projects bring the most satisfaction to you; what skills you have (is there a locality that has a difficult zoning code that you’ve mastered), and who you enjoy working with. And if it’s important, which projects bring the most $$$ for the least effort/time. All the best!
I have 2 Niches, both very separate, and both diametrically opposed, so i have 2 business cards and 2 separate modus operandi . But i am driving both by affiliating myself with an expert in each field.
1/ I am passionate about high efficiency homes and Passivhaus, so i have affiliated myself with a SIP’s panel supplier. He is my supplier of choice and i get projects from him.
2/ I am brilliant at infill and subdivision. I have affiliated myself with a development funding broker. We have the same reciprocal refferal understanding.
I was once like you Luke Durack sole practitioner doing anything and everything. Reno’s and small jobs and a few new homes. Now i have 3 other people working in my office with me and i am just doing new homes in either of those 2 niches …BOOM! Happy as a pig in stuff pigs are happy in. took 15 years to get no where and 6 months with AM for a total shift. I turn work away now, what a great place to be.
Thanks for the further input folks. I have thought about the reciprocal arrangement but its another thing thats a bit tricky without a portfolio of my own work as yet. This weeks talk on the premium positioning was encouraging. From my understanding the niche we are looking at is there primarily for a particular marketing campaign and does not necessarily need to underpin the whole business. With that in mind I feel like a can take a bit more of a risk with what that niche might be. Rooftop additions to existing apartment buildings, sub divisions and duplex developments for example.