Why is architecture seen as the most difficult path

The first step is the hardest

For more than 20 years I have been looking after young architects on their way to self-employment, and I have never heard that anyone regretted this step.

For more than 20 years I have been coaching young architects on their way to self-employment, and I have never heard anyone regret taking this step. "This is what lawyer Jürgen Zwanzig, advisor to the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Architects (AKNW), made on the occasion of the first Business start-up day hundreds of students and graduates of the FH Düsseldorf have the courage to start a business
Almost the most important thing, according to Zwanzig, is a “laundry slip”: “Take a piece of paper and write down your wishes, ideas and professional goals.” It is amazing how quickly a concept can develop from this. But this is only a first step: “You should be able to reasonably justify for yourself why customers should come to you.” And where should the new office go? Zwanzig advises you to settle down where you were originally at home - if only because you are already integrated into the social network there.
And how do you get orders? “Orders don't come, you have to get them!” This appeal by lawyer Zwanzig alone is nothing new for young architects - most of them take part in competitions as a matter of course during their studies. Especially at the beginning, only one thing is usually important: Earning money. Andreas Köhler, specialist advisor for business start-ups at Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, is also encouraging: "In Germany there are around 700 programs for financial support for the self-employed."
According to a spokesman for the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, talking to the bankers is a particular problem. "Especially for younger customers, it is often impossible to determine whether the person you are talking to is actually interested in serious advice or just wants to sell the bank's financing models. “To recognize this, there are rules of thumb: the consultant should draw up a funding plan that is tied to a precise schedule and he should explain the possibility of funding from public funds.
However, before any funds are distributed, the applicant is required to provide evidence of technical and commercial qualifications. The first is certainly easy, but the second, according to the bankers' advice, requires an entrepreneurial concept and a financial plan. This includes the funds required to set up a business, the liquidity requirement and a profitability forecast for the first two years of self-employment. If both papers are conclusive, there is usually nothing standing in the way of financing, but as a rule an equity share of 15% of the total investment has to be provided.
It is not only young architects who often neglect insurance against claims arising from planning or construction management errors, says Ulrich Langen from the architect-engineer-insurance company. “You don't owe the client a service, but a work. So you are also responsible for the flawless construction. ”Experience shows that in 75% of all court proceedings in the event of construction defects, the architect is also held responsible. According to Langen, it makes sense to have professional liability insurance - in addition to the constant preservation of evidence, e.g. through a construction diary, photo documentation, etc.
All speakers agreed: With good preparation, it is worth taking the step of self-employment even in economically difficult times.
WIP / HAN

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