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The mission of the AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx) is to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms. The objectives of the AIA SFx are three-fold:

     1. Advocate the value of small firms, the national SFx, and local
         SFx groups, both within the AIA and to the public.
     2. Curate and disseminate the most pertinent resources and
         information, from the AIA & elsewhere, that benefit small firms.

     3. Inform the AIA of current issues facing small firms and areas
         in which current resources/information are lacking.

Approximately 75% of all firms within the AIA are small firms (10 employees or less), which equates to 14,288 small firms within the organization. 

~25% = sole practitioners = 4,750

~35% = 1-5 employees = 6,650

~15% = 5-10 employees = 2,850

We need to find ways to leverage that size for collaboration and influence, just like the individual large firms do.

Be sure to "Join our Community" !  This will ensure that you're a part of our mailing list and receive our quarterly newsletter and important small firm information.

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Dues and supplemental fees

  • 1.  Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-05-2019 07:25 PM
    Just got my AIA Renewal paperwork today.  Why in the world am I being told to pay an extra $70 because I'm a freelance architect!?  I already pay almost $800 a year to fund the admin-heavy organization that doesn't seem to do much for me, but because I'm self-employed I have to pay an extra $70!?  Why? What possible excuse could the AIA come up with as to why independent architects have to pay more than those employed by others?  How does this help the profession or the professional?   I could get behind large firms with dozens of staff having to pay to cover non-licensed people under their umbrella, but I am my entire company and see no reason to pay this added extortionate fee.   Are all the independent architects paying this, or are you skipping that and just saying you aren't a sole proprietor?

    Brian Viehland AIA
    Principal Architect
    Design on the Square
    Rowland Heights CA

  • 2.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-06-2019 08:03 PM
    I have all but decided to abandon my AIA membership due to the additional membership fees of having my own practice.  The fees are already steep enough without an extra $140 per person (including myself, no matter the license or membership status of others) tacked on by the Louisiana state chapter.  Especially here in my first year of solo practice, the regular dues are already more than some of my software and office equipment costs, never mind the supplemental bullshit.  There's absolutely no way I could afford it this year if I had employees.

    It's ridiculous that a firm owner, to be an AIA member as an individual, has to pay a supplemental fee for their employees, even if the employees are already AIA members or if they aren't professionals.

    Caleb Hicks
    Humphreys & Partners Architects LLC
    New Orleans LA

  • 3.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-07-2019 05:24 PM
    I am the only one in my company and I do not understand the other fees your state ahs you paying? Here we have National, State and Local AIA fees (of course there are business and professional licensing too). But Louisiana has another AIA fee? Maybe they are not aware of how that affects small businesses?
    Leah McMillan, AIA, LEED AP

  • 4.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-09-2019 11:46 AM
    That $140 supplemental is per employee, including me, whether licensed or not, whether an AIA member or not, whether full-time or not, in any role.  So if - like my first architecture job out of college - my office was me, one admin, and three intern architects, I'd pay an extra $700 a year, with no exception.  I believe in my case it is the Louisiana AIA chapter assessing the supplemental dues.

    Caleb Hicks
    Ferox Architecture LLC
    New Orleans, LA

  • 5.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-11-2019 05:58 PM
    You should speak with your State and Local Boards. While they can not do anything about the National Dues they do have the ability to provide some relief to individuals (sole practitioners) on local dues at their discretion. As an example, my local board waived all the local dues for an architect that was deployed to a combat zone.

    Stephen M. Black, AIA
    fi architecture, llc
    Gig Harbor, WA

  • 6.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-07-2019 05:34 PM
    I agree that AIA dues are steep for sole practitioners and small firms.  I'm a sole practitioner and, according to my AIA invoice, I see that I pay local, state and national dues, for a total of $839.  (This number is similar, accounting for inflation, to what I've always paid.)  I don't see a separate item for number of employees (like I do on my local business license renewal).  Maybe I am missing something?

    Patrick Marr AIA
    Patrick Marr, PE, AIA
    Santa Barbara CA

  • 7.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-07-2019 07:23 AM
    Being a sole proprietor - or small firm, for that matter - adds quite a few additional costs that are more spread out over employees in a larger firm. For example, any office I've worked in has had one set of code books - whether 80 people or one. Similar with various reference books. The costs of being an individual architect are getting to the point where it is hard to compete.

    Thomas Bank AIA
    Principal Architect
    Simply Stated Architecture, P.C.
    Lemoyne PA

  • 8.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-09-2019 12:01 PM

    That's a great point that is often misunderstood or ignored. It seems that if we bring it up, we're complaining. There are many costs that are disproportionate when one chooses to be a solo-practitioner. I don't know the answer, but I'm glad you mentioned it.

    Lee Calisti AIA
    lee CALISTI architecture+design
    Greensburg PA

  • 9.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-11-2019 08:21 PM
    FWIW, supplemental dues vary from state to state.  Washington has been reducing them over the last few years.

  • 10.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-11-2019 08:52 PM
    Supplemental dues are a state by state thing. Virginia just got rid of theirs.

  • 11.  RE: Dues and supplemental fees

    Posted 11-07-2019 12:37 PM
    Hi Brian,

    According to the 2018 AIA survey, 76% of firms are less than 10 people. Charging a member an additional charge based on their business organization sounds like a discriminatory practice. I'd be interested to know if this is legal.

    Gregory Holah, NCARB
    HOLAH Design + Architecture
    Portland, Oregon 97232