Small Firm Exchange

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Who We Are

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 (less than 10 employees), which equates to 14,459 small firms within the organization.

~26.8% = sole practitioners = 5,173

~33.5% = 1-5 employees = 6,459

~14.7% = 5-10 employees = 2,827

For context, small firms share of staff is 16.0% and share of billings is 12.0%

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



  • 1.  Coronavirus

    Posted 03-17-2020 01:31 PM
    How is your business responding to the impacts of the Coronavirus?

    Amy Souder AIA
    Red Iron Architects
    North Charleston SC

  • 2.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-17-2020 02:18 PM

    We are continuing our work (while honoring others' social distancing needs): continuing to market, continuing our drawings, invoicing more often, and trying to figure out what our clients' new needs are.   If things slow, we will work on expanding our skills, CAD templates, and marketing approach.  We are considering video-meeting software with mark-up tools. 


    Yesterday, the group The EntreArchitect Community hosted a Facebook Live Webinar called, "Success and Survival as a Small Firm (in this time of COVID-19."  I very much enjoyed this.  You can find a link to it here:

    Christopher Toddy AIA, President
    2019 AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx) Chair
    Christopher @ Architects LLC
    Cleveland OH

  • 3.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-18-2020 05:36 PM
    I'm pretty luck since I work alone and my main project which is well into construction, has all meetings, that I attend, done with GotoMeeting. The problem on that project will probably be with the suppliers that are in Europe. Some of the engineers in Europe were hoping to visit the site soon but they'll be forced to rely on additional GotoMeetings. That and a robust sharesite should keep us going, as long as don't they halt construction. 50+ people on site but it's very remote and very large so they may not have issues. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Gary Madjedi AIA
    Gary W. Madjedi, Architect

  • 4.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-19-2020 06:00 PM
    Hello. We are starting with the Covid19 here in Chile, but at the first day we took the decision to leave to our houses and start with home office. 
    In fact I think we are working better because the quality of time in house is a powerfull imput for our team, and we start to feel it.
    Today we have  12 buildings in different status, some are starting and other ending, but with the clientes we agree in implement all the available technologies to see and be into the buildings. Cameras in all the levels and  matterport half by day.
    With our design team we use Drive for sharing documents, Autodesk360 for Colaborative Revit and Hangouts for daily meetings within us, clients and suplliers.

    Massmann Arquitectos & Cia. Ltda.

    Alfredo Massmann

  • 5.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-20-2020 01:50 PM

    Following up my post above -- for those of you who cannot access the EntreArchitect link given above or would rather just have a summary – here is my summary of last Monday's EntreArchitect "Success and Survival as a Small Firm (in this time of COVID-19)" webinar:




    Resources Shared:



    • Cash flow
      • Follow up on invoices regularly – be the squeaky wheel if needed
      • Get your invoices out regularly – maybe more often now – this is not the time to slip on this
      • Consider pre-billing your services, get larger retainers, move retainer from the first payment to last
      • Talk to your clients about the importance of cash flow for a small business
      • Do not work on new work when there are outstanding invoices
      • The federal government and credit cards have options – discuss these with them if needed --- see SBA link above
    • Opportunities
      • Understand your clients' new problems and provide new services to address these, using your existing skills – be their trusted partner
      • Expand your skills / re-invest yourself
        • Learn Revit or other helpful software
      • Consider being the General Contractor or Interior Designer, when you previously hired those out
      • Keep marketing
      • Focus on recurring business – follow a recurring-business revenue model rather than a project-revenue model
      • Clients need to be able to find you – tune up your website
    • Do not highlight process changes with clients (i.e., working from home)
      • We are open for business and here's how to contact us
      • "We have been thinking about this, and this is what we're doing"
      • Convey calmness and stability – this is what we're doing to mitigate disruption – this situation has a start, middle and end
    • Move to an Online Platform for Meetings
      • Remote practice tools – look into them – see links above for resources beyond Facetime, Zoom, GoToMeeting – "notability" software for whiteboard features
      • Make it easy for those not technical gurus, especially older clients
      • Communicate with your staff, regularly train your staff even if remote

    Christopher Toddy AIA
    President, Managing Member
    Christopher @ Architects LLC
    Cleveland OH