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Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

  • 1.  Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

    Posted 04-30-2020 07:49 PM

    I am looking to start my own firm by myself (for now) and already have a couple of clients, ready to go.  I have found plenty of resources on the discussion of LLC versus PC (or DPC, since I am in New York) and other business structures, but have yet been able to find anything specific to architecture.  If you've been through this before, would you mind sharing what decision you came to and the thought process behind it?

    Or if you know of any existing posts or publications I can reference, please share.

    I'm in New York.  My projects are in Massachusetts and New York.  Residential interior renovations for now, with hopes to grow.


    Matthew Wang, AIA, LEEP AP BD+C
    New York, NY

  • 2.  RE: Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

    Posted 05-01-2020 05:42 PM
    I can only offer an example that I chose, I work in New York, but please consult an attorney to help you with the decision as I am not an attorney.

    professional limited liability company, or PLLC is similar to an LLC in that the members are also limiting their liability. The difference is that a PLLC's members are limited to certain types of professionals, such as architects.

    Daniel Alter, AIA

  • 3.  RE: Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

    Posted 05-01-2020 07:58 PM
    Hey Matthew,


    Having operated numerous business, I echo Daniels encouragement that you seek professional legal counsel in this decision.

    Starting a business is expensive and, if you have not done it before, filled with lots of questions that must be answered. You have the potential to be personally liable for the things you say, the decisions you make and the actions you take in your business. Initially, because you are on a tight budget, you may do things for yourself that more established firms would hire out. That's a prudent and widely accepted strategy...except, in my opinion, when it comes to decisions that expose you to liability, professionally and personally.

    Just as you would not encourage a friend with little or no experience in the building trades to save money by laying the foundation for their new home themselves, its difficult for a non-attorney to provide meaningful assistance to you in this. You need a trained legal pro to lay our the options and help you chose the best fit for you. Although there may be similarities, businesses and the needs of their owners are unique.

    Experience has taught me that there are some things you should really spend a few dollars on. A good accountant and a good lawyer are integral to the success of your business. Rather than asking for advice on organizational structure, I would recommend asking for references for an attorney who practices in the area you live and/or plan to practice.

    Ultimately, I think you'll be happier with the responses.



    Kevin Harris Assoc. AIA
    Director, Sales & Marketing
    AGS Stainless, Inc.
    Bainbrdge Island WA

  • 4.  RE: Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

    Posted 05-04-2020 05:38 PM

    Congratulations!  It appears you're aware already business structures are established at the state level.  When I started a firm (Michigan) I was assisted in the process by my local small business development center at no charge.  I worked with them to get it to where I needed to choose between two options. After consulting a couple lawyer friends I went with the consensus opinion but again, the small business folks guided me through the process at the state level and provided direction on who to talk to about insurance, etc.

    Good luck!

    Jon Jorgensen AIA
    Jorgensen Architecture pllc
    Okemos MI

  • 5.  RE: Sole Props/LLC/PC/DPC/S-CORP/C-CORP/ETC - Advice?

    Posted 05-05-2020 08:06 PM

    Keep a look out for the next Young Architect's Forum (YAF) Connection publication at the end of May/early June. There will be an article interviewing several new start ups along with a checklist. It is available on issuu for free.

    Until that comes out, connect with other architects. EntreArchitect is a great community and has resources that are helpful. I just started my firm 2 months ago. There are many ways to do it. Keep connecting with people to find resources. There are a lot of opportunities out there for small firms and start-ups. Autodesk offers a software donation, Inside the Firm is a podcast that talks about some of the challenges, and AIA and Small Business Administrations have lots of resources. Right now there are a lot of webinars and talks, like a daily chat from EntreArchitect through their Facebook group.

    I made the jump and even though I've planned for it for several years, I am constantly surprised at how much support and how many resources are available. You can make it work if you are willing to put the time in and commit.

    Best of luck! Contact me if you want to talk more!

    Katie Kangas AIA
    Founder/Architect | Pasque Architecture
    Shoreview MN