Small Project Design

Community HTML

BI(h)OME (by Kevin Daly Architects)

Quick Links

Who we are

AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.

  • 1.  Bark

    Posted 04-05-2018 04:58 PM
    Does anyone have experience with Bark? It seems to be a lead generation firm that smells like Home Advisor. They are persistent and some of the 'leads' look interesting. Just curious if anyone has tried them and if so with what sort of results. Thanks!

    Thomas Ahleman AIA
    Studio Talo Architecture, Inc.
    Evanston IL

  • 2.  RE: Bark

    Posted 04-06-2018 05:30 PM
    yes, i too have received a lot of inquires from Bark, Alignable, Buildzoom. About 2 per week regarding small projects.


    Elmer Lin, NCARB, CSI


    2120 18th Avenue  San Francisco, California  94116

    T:  415-566-7442  F:  415-566-1431 



  • 3.  RE: Bark

    Posted 04-06-2018 05:46 PM
    Seems to be a new service, similar to Thumbtack, only around for a few months now.  Yes, they are very persistent.  Most of the "leads" look like very small him improvement projects.  That said the every first post I responded to, before I really had a grasp of what they were trying to do, is for a potential $1.5-2M remodel or demo/new house.  I have met the clients, but they are slow in moving forward, so I cannot yet say if it is a success.  If they do hire us my position on Bark would be much different.

    Like Thumbtack the information they ask from home owners is woefully inadequate to really be able to evaluate if a project is worth pursuing- no budget, very vague description, etc.  I do not put much faith in it really generating valuable leads.

    BTW, we are in San Francisco, and a small project for us is $300-400K, and I have seen posts that look like they are for $30-40K projects, so of no interest. 

    Jim Zack, AIA principal


    156 south park • san francisco, ca • 94107

    t. 415.495.7889, ext. 201 • f. 415.495.7869

  • 4.  RE: Bark

    Posted 04-08-2018 04:39 PM

    I tried BARK a few times after dropping my Pro+ membership at Houzz.  It connected me with a few leads but nothing has panned out yet.  I configured my settings to accept only Commercial projects, therefore it has been limited. Because you are able to see the type of project BEFORE you choose to reply (and pay), I figured it can't hurt!  But again, after 2 months, no projects have materialized.  


    Suzie Van Cleave, AIA



    4421 N Oakland Ave #200                 O 414.204.8917 

    Milwaukee, WI 53211                        C 847.778.1625




  • 5.  RE: Bark

    Posted 07-13-2021 05:42 PM
    Does anyone have experience with BuildZoom?
    They have found an unusual remodel/addition project for me here in Southern Oregon and have been persistent.  They are proposing their "usual" fee of five (5) percent of the architect's fee.  Apparently they expect an architect to use a fixed fee for the Owner-Architect Agreement.

    I've been explaining that we often work on an hourly basis for SD and DD Phases, at least.  I think we can work out an agreement to pay them 5 percent of each month's progress billing.

    My bigger concern centers around whether they are "good to work with" as they they handle the business arrangement fairly, are their terms reasonable, do they understand how architects work / what we do, etc.?  Are they mostly "consumer oriented"?

    Brian Hawkins AIA
    Brian J. Hawkins, Architect
    Medford OR

  • 6.  RE: Bark

    Posted 07-14-2021 05:58 PM
    I'd pass on it

    Jeff Hammond
    Blue Collar Architects 

  • 7.  RE: Bark

    Posted 07-15-2021 05:23 PM
    Thanks to all of you that responded to my inquiry about buildzoom.  You helped me to make a decision.

    Cheers from Southern Oregon!

    Brian J. Hawkins, Architect

    Brian Hawkins AIA
    Brian J. Hawkins, Architect
    Medford OR

  • 8.  RE: Bark

    Posted 07-15-2021 05:57 PM
    I realize that for many, marketing to new customers must be done and people who approach from out of nowhere need to be considered as possible clients.  For some like me, though, it is preferable and less risky to listen not for strangers, but for people who are interested in working with me because someone they knew and I knew recommended it.  We are all despite our similarities very different.  There's a lot of people, maybe most (?) who are not a good fit with me.

    I have a similar problem with professionals of one sort or another who approach via email, out of the blue.  I would never hire someone who markets via the internet.  I feel the same way about groups that want to sell architect's services with firms they don't know, to clients they don't know.  I feel so corny saying this, but relationships matter.

    Donald Wardlaw AIA
    More Than Construction, Inc.
    Oakland CA

  • 9.  RE: Bark

    Posted 07-14-2021 08:15 PM
    My suggestion would be to present your fees as you normally do and if they balk just walk away.  I've found that potential clients that try to nickel and dime you to death at the beginning of the project will do so throughout the project.  I like your methodology of working on an hourly basis through SD and DD.  I have always done a Not-To-Exceed Fee based on the Scope of the Work.  And usually the Scope of the Work changes so end up negotiating additional time required.  I never base my fee on an alleged percentage, it is based on the complexity of the Project.  Good luck with the negotiations!

    Sam Combs, AIA, NCARB
    B. Arch., U. of O.-1977

    Samuel Combs AIA,NCARB
    Combs & Combs, AIA, Architecture, Interiors & Art
    Anchorage AK