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 for small firms within the AIA and in outside organizations and agencies.2. Promote leadership in Small Firm professional development and practice; and3. Facilitate and support the local component round tables and small firm networks.
I'm not sure I would feel so free with offering up information about billings and revenue.Maybe the billable hours, or "hours devoted to your projects in the last X years". Help them understand that more than about 80% utilization is hard.
I think that in a way they want to know if you have enough folks to do their work, and enough folks who are familiar with Their Projects. I'd be frank about telling them that there would be a ramp-up process, reassigning some people from other jobs, and hiring of staff. But, any one else that they would bring in would have an even longer learning curve. Stress your understanding of their work and internal flexibility to shift workloads during the ramp-up time.Don't forget to tell them about how your consultants will be able to handle the influx of work. If recruiting additional consulting power is part of the process, tell them how you go about finding appropriate consultants.Is this work expansion going to take you to states where you're not practicing now? Tell them how the NCARB and state registration process works, and the range of time it may take you to start up there (including, as needed, details of corporate practice and having a designated representative in those other states).A long time ago - almost 20 years now - the firm of which I was a principal was approached by a major international clothing retailer which was planning a massive new store roll-out. We used the same CADD software (how they got our name) and in the courtship phase we made a good impression. In the space of about 2 years we did about 60 stores for them, around 25% of the total. I became registered in 14 states (facilitated getting work assignments). We started with about 3 of us, were at about 6 maximum, and then ... things slowed way down. There will be challenges for you in keeping staff motivated, so whatever you can do to elevate people who already are familiar with the client's work will help make it clear that working on the XYZ account is not a dead-end situation. Be sure that your co-owners understand the benefit of the cash flow from this client, and do everything that you can to make connections between your staff and their staff. Everyone needs to think of themself as a marketer and understand that meeting deadlines and thinking ahead will enhance the ability to get more work.
Best wishes. It's a fun roller coaster to be on.
Yes, some great advice in this thread. I do believe, however, that it absolutely a client's right to inquire about and be provided with information about a firm's resources and abilities to undertake an increased scope of work. This might include size of the firm, number of people with specific expertise, a focused workplan about how the client's project will be staffed, how a firm will accommodate spikes in schedule or workload, additional resources available, etc.
As architects, we have an obligation to take on work only if we reasonably believe that we can meet a client's requirements and expectations. And client's have a responsibility to perform reasonable due diligence before engaging a design professional. We should not shy away from providing information. Rather, we should take this as an opportunity to discuss our capabilities and approach, as well as what we need from each client in order to deliver on their expectations.