Ep.98: How to Structure and Run a Profitable Design Department with Chris Landis
Jobs are won or lost during the design process. With so much on the line, it’s clear that your design department should be running at peak performance. But there are so many ways the process can get derailed.
It all depends on how you structure your design department, and what metrics you use to hold them accountable.
In this episode, Chris Landis discusses about how to build and run an efficient design department with Victoria and Mark.
Chris is a partner (with his brother Ethan) in Landis Architects/Builders in Washington, DC, and is a longtime Roundtables member. He’s a registered architect in four states (MD, DC, VA, NY). Chris graduated from Vassar College, and earned his M.A. in architecture from Columbia Architecture School. Chris is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and has 28 years of experience in residential architecture. He is a current member of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board and past president of the DC Metro area chapter of NARI.
Chris has a design department of nine people after 30 years in the business. When the company got to the point of having three designers, Chris hired a manager for that department to ensure that the work was standardized and high quality. He talks about how to set up your own design department for success and create a quicker process, including:
- The metrics to gauge success
- The designer’s role in his company
- Recruiting and hiring for the department
- Working back from net profit
- When to hire a design manager
- His three-phase process
- How he charges for them
- Figuring out a healthy close ratio
- Taking on a design-only project
- Why to conduct a feasibility study — sometimes
- Working with design sub-contractors
- And more …
Design can be a profit center, not a loss-leader, and you have to know how much you should be charging for it — even if you don’t.
MasterClass: Design Process
You can learn how other successful companies manage their design business, and you’ll go home with new ideas to exceed your clients’ expectations and boosting profits on every job. We’ll be holding our next class here in Baltimore, May 18-19. You can find more details and register here: Building An Effective Design Process.