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Camerons Architects become first UK practice to offer services on Groupon

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July 5 2012

Camerons Architects become first UK practice to offer services on Groupon
Cameron’s Architects have become the first practice in the UK to offer their services on Groupon as part of a wider marketing strategy.

The Edinburgh and Gallashiels based studio is offering a 70% discount on initial consultations to clients won through the online group buying service, meaning bidders can snap up a dimensional survey and sketch proposal for just £120.

The advert read: “Customers itching to give their homes a makeover can get a head-start with a one-hour consultation with a registered architect from Camerons.

“Homes with up to five bedrooms can receive an hour-long inspection before receiving some suggestions and imaginative ideas on the best approach to making any alterations or extensions.

“A computerised dimensional building survey will be drawn up during the consultation, and a sketched proposal of works will be emailed to the homeowner as a PDF file.”

Camerons director Julie Slorach said that six clients have already signed up for the cut-price offer, with provisions in place to cater for a further 44 requests between both studios if necessary.

23 Comments

the wonderer
#1 Posted by the wonderer on 5 Jul 2012 at 14:20 PM
and folk say the profession is seriously undervalued in this country...
dirige
#2 Posted by dirige on 5 Jul 2012 at 14:31 PM
Well we do need to be flexible and adapt if we want to keep clients from going to non-Architect 'architectural services' type of people.
the wonderer
#3 Posted by the wonderer on 5 Jul 2012 at 14:33 PM
so undercutting them is right way to go?! this will end well...
dirige
#4 Posted by dirige on 5 Jul 2012 at 15:22 PM
Well doing nothing and continuing as normal isn't working, the RIBA even acknowledge this. Architects are having to completely re-think their role and become very business and money savvy (which has been completely missing from our profession for a long time, normally thinking we are above such vulgar notions as profit), as those that don't are going to be left behind to perish.
the wonderer
#5 Posted by the wonderer on 5 Jul 2012 at 15:34 PM
haha, riba acknowledging a problem but yet not doing a thing about, just collecting membership money and moaning!
If this is the way the profession is heading, soon it will make more sense to not pay arb/riba fees or ppi and just become an "architectural designer" with no regulation at all - working for less is hardly a groundbreaking re-think of the role!
KRM
#6 Posted by KRM on 5 Jul 2012 at 21:38 PM
It's a novel way to attract business but surely not clever? Unless they 'mark up' their stage fees after the feasibility is done its unlikely that they could make a reasonable profit....

Personally, I would rather go for a days golf than give away my hard earned knowledge and experience for such a miserable financial return.

As for the RIBA, their stage work plan is now defunct and I genuinely don't know anymore why I pay subscription fees.
ooctopus
#7 Posted by ooctopus on 6 Jul 2012 at 15:36 PM
this springs to mind:
http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html
david nimmo
#8 Posted by david nimmo on 9 Jul 2012 at 14:23 PM
No one does well out of Groupon, whether you are a restaurant or an architect, because all that happens in the current financial climate is that those using it only spend money on similar deals. All they have established is that the going rate for a survey and sketch proposal is £120. I don't see them getting much return for their enterprise.
J. Alan McLennan
#9 Posted by J. Alan McLennan on 9 Jul 2012 at 16:53 PM
Soon we'll be offering BOGOFFs and TWOFORs. We should our status from Chartered to Charity. Ludicrous !!!!!!!!


jasper
#10 Posted by jasper on 9 Jul 2012 at 17:36 PM
As a member of an undervalued profession, I applaud their attempt to publicise the merits of appointing an architect. Anyone familiar with the Architect in the House scheme should recognise this type of pro-active approach to job finding. It's not new and it's certainly not deserving of some of the sniffy disapproval above.
hmmmmm
#11 Posted by hmmmmm on 10 Jul 2012 at 09:38 AM
it gets worse!
everyone seems to forget that groupon get 50% of the commission, (provided they hit their selling target) so the architect gets a whole £60 for each commission
the wonderer
#12 Posted by the wonderer on 10 Jul 2012 at 10:12 AM
@ jasper - perhaps you should look into the difference between Architect in the House and this - advertising cut price deals on surveys and sketch proposals does nothing at all positive in promoting the profession, all it does is show how low we can go with our seemingly meaningless qualifications...
1hr - travel to and from site (if they are lucky)
1hr- meeting about brief
1hr - measured survey (on a good day)
1hr - bashing out a sketch proposal (probably more time for something decent)
That's at least 4 hours for a total of £60 - c'mon this is not innovation!! this is the type of thing slowly killing everyone that pays membership fees
jasper
#13 Posted by jasper on 10 Jul 2012 at 11:51 AM
@ the wonderer - So dramatic! Surely its just about enticement and visibilty?

I understand it wouldn't be a sustainable long-term model. Its a gamble, just like any PQQ, competition entry or advertisment, albeit focussed on the lower-end of the market.

dirige
#14 Posted by dirige on 10 Jul 2012 at 14:59 PM
Our profession isn't undervalued at all, I just saw an advert for a Part 3 Architect with a salary of £14k, KA CHING!
the wonderer
#15 Posted by the wonderer on 10 Jul 2012 at 15:04 PM
this is nothing about enticement and visibility, it's about a scramble for tiny bits of work! If this was about enticement and visibility it would be saying how the skills and expertise of an architect can add value to a job, rather than just saying "we'll work for nothing"
I've yet to meet anyone that thinks PQQ's are good, maybe you do?
Obviously it's not a long term model, but if they've done it once it will only happen again and more often - I'm sure the day will come when a client approaches us with a nicely dimensioned survey that they've bought on a groupon deal!
I'm shocked that people in this profession really value themselves so lowly, things like this really show how bad things have become
jasper
#16 Posted by jasper on 10 Jul 2012 at 17:02 PM
A housecall is an excellent oppurtunity to demonstrate to a client what can be added by engaging an architect, and a good reason why many practices offer free consultations. Extending that offer to hundreds of thousands of Groupon subscribers is just a step further. I take it you charge potential clients for preliminary meetings and quotes?

We can at least agree that PQQs are a massive pain in the backside. As is getting any type of appointment these days, hence off-the-wall type schemes like this popping up. Still not convinced it undermines the profession or devalues the title, mind you, even if it does demonstrate the sorry state of the industry. Ach well.
the wonderer
#17 Posted by the wonderer on 10 Jul 2012 at 17:54 PM
you are of course right, a house call is a great way to try and get a job - however this isn't what's on offer here so rather a redundant point...
If someone from within the profession doesn't think that telling "hundreds of thousands of groupon subscribers" that architects will work for peanuts isn't detrimental to the profession, we really are in trouble.
jasper
#18 Posted by jasper on 10 Jul 2012 at 19:56 PM
*sigh*
If an hour long house visit followed by brief discussion offering alteration suggestions doesn't constitute a house call, then our definitions must vary.

As previously noted "peanuts" > free. I'd hope any forthcoming appointments would be fee'd and resourced properly. If the discount extended to a full job, I would entirely understand your point. As it is, it's just a small practice looking for new ways to reach clients. It's harmless! - If someone concerned in the field can't recognise that, then the we're in dire straights indeed :P
the wonderer
#19 Posted by the wonderer on 10 Jul 2012 at 21:33 PM
“Homes with up to five bedrooms can receive an hour-long inspection before receiving some suggestions and imaginative ideas on the best approach to making any alterations or extensions.

“A computerised dimensional building survey will be drawn up during the consultation, and a sketched proposal of works will be emailed to the homeowner as a PDF file.”
That's an hour meeting along with a producing measured survey and sketch ideas - A house call for me is visiting someone in their house, getting an idea of what they want and what is possible then sending out a fee proposal before undertaking any work.
peanuts is more than free, correct - but this is aimed at undercutting unqualified architectural designers, who wouldn't be doing that much work for £60! If that's not damaging to a profession I don't know what is - there have been so many things in the last few years on the downward spiral, not paying students in offices, zero fee bids on tenders etc etc please don't tell me that this is harmless - look around the profession and see the way things are heading
jasper
#20 Posted by jasper on 10 Jul 2012 at 23:40 PM
I don't think you really know what is damaging the profession at all. Maybe it's those nasty Architectural Designers, with their RIBAD recommended fee scales from the 80s that we can all undercut. Perhaps it's zero fee bids, or unpaid internships (neither are relevant) . Could be it's client ignorance. Or maybe it's cynical drags who want to pooh-pooh their contemporaries for exploring marketing ideas.
the wonderer
#21 Posted by the wonderer on 11 Jul 2012 at 08:30 AM
That's right jasper sorry, offering to work on a job for nothing, not paying students who have got years of debt, having to undercut unqualified designers and offering extremely cheap surveys/sketch proposals are all great for my profession! It can only go from strength to strength with these brilliant strategies....
jasper
#22 Posted by jasper on 11 Jul 2012 at 09:40 AM
I'm not going to attack a straw man. Cheap surveys and sketch proposals are the only thing for debate here, and I think we've flogged it to death.
the wonderer
#23 Posted by the wonderer on 11 Jul 2012 at 10:18 AM
seems very shortsighted to not connect it with the rest of the picture, but fair enough, remember to shake the sand from your ears jasper

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