“But aren’t architects paid well?” A question that is being asked a lot. There is a preconceived notion that architects are being paid well, simply because of how difficult it is to build a house without taking out a loan. Most people think that this course makes a lot of money. Yet, nothing can be further away from the truth. The reason for this is a lack of awareness on the subject. Most people have an “I can do it too” mindset deeming a graduated architect to be close to redundant. Thus, the ability to build a career by learning innovative ways to earn money and monetizing your side hustles, will not only give you financial freedom, but also the freedom to choose. Given below are a few ideas on how freelance architects or designers can make money.

How can freelance Architect or Designer make money - Sheet1
Become a developer_©Getty images

Be a developer 

While architects think that only rich and influential people can become developers, the truth is that architects have all the skills to become a developer. Who understands site value, and the type of structure that could exist in that plot, better than an architect? An architect could lower the cost of his service, and exchange it for a share in the profit of the final product. Thus, gaining more money. Although this is still a new topic, Tobias Maescher is one of the people that has come up with his blog Archipreneur.com helps people understand this concept better

How can freelance Architect or Designer make money - Sheet2
Build networking _©wallpaperflare

Create relationships

It is difficult to start alone, freelancing in architecture is still considered to be an unconventional path. So, the best way to improve it would be to create reliance among people you already know. Stay in contact with professionals in other firms, build relationships, learn to market yourself wherever you go. Most people find it tough to trust a one-man army for a project. Hence, with your networking skills one will find you to be trustworthy for the job.

Be Assertive 

One of the most common problems with freelancing is architects getting underpaid for their work. Set up a figure that works for you, and make sure you are paid regardless of the progress of the project and stick to it. Base your arguments off facts, and tell them why that’s the amount you need. By charging lower than you deserve, not only are you letting people take advantage of you, but also creating a wrong impression about freelancing designers

How can freelance Architect or Designer make money - Sheet3
Provide additional services _©Expandgh-com

Provide additional services

A lot of times freelance architects provide services that are supposed to be monetized. Sometimes when clients don’t have the time to pick fixtures and furniture, an architect could always suggest doing the job for a small percentage. Who better to provide, than the person that designed the space where these fittings would come to life. 

Sell products

Another alternative to providing extra services is to sell these products. One can buy these products at a discounted trade price and up the price before selling them to the customer. This is easier said than done, yet, it is not impossible to do it. 

Create products or services 

Is there a subject or topic that intrigues you? Do you think there is something that you are good at and can make money from it? Nowadays, a lot of architects do online crash courses on softwares, Write eBooks which generate money with every buy, provide consulting services and more. One example of this is the architecture website by Pat flyn, an architect, who while studying for the LEED exam, created a website to study for it and now he sells this course on his website http://www.greenexamacademy.com/green-associate-exam-walkthrough/ by which he earns at least $2000 to $3000 per month. 

How can freelance Architect or Designer make money - Sheet4
Monetize your website _©elvada-com

Monetize your website

Most architects have a website for their services, but to make the best of it one would need to take the time to learn how to get revenue through advertisements and commissions. It’s the oldest trick in the book, to make money through blogging is still proven to be effective. As far-fetched as it would be to say that this generates an incredible amount of money. It still can give you a decent amount, provided one puts in consistent effort to gain traction, which will grow the website over time. One could also try to do affiliate or referral marketing on their website to monetize their website. 

How can freelance Architect or Designer make money - Sheet5
Sell it like a can of coca cola _©Nice

Provide a product and not a service 

Architecture for the longest time has been a service-oriented profession. Where one gives time, skills, and expertise in exchange for money. But, this comes with one of the most common problems faced by an architect. That of a client constantly demanding changes. But this is an inevitable problem. When someone is paying for your time, you need to do what they say, but what if you could provide a product, like a can of Coca-cola, One cannot change anything about it, you either buy it or you don’t. One can productize any service by providing a standardized service with a clear scope, price, and timeline, which is not negotiable. An important point to consider here is to cater to a pain point than about anything. 

Increase the amount of work to make more money _©Aadil saif

Increase Volume or the Price

One way to make more money for a freelance architect or designer is to increase the amount of work that they take. Or take the time to do side hustles, like taking up side jobs in Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, 99designs or Internshala, and so on. One could even take up their photography seriously and sell it on websites such as Fotolia by Adobe, Shutterstock, Alamy, or Scoopshot. Blogging is also another way to make money. Another way to reduce the workload and still earn more money, is to increase the price of the service altogether. 

While there are many ways to make money as a freelance architect or designer, it is tougher than usual to grow this business, as it is still not a mainstream profession. A drawback in architecture pedagogy is that we are not taught how to develop a practice or a business on our own. As much as passion takes you a long way. Money is a deciding factor to keep it in the running. Hence, it is better that one learns to make passive income and learn business tactics to sustain themselves and grow their work early on in their profession. 


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Archipreneur. 2022. The Pros and Cons of Starting out as a Freelance Architect | Archipreneur. [online] Available at: <https://archipreneur.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-starting-out-as-an-freelancer-architect/?utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com> [Accessed 18 July 2022].

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Journal. 2022. Young Architect Guide: 6 Proven Ways Architects Can Earn a Passive Income – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: <https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/young-architect-guide-passive-income/> [Accessed 18 July 2022].

LePage, M., 2022. 10 Ways Architects Can Make More Money – EntreArchitect // Small Firm Entrepreneur Architects –. [online] EntreArchitect // Small Firm Entrepreneur Architects. Available at: <https://entrearchitect.com/2012/12/16/10-ways-architects-can-make-more-money/> [Accessed 18 July 2022].


Flora is a student of architecture, with a passion for psychology and philosophy. She loves merging her interests and drawing parallels to solve and understand design problems. As someone that values growth, she uses writing as a medium to share her learning and perspective.