What To Use - Small Architecture firm nearby Or Large Company?

When deciding between small architecture practice and large architect team to hire for a project, many considerations must be taken into account.

Often local architects nearby would be more efficient in supervising; while large companies may even not have interest in dealing with your project; depending on the project size and complexity.

The following list details the advantages of each option:

Choosing a Small Firm:
– Personalized attention
– Flexible and adaptable designs
– More involvement in the design process
– Limited resources and manpower
– Potentially longer project timelines
– Lack of specialization in certain areas

Choosing a Large Company:
– Established reputation and brand recognition
– Access to extensive resources and expertise
– Streamlined project management
– Less personalized attention
– Potential lack of creativity and innovation
– Higher fees and costs associated with larger overhead expenses

If you value a more hands-on and unique experience, a small firm may be the way to go. But if you prioritize efficiency and established expertise, a large company may be the better choice. Whatever the decision may be, remember that innovation and creativity should always be at the forefront of any architectural project.

george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Table of Contents

For any project that requires the expertise of architects, it is essential to make the right choice – one wrong decision could cost you dearly in terms of time and resources. 

That’s why so many people ask: should I use a solo or small architecture firm or a larger company? 

Making this difficult decision doesn’t have to feel like navigating uncharted waters! With careful consideration and research, anyone can determine which option best suits their needs.

There are significant advantages and disadvantages to both options – but by understanding each approach thoroughly, you can find the perfect fit for your next house renovation project.

Choosing between a small firm and large company for architectural projects can be overwhelming! It’s like walking through an endless maze of what-ifs, with no clear destination in sight.

Definition Of Architectural Firms

Architectural firms provide architectural services, such as design and advice. They use their expertise in the architecture industry to create beautiful buildings that reflect a client’s vision. Architectural practices are diverse; some specialize in residences while others work on bigger-scale projects like public parks or corporate office spaces. 

No matter what type of project they tackle, all architectural firms offer similar services: conceptualizing designs, producing blueprints, obtaining permits from relevant authorities, and overseeing construction works until completion. 

When it comes to finding an architect for one’s building project, clients often have two options: choose either a small firm or large company.

Now let’s look at the benefits of working with larger companies. 

Advantages Of Large Architecture Firms

Advantages of large residential architecture company

The advantages of choosing a large firm for an architectural project are numerous. They provide tremendous experience, having worked on many projects in the past, and their reputation is untarnished. 

Large company also have connections to specialized companies that can help with specific aspects of the project and access to vast resources not available to small firms.

They are able to scale up quickly when needed which is incredibly useful for larger projects. 

Here’s a summary of the key benefits: 

  • Experience - Years of working on various architectural projects gives them invaluable insight into how best to approach any given task.
  • Reputation - With years of successful work behind them, most big firms have earned an enviable reputation among potential clients.
  • Connections - Accessibility to other specialized professionals who may be necessary for certain parts of the job allows everything to run more smoothly.
  • Resources - Having ample resources at their disposal means they will always have what they need when they need it.
  • Scale - Scaling up quickly isn’t something small firms can do; this makes them great partners for bigger jobs that require lots of people power.

No matter what kind of architecture project you’re looking at, there are plenty of reasons why choosing a large firm could be beneficial – from their extensive experience and reputation all the way down to their scalability and resource availability. 

We can help your project with Architectural Visualizations >

Disadvantages Of Large Architecture Firms

Despite the many advantages of large firms, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. 

For example, research has revealed that large architectural companies have up to 30% higher overhead costs than smaller firms. 

This can prove problematic for clients who may not be able to afford such services or whose projects cannot justify the extra expense. These larger organizations often employ more bureaucratic processes which can lead to slower response times and communication issues.

Furthermore, since larger firms typically handle more complex projects, their approach is less personalized when compared with what small businesses offer. 

Clients looking for greater customization in design and building solutions will likely find themselves at a disadvantage when choosing an architect from a big company. 

In addition, due to their size and client portfolio diversity, they tend to lack flexibility when it comes to meeting deadlines or budget constraints – something most customers cannot do without. 

It’s clear that while there are certain benefits associated with working with bigger architecture firms, potential pitfalls should also be taken into account before making any decisions. 

As we move on in this article series, let’s now explore some of the advantages offered by smaller architectural businesses. 


advantages of architect firms

Small firms bring a great deal of flexibility to the table when it comes to residential project especially. 

They are often able to provide cost savings due to their streamlined operations and reduced overhead, which can be passed on to clients.

Solo and small teams typically offer individualized attention that is hard for larger companies to replicate. This personalized approach allows them to get creative with solutions that fit the unique needs of each project.

A tailored approach is also something that sets small firm architects apart from large ones. 

They have the freedom and agility to respond quickly and develop ideas that might not otherwise see the light of day in a corporate environment. 

Plus, this type of thoughtful collaboration leads to a more intimate understanding between client and architect, ultimately resulting in better outcomes. 

With these advantages in mind, it’s easy to see why many people opt for small firm architects over their larger counterparts. 


According to the American Institute of Architects, nearly three-quarters of all architectural firms in the US have fewer than 10 employees. 

While there are some big advantages that come with working with a smaller firm – such as personalized service and more flexible terms – there are also some downsides that homeowners should be aware of when selecting an architect. 

Chief among them is design inexperience; small staffs often mean limited resources and fewer contacts in specialized fields like structural engineering or landscape architecture, unless the team is strictly focused on a discipline.

Many larger businesses tend to carry bigger reputations due to their long histories and established networks, which can give them an edge over smaller companies in certain areas. 

Another major consideration for homeowners is cost; while it’s not always true across the board, large firms typically charge higher fees for their services compared to smaller ones.

It pays then to do your research into both options before making any commitments so you get the most bang for your buck. 

Cost Comparison Between Large And Small Architecture firm fees

The cost of architect fees for a house can vary greatly depending on the size, complexity, and services required. 

When deciding between hiring a large or small architecture firm for your project, understanding the costs associated with each option is essential.

Below we will compare the costs of working with a large vs. small architectural firm for a 2,500-3,000 sq.ft house.

small vs large architect team fees

When it comes to larger firms, architects typically charge between 5% and 20% of the total construction cost.

For an average 3,000 square foot home with a build cost of $300,000, that would equate to anywhere from $15,000 to $60,000 in architect fees. However, according to architecturalfees.com, the average fee for a house that size can range from $60,720 to $220,000 depending on the size, complexity, materials, features, equipment, and desired services.

Smaller architecture firms may charge by the hour, with hourly rates ranging from $125-$250 per hour.

They may also charge by the square foot, with fees ranging from $2 to $15 per square foot.

If an architect charges by the square foot, then fees for a 1500 sq.ft house can range from $6,000 to $45,000 for limited to basic group of services. It is important to note that if you desire full service support throughout the entire process, full service can be more expensive, usually around $25,000 to $150,000 for a 2,500 to 3,000 sq.ft. house.

To get the best price and value, it is recommended to get quotes from at least three different architects and compare them. By doing so, you can ensure that you are getting the best possible deal for your project.

Quality Of Work Between Large And Small Firm Architecture

When it comes to architectural quality, there’s no doubt that both large and small firm architecture can provide excellent work.

The key is in understanding the strengths of each type of firm before making a decision. Generally speaking, larger firms have more resources at their disposal when constructing buildings and other structures. 

This means they are often able to complete projects faster than smaller firms who may not have access to as many materials or skilled laborers.

On the other hand, small firms often specialize in certain areas of expertise which allows them to produce higher quality work with fewer mistakes. 

Due to their size, they tend to be more agile and responsive when changes need to be made during construction. As such, these types of companies can offer clients an advantage in terms of customization and attention-to-detail that larger firms may not be able to match.

With this in mind, it’s important for any potential client considering using either a large or small firm architecture service provider to consider their needs carefully before deciding on which option suits them best.

In order for a project to truly succeed, both parties must come together to ensure the highest levels of quality work are achieved within the desired timeframe. 

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Timeframe For Completion Between Large And Small Firm Architecture

When it comes to architecture, there’s a whole lot of excitement that goes into the building process – and when you’re considering whether to go with a large or small firm, one important factor is how quickly they can get the job done.

We’ll compare the typical timeframe for completion between a small and large firm architecture so that you have an idea of what to expect. 

Small firms often pride themselves on their ability to finish projects in shorter timelines than larger companies, due mainly to their ability to move quickly when needed.

Because smaller teams usually work more closely together, decisions are made faster without having multiple layers of approval like those found in larger organizations.

This means that if your project requires speed and agility then working with a small firm might be ideal. 

On the other hand, because these firms tend to employ fewer people, they may not have all the resources necessary for complex projects which could slow down progress significantly. 

In contrast, while large firms typically take longer to complete projects, they also possess greater capacity in terms of both personnel and resources available at any given time.

As such tasks become increasingly complicated, this additional manpower allows them to effectively manage much bigger construction jobs than small firms would be able handle alone.

Large companies often have well-established processes already in place which help ensure deadlines are met efficiently and accurately every single time – making them great choices for huge-scale architectural undertakings where precision counts. 

Resources comparison - Large And Small Architecture FIRM

When it comes to architectural resources, there is a stark difference between large and small firms. When considering the availability of these resources for both types of firms, there are several points to consider: 

Small Firm:

  • Cost-Effectiveness & Efficiency – The smaller size of a firm allows them to be more cost effective with their time and materials. This can lead to significant savings over larger companies when constructing projects.
  • Adaptability – With fewer employees and less bureaucracy, smaller firms often have an easier time adapting quickly to changing conditions or customer demands.
  • Quality Control – A small firm’s ability to focus on each project in detail ensures that all aspects of design and construction meet the highest standards.

Large Firm:

  • Financial Resources – Larger companies tend to have access to greater financial resources, which can result in higher quality materials being used throughout a project. They also may be able to bid on larger contracts than what would normally be feasible for a small firm due to their increased capacity.
  • Expertise & Experience – Due to their size, large architecture firms typically employ many highly trained specialists who bring valuable insight into every aspect of the design process.
  • Networking Opportunities – Lastly, bigger companies often offer better networking opportunities as they frequently work with other professionals such as engineers and general contractors on various projects.

In comparison then, while both large and small firms bring unique advantages, depending on your needs one might better serve your purpose than another when it comes to resource availability.

Moving forward then let’s take a look at the level of customer service provided by each type of firm. 

Customer Service - Large vs Small Architecture FIRM

When it comes to customer service, large and small firm architecture differ greatly. 

Large firms typically have more resources available and are better equipped to provide superior customer service in comparison to smaller firms.

With larger staffs, they can often address inquiries quickly and efficiently. However, because of their size, the individualized attention provided by a small architectural firm may be lost.

  • Smaller firms tend to offer personalized services that allow for greater customization when dealing with clients’ needs.
  • Customers will generally find that working with a single point-of-contact from start to finish provides them with an enhanced level of communication and satisfaction throughout the process.
  • Smaller firms also benefit from having fewer customers, allowing for each one to receive much needed attention without feeling rushed or ignored.

Ultimately, both large and small firms offer different levels of customer service depending on what is desired by potential clients. 

Professionalism - Large vs Small Architecture FIRM

It is important to consider the level of architectural professionalism, and professional standards each firm adheres to when making your choice.

  • Large firms often have established practices that adhere to higher professional standards than smaller firms due to their long-standing presence in the architecture industry.
  • They are also able to provide larger projects with more resources, personnel, and expertise.
  • On the other hand, small firms maintain a close relationship with their clients, providing personalized attention and a customized approach tailored specifically for each project.
professionally done architect plans
professionally done architect plans

Both types of firms offer unique advantages but understanding how they differ in terms of professionalism will help you make the best decision for your needs.

  • Smaller teams are typically known for being more innovative and creative as well as offering faster turnaround times on projects compared to larger companies because of their limited staff size and lighter workloads.
  • Solo architects may also work within tighter budgets which allows them to develop cost effective solutions while still delivering high quality results.

In contrast, large firms tend to employ more experienced professionals who specialize in specific areas such as structural engineering or sustainable design.

However this added expertise comes at a price tag that could exceed some client’s budget constraints depending upon the scope of the project.

Regardless of company size though it is essential that both large and small firm architects meet all applicable codes, regulations, and safety requirements set by local authorities while adhering to industry standard practices throughout every step of the development process.

By considering these factors along with customer service preferences before choosing an architect you can ensure that you find a partner who will deliver satisfactory results within your desired timeline and budget parameters no matter if it’s a large or small architecture team.

Moving forward then technology used by each type of firm should be evaluated for efficiency gains during implementation so that time-sensitive deadlines are met without sacrificing quality outcomes… 

We can help your project with Architectural Visualizations >

Technology Used By Each Type Of Firm

When it comes to architecture technology, large firms and small firms offer different solutions. Large firms often have access to the most up-to-date tools and resources that provide them with an advantage when tackling complex projects: 

  • CAD systems
  • BIM software
  • Design visualization tools
  • 3D printing capabilities

On the other hand, small firms may not be able to afford in-house experts of all kinds, but still manage to produce quality work through their creative problem solving skills and streamlined processes. 

They are more likely to use simpler design methods and tools such as hand drawing, multipurpose software packages and outsourced visualization studios as TALLBOX, which can give them a competitive edge in terms of turnaround time and cost savings.

In either case, it is important for both types of firms to understand how each type of technology works so they can get the job done efficiently and effectively. 

Insurance Requirements For architects

It’s often said that “the bigger they come, the harder they fall.” When it comes to architectural firms, this adage is especially relevant when discussing insurance requirements. 

  • Smaller firms may have fewer insurance requirements than larger ones due to their size and scope of work. On the other hand, large companies typically need more comprehensive coverage for a variety of risks associated with their operations. 

When evaluating an architectural firm’s insurance needs, its size should be taken into consideration. For small firms, basic liability and professional indemnity are usually required by law in order to operate legally. 

  • Larger firms might also require additional coverages such as project specific policies or cyber security protection depending on the nature of the business.
  • It is important to research which types of coverage are applicable and necessary for each type of firm in order to ensure proper protection against potential liabilities. 

These differences demonstrate how crucial it is for businesses to understand their own unique risk profile before deciding whether a small or large architectural firm best fits their needs.

Understanding these nuances can help companies make informed decisions about what kind of insurance coverage will provide adequate protection while taking cost-effectiveness into account as well. 

Location Considerations

When it comes to deciding between a small firm architect and a large company, location can be an important factor. Whether you want to build in the city or out of town, each type of business has its own advantages. 

Here are some considerations when choosing where to locate your project: 

local architecture firm nearby
local architecture firm nearby

Smaller Architect team:

  • Proximity To Clients: These firms often serve local areas so having them close by can make communication easier for clients.
  • Flexibility In Design & Execution: Having direct access to the team allows customers more flexibility in design decisions and execution of builds that may not be offered from larger companies.
  • Cost Savings On Materials & Labor: Local connections provide savings on materials costs due to lack of shipping fees, as well as discounts on labor costs since they have relationships with subcontractors already established.

Large Architecture teams:

  • Access To Resources & Expertise: With bigger teams come more resources and expertise which is beneficial for complex projects requiring specialized skillsets that smaller firms don’t necessarily possess.
  • Financial Stability: The backing of the larger organization provides greater financial stability through existing client base and established credit lines with vendors providing better terms than what might be available to smaller entities.
  • Ability To Scale Projects Easily: Bigger operations are able to scale up quickly when needed without worrying about being understaffed or running into supply chain issues thanks to their size and industry presence.

It’s important to weigh all factors when deciding between small firm architects and large companies – considering both the benefits they bring along with any potential drawbacks associated with each option before making a final decision on location. 


When it comes to building projects, the right choice can make all the difference in ensuring your project’s success.

After considering factors such as technology used, size requirements, insurance needs and location considerations for each type of firm, you may find that one option works better than the other depending on your particular needs. 

For instance, if cost savings are a priority then working with a smaller firm might be ideal. Small firms often have less overhead costs than their larger counterparts and also tend to offer more personalized services which can help build strong relationships and trust.

On the other hand, larger firms usually have access to an extensive network of resources which means they can get things done faster and more efficiently; making them well suited for bigger projects or tight timelines. 

In the end, when deciding what architect company to hire it really depends on what best fits your specific requirements. If you take the time to assess your own situation objectively and consider both options carefully before selecting a partner, I’m sure you’ll find just the right fit – resulting in a successful outcome!