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Mark Kelly (Intellisense)

Management Consultant, Business Analyst - IT, Business Improvement, Business Process, Business Architecture
Management and Related Consulting Services, Computer System Design and Related Services

Colin Fragar (Fragar Planning & Development)

Town Planner
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Bradkay Photographix (Bradkay Photographix - Gold Coast Wedding Photographer)

Photograper
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Industry Discussion

Current Housing Market Conditions

The housing market in Australia has seen a downturn but this is more than just a set of numbers, although the statistics make interesting reading. For example, National housing finance commitments are at their lowest level for over a decade after accounting for loan refinancing. At the same time consumer confidence is plummeting to recessionary times.

Whilst Architectural services are far broader than the housing market, traditionally the main focus in Australia is this sector. The demand for service providers is linked closely to new housing sales. According to the Australian Institute of Architects the national market has declined a further 23% in 2011 versus the same period in 2010. This is in addition to the 15% decline in 2010.

According to the ABS 8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, June 2011, total dwellings approved have declined by -15.5%.

Did the Natural Disasters and Eastern State Floods Cause the Decline?

Surprisingly, the widespread flooding and natural disasters in the eastern states during late 2010 and early 2011 did not adversely affect building approvals; however these events may have had an impact on the value of the approved work. The above figures have been adjusted for the Governments Stimulus package.

These figures indicate that the decline across Australia is greater than during the Global Financial Crisis and this has significantly impacted the demand for architectural services as well as design work.

At this stage there are some signs that the market may improve but as to timing, like always this is unknown as no-one knows when to pick the bottom of a market.

Tips for Selecting Architectural Services

This is a critical decision for any building project and if your home projects it is fundamental to making sure your dream home is realised. Getting sketches and drawings done often helps this process so getting an architect who can work with you is the key. Key Tips include:

  1. Get someone who you can develop a relationship/rapport with.
  2. Make a wish list – have ideas to work with so be prepared and when you interview/meet with your architect see how they react.
  3. Understand the project process so get the architect to set this out for you to see if what they present works for you and your budget.
  4. Narrow down your wish list to a brief – this should list the key outcomes and key concepts/requirements you have.
  5. Get quotes and look at the various contracts you are asked to sign.
  6. Compare prices and timetables/schedules as this can alter your process and plans.
  7. Get references and look at past projects for quality, style and feel.

How to Improve Your Business in This Market

Arguably the internet is a great source of advertising space as this is where most consumers turn to look for services. But the key is to understand your market and select numerous places to be found! At the moment, whether it is financial, social, career or property the market is uncertain as is evidenced by the stock market sentiment. Remember that people love certainty, so create this in your marketing approaches. However, where there is no certainty, opportunity abounds.

Advertising, if done correctly, can enhance the success of your business. The goal of advertising is to cost effectively bring customers to you.

Here is a high level list of tips when considering your advertising activities:

  1. Spend some money to make money – get a variety of adverts going and if you have a web page link back to it. However don’t let your budget run your advertising – there are some cheap places to be found that will allow you to highlight and present various aspects of your business – from one liners to larger personalised descriptions.
  2. Advertise in the right places – look for complimentary sites; this can be similar to www.hirepulse.com.au and or industry associations – chamber of commerce and local government business centers.
  3. Highlight your advantages – ie highlight the things that make your business unique; stand out or what is it that gives you a competitive edge (eg your location; your availability; your skill; your portfolio);
  4. Select your audience and make sure that your advert is clearly targeted towards your market.
  5. Get your image right! Get your brand going and make your appearance consistent.
  6. Monitor your ads – ask customers and you can do some smart things with analytics;
  7. Test your ads – get people to look at your ads and to give you feedback about how you got it right or wrong – make amendments where you get good constructive feedback.
  8. Diversify.
  9. Look at the work early and provide feedback.

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