I came up with the concept of providing architectural services online when my younger daughter was leaving home for college. She graduated in June of 2017. Wearing a hat of Alla DIY Ally has been fun.
Today, a potential client wrote that they are interested in Alla DIY Ally services but unclear as to “what” they will get. It made me think about the work I do in my virtual office.
They inquired: “Sounds like the initial consultation provides you with an idea of the scope of the project and nothing specific is “produced” on your end. Makes sense! However, moving on to the hours – what “product” do you provide? Is this construction level plans? Basic space-planning sketches? Simply answers to things like “can we move this wall here?” Further, how does the monthly retainer differ from the set hours? Are there additional services here? Unlimited hours? How does this work? The concept of providing this service is brilliant and so timely for us! We would be thrilled for this to work out. Knowing ahead of time what to expect will help us manage expectations and therefore ensure a good, focused use of time. Thanks!”
Perfect timing. While replying, I have a chance to assess the nature of Alla DIY Ally online architectural practice and define it anew.
The extent of the initial consultation depends entirely on the question. Sometimes, it is about appraising. But mostly, it’s all about focusing on a simple request and suggesting a solution right there and then.
Moving on to the hours. The best “product” that I can provide is assistance with space planning. Whether precisely drafted or hand-drawn, it will still be a sketch, a basic layout that does not deal with construction documentation. As Alla DIY Ally, I shy away from the responsibility of signing and stamping.
The monthly retainer is intended for those who are in the process of designing or building themselves and might need input as related to their on-going concerns. I do not want to promise unlimited hours here. It’s just a way to communicate with clients whose projects I’ve become involved in.
Actually, I’ve had some very good results consulting and providing advice online.
My blog is a journal of ongoing projects; here, here, and here are just three examples. Overall, the DIYers are more satisfied when they enlist my help with tasks that are manageable without physical involvement. Recently, someone emailed: “Alla, we have just installed our shelves per your design drawings. Stunning is an understatement. Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous. Thanks soooo much for your professional assistance and wonderful vision.” It’s very flattering, but it wasn’t just me. After all, this is an online service. It had to be a collaboration.
Truthfully, assisting online with curb appeal questions is daunting. The intent is to inspire, not to impose my own aesthetic. Besides, why would I dictate a single way of doing something? In cases that are highly subjective, I encourage DIYers to follow their gut, rooted in own sensibilities and various other considerations.
The website claims that Alla DIY Ally is an architect on demand dispensing advice without strings. Ideally. Providing architectural services online means working remotely. A bit of an oxymoron for an architect. I have to rely on photographs and verbal descriptions as opposed to my own perception. However, distancing myself is the wrong thing to do. To be of service, I need to take every question without detachment, as if I have a chance to engage personally.