A potential client asked whether we were too small for their project. She asked what would happen if one of us got “hit by a bus.” It’s a great question, no matter the size of a firm.  Usually there is one person who knows the most about each project.  In our firm, Monique, Suma and I are in constant communication, so we all know a lot about each project.  It’s true that I probably hold the broadest knowledge of every project, but it’s also true that Monique and Suma probably know more of details. If something happened to one of us, the other two would be able to piece it back together. Our more junior folks know enough about the projects to help fill the hole as well. If we needed additional help in a hurry, we have a stable of sole practitioners, small firms, and large firms with whom we have previously worked, who could help us if needed. They would jump in because of our previous experience working together and because of their own experience working on similar projects.

But how is this different in a large firm? The project team for an average $1-3 million project is usually a core of three people, with additional hands available if needed.  If something happened to one of the core people, the other two would be able to piece it together. If another pair of hands was needed, they would have to find another person who was available, either inside or outside the firm, to help fill the hole.  These additional people would not have knowledge of the project in need, but they would jump in based on their knowledge of other projects. I don’t see any advantage here, except for the fact that the large firm might already have an additional person who is already on payroll.

Yet this is a worry for the potential client. I think that small, medium, and large firms have the same challenges. Perhaps size is not the determinant of which firm is “just right” for a project.  Perhaps even more important might be: knowledge of the client or industry, experience completing similar projects, a process that brings large groups to consensus, people with whom there is comfort, trust and easy communication, and who can demonstrate a track record of creative, efficient, timely, and budget-conscious work.

At LS&A, we have experience working on projects of almost every size. Working as both architect and interior designer, we have completed projects from as small as $50,000 to as large as $15 million.  As consulting designer to other architects, we have worked on projects as small as $500,000 to as large as $100 million. We use the same skill set no matter the size of the project. We are the keepers of the flame of good design, we are organized, we have an inclusive process, we work with a sense of urgency, we know how to prioritize spending to stay within budget, and we are dedicated to making every project better for the lives of the people who use them.

If you have a project that needs good design, whether it is complex or straightforward, whether it is large or small, and even if you are worried that we are too small, or too large, please give us a call at 617.234.5300 or you can contact us here. We can assemble the team that is “just right” for you.

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