How Pride Road began offering online services during lockdown
Like many businesses, we rely on providing face to face services through going to client’s homes, getting to know them, doing onsite surveys, concept design workshops and drawing in front of them, but this has been made impossible due to lockdown. Our fears have been compounded through the fact that we are unable to access government grants and support because of the way, as a small business, we are structured, so I knew I needed to pivot the business. Thankfully, my efforts have been successful; we are able to do architectural work online and have a full and steady pipeline of work. I am now really grateful for the shared support, enthusiasm, and passion from fellow Pride Road Architects Magda and Laura, in helping us to find a workable solution.
When lockdown started, after panicking for a bit, I ran an online skype prospect, which, fortunately, I was confident in because I had done one before. Throughout the prospect I took notes, which I gave to Magda and Laura, to give them tips on how to do one. However, the day of the workshop from that first client was very intense and chaotic; we couldn’t get the technology right, so we tried Zoom, Skype, Facetime, and WhatsApp, while my son filmed me and took notes to inform my franchisees and future clients of the process. After failing many times to do a split call so they could see both myself and the drawings, we used facetime with the back camera on the drawings, which proved to be successful as we got some positive testimonials off the client.
I later realised that we need to do surveys before the workshop, so I tweaked the process such that I was drawing their house during the online prospect. Once I had roughly drawn their house, I could give the clients dimensions to take, and ask them to order a laser. Once they had taken the measurements and emailed them back to me in a list, I could draw the plan out properly. This seems to be working well as I have booked in 10 workshops for April, which is my normal target of workshops, but we have dropped the price of the workshops to ensure that they are accessible, and that we have a pipeline of work coming through, so we can continue to work after lockdown. The majority of current clients that have had workshops are keen to move forward, despite struggling to get hold of builders to get an idea of costs, but those that are further down the line are keen to progress.
For me, the biggest challenge is instilling confidence in Magda and Laura to make sure that they can deliver an architectural service to clients during lockdown, but both of them are starting to get a through put of enquires and are delivering the prospects and workshops. This experience has highlighted a great thing about being part of the franchise: the 3 of us have been on the phone a lot and are there for each other to share experiences, knowledge, advice and feedback, and I’m there to explain how to move forward.