Praise for Pride Road’s Online Response to Lockdown

As the country adapted to life under lockdown, Lisa, Founder of the Pride Road Architectural Franchise, knew she and her franchisees needed to adapt their business model to stay in business, to stay viable, and to keep providing services to their clients. Like many small businesses prior to lockdown, Pride Road offered a mostly face-to-face service, going to clients homes, getting to know them, doing onsite surveys and concept design workshops. Obviously, with this no longer possible, Lisa needed to pivot the business. Pride Road Architects responded quickly to the challenge of running an architecture practice during the lockdown and reshaped their celebrated Concept Design Workshops to offer them online. This new way of working has actually proved to be very popular with clients and even caught the attention of the Architects’ Journal.

The Concept Design Workshop is something unique to Pride Road Architects, and it is the process whereby they design their clients’ home extension ‘right there with them at their kitchen table’. During the lockdown, it has been possible to do this all online via video calls. At first, it was thought that this may feel a little unusual for both architects and clients, but in fact, as these clients say below, it has proved to be just as useful and convenient for both parties.

About her experience, Gemma said;

“It’s been great today, I’ve had Magda at the house twice which has been really good, and we’ve just had a follow-up workshop using an online tool which has been brilliant, it’s just as good as having her sat here in front of us. Really clear on the computer, lots of detail on the drawings, still felt like you got that personal touch. It’s worked really well!”

And about her online workshop experience, Lesley said;

“I thought it would be quite difficult to look and see at the same time but actually it was really easy to look down on the plans. Almost made it easier probably than looking down at the table with you. I found it quite an enjoyable process… You get used to it very quickly, it seemed alien to begin with to do it online but actually you forget you’re online.”

Talking about why more and more clients are opting for Pride Road’s Concept Design Workshops, Franchisee Magda says; “The workshop is an inexpensive answer to their questions… How much will my extension cost? What can I do with my house?” For the client to be sure they are committing to the right design for their house extension, it’s worth taking the time to explore all the options they have available to them. That way they can be confident and totally sure that their design is the right solution for their needs. “It starts only from £200 and provides many options, we get down to the bottom of the issue of what doesn’t function well in the layout of the house, exploring the options they would never thought about until they see them drawn!”

Pride Road Architects ethos is to offer a bespoke architect service that works around their clients. What’s important is the personal approach – getting to the heart of their project, and involving the client in the process right from the outset.

At the Online Concept Design Workshop, the architect gets to know the client(s) and understand their needs and they work on finding the right options for them. This begins by asking questions about how they use their home and what’s important to them about the changes they want to make. Then, they run with some ideas and do the drawings right there in front of the client.

Of this part of the process, Jonathan, who also had an online workshop said;

We’ve worked through a few different designs based on my ideas, Lisa’s (architect) more informed ideas, explored what could be possible with the house… it’s been really good actually, it’s kind of challenged my preconceived ideas of where walls are and how the layout is. And to actually kind of have that better view of the flow, and what actually could you do, even upstairs… it does give you a few ideas of tweaks and mix-and-match. And the downstairs I think is really useful – to see the range of options between a smaller, more limited budget to actually the full-blown ‘go big or go home’ approach of what we could do with it”

One challenge that did manifest was what to do in the case whereby a homeowner doesn’t have plans of the pre-existing layout. The solution? The client purchases a measuring laser and with the support of their architect collects all the measurements needed for the workshop. This has demonstrated to be an enjoyable and valuable experience for the client. Jonathan said;

“I found it quite fun actually, its quite good to actually walk around the house and look at it in probably a bit more detail when measuring it. I found that quite straight forward and quite good to really look at the house as you measure it, yeah it worked really well… When I was measuring the dining room, actually standing in the corner where you never actually stand, and you look out the window in a different way, and you think ‘ah it would actually be nice if we looked out this way a bit more’ or to open up a bit more, so that was quite useful doing that!”

Watch Lisa (Pride Road Founder) talk with client Jonathan about his experience of an Online Concept Design Workshop

With all franchisees now seeing a continued pipeline of work coming in, delivering prospects and workshops online, Lisa is very pleased with the result of their hard work; “We had to find a way to survive and lead our franchisees forward. I’m really thankful for the shared support, enthusiasm, and passion from fellow Pride Road Architects Magda and Laura, in helping us to find a workable solution. I’m really pleased that we’ve managed to pivot the business so that we’ve got a product, we can carry on practising, and we’ve done it in such a way that the franchisees can carry on. The great thing about being in a franchise is that we’ve had that joint experience and we’ve been able to share knowledge, feedback and to keep ahead of the curve”

Laura, Pride Road’s newest franchisee who launched her business in January 2020 is incredibly glad to be a part of the Pride Road Franchise during this challenging time:

I couldn’t have got through this alone, I think we have all drawn on each other’s strength and the last month has proven the value and flexibility of the franchise model – thank you Lisa Raynes

Are you interested in finding out about setting up your own business with the support of the Pride Road Franchise? We’re breaking the model and welcoming in a new era of architect working practices. It’s about flexibility and family, exploring ideas and delivering dreams. We’d love to hear from you, get in touch now.